First Time on the Slopes: What to Expect | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

First Time on the Slopes: What to Expect

Winter is nearly upon us, which means it's time for beginners to think about hitting the slopes for their first epic ski session

Is skiing hard to learn? As a long-time Bendite and avid skier, I get this question a lot. Like anything else, it takes practice; but with optimism, patience and a good teacher, you'll be getting off the chairlift, conquering the hills and not falling on your face every five minutes – which is a win.

With opening days at the local mountains coming our way very soon, here are a few things to expect from your first ski outing.

First Time on the Slopes: What to Expect
Photos courtesy Mt. Bachelor Facebook
When the novice skier or boarder does fall, the right attitude is to come up smiling and laughing.

1. You will fall, and then you will fall again.

After my first ski lesson, I cried and told my mom I never wanted to do that again. Granted, I was about five years old, and naturally, I came back the next day. So yes, like riding a bike, learning to ice skate or doing any sport, you will fall, you will be sore and it will be hard. But just take it easy, don't overdo it on the first day and you will be bound for the big hills in no time.

2. It's hard to get up, and it can be embarrassing.

Trust me, we have all been on the ground with snow in our goggles, our pants falling down and doing the wiggles to get up. When new skiers fall, the best thing to do is laugh it off. Whether skiing or snowboarding, there is no cute way to get up once your butt hits the ground. It's awkward to maneuver equipment around your body. You feel like the abominable snowman bundled up in all your gear, making it sometimes difficult to touch your toes. Take a deep breath and I promise, it will get easier.

3. Quality clothes keep out the cold.

New skiers don't have to go out and get the fanciest attire, but remember it's cold, and you will likely get wet. Ski clothes work best in layers. Start with the base layer that will keep you dry by wicking sweat away. Mid-layers should be a fleece or wool sweater to keep your body warm. The outer layer should be waterproof and windproof. Whatever you do, avoid cotton. Lastly, wear warm socks, waterproof gloves and eye protection to keep the sun, wind and snow out of your eyes.

4. Snow amateurs will get the mid-mountain munchies.

Skiing is a sport commonly associated with winter vacation and relaxation, but don't let all the après-ski fool you. It's tiring, especially for beginners. Proper fuel will help you recover faster, stay hydrated and have plenty of energy to make it through the day. Essential ski snacks include protein bars, fruits, nuts, chocolate and my favorite, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

click to enlarge First Time on the Slopes: What to Expect
Photos courtesy Mt. Bachelor Facebook
Yes, this coven of snow devils can out-ski you all day, but don't hate them for it. Embrace your inner child and join the fun.

5. Have fun, take breaks and ignore the seven-year-olds skiing circles around you.

Skiing is supposed to be fun! Get a friend to come to take lessons with you, and don't take things too seriously. There will be children who ski like professionals, and there will be 60-year-olds stepping on the slopes for the first time. Everyone is on their own journey, so keep your head up, keep that smile wide and enjoy the ride.

Both Bachelor and Hoodoo provide a wide variety of private and group options for new skiers. Mt. Bachelor's tentative opening date is Friday, Nov. 25, and lessons will be available until April 23. Bachelor's most popular lesson option is the award-winning "Ride in 5," which includes five days of lessons, rentals and tickets.

Hoodoo Ski and Ride School has an easy-to-use reservation system that requires you to sign up 24 hours in advance.

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