How to Prepare for Your Lesson in 7 Steps: The Amazing Adventures of Ready Freddy
Are you an avid skier or snowboarder looking to try a new discipline? Perhaps your friend wants to get in on all the fun and join you on the slopes? Or are you trying winter sports for the first time?
Whether you’re experienced or just starting out, whether you want to ski or to ride, one thing still holds true: Proper preparation leads to a smoother, more enjoyable experience on the slopes. If you’re new to sliding on snow or if you’re helping a friend get into skiing or riding for the first time, follow the handy guide below for tips on how to plan ahead for a successful first day for you or your friend.
Step One: Book a Lesson
When you decide to try skiing or snowboarding, we highly recommend signing up for a lesson with a professional instructor. Taking lessons is the best way to learn because the pros teach you how to develop good techniques right from the start.
Choose a date to take a lesson and call the ski and ride school. It’s easy to add a lesson to a winter vacation package. We recommend booking a lesson for the first day of the vacation so you start your trip off on the right foot. Alternatively, you may take a day trip to the mountain for your first lesson. Be sure to factor in transportation time and parking when selecting the time of your lesson so you do not feel rushed upon arrival.
Step Two: Inventory Gear
You’ll be able to focus on the task at hand—the lesson—if you are warm, dry and comfortable. Opt for moisture-wicking synthetic or wool fabrics instead of cotton. Dressing in layers is the best way to regulate body temperature; layers can be added or removed throughout the day as needed.
From the bottom up, you’ll want to gather the following items:
* Ski or snowboard socks
* Long underwear base layers for top and bottom
* Mid-layer top, such as a fleece
* Waterproof jacket and pants
* Gloves or mittens and a backup pair
* Helmet (available to rent at some resorts)
* Lip balm and sunscreen if it’s a sunny day
Arrive at the mountain dressed in these layers. At the rental department you’ll be fitted for the rest of the gear, including ski or snowboard boots, a pair of skis and poles or a board, and a helmet if you don’t have one.
Step Three: Get Rest and Fuel Up
It’s important to arrive at the lesson well rested and with a positive attitude. Finalizing travel plans and laying out gear ahead of time will set you up for a successful day on the slopes. By preparing in advance you’ll be able to wake up on the morning of your lesson and eat a good meal that gives you enough energy to allow you to focus on the fun new experience.
Step Four: Arrive at the Mountain
Your first stop when you arrive at the mountain will be the front desk at the ski and snowboard school. At the counter, you’ll register for your lesson and purchase a beginner package and lift ticket if you haven’t done so already. You’ll also fill out a form that will help the staff fit you with the right rental equipment. This form is the rental agreement, and it will ask for your height, weight, age, ability level and shoe size (so you get the correct equipment).
Step Five: Rent Equipment
Getting your rental equipment is a step-by-step process in itself. First up are the boots. Your feet do a lot of work when they are strapped onto skis and boards, so it’s important to get ski or snowboard boots that fit properly. Let the staff show you how to use the buckle or lacing system. Once you have a good fit, bring your boots and rental form over to the ski counter to pick up a pair of skis and poles or to the snowboard counter to pick up a board. The technicians will adjust the ski and board bindings according to the information on your form and may ask you a few questions to help them get it just right. Staff will also help skiers choose the pole length that allows the elbow to rest at a right angle when the skier is gripping the pole.
Step Six: Take the Lesson
After stowing your street boots in a locker along with any other items you don’t need to take along, head outside to the meetup area. This is usually located near the beginner terrain, often identified with green circles on the trail map key. Instructors will greet you and ask you some questions like “Have you ever skied before?” or “When was the last time you tried snowboarding?” These questions help instructors determine your level of ability so they can place you in the right group or tailor a private lesson. Then it’s off you go—your instructor will take it from there and guide you through your lesson.
Step Seven: Enjoy Après
When the lesson is over, it’s time to say goodbye to new friends and thank your instructor. It’s customary to tip an attentive instructor at the end of the lesson. If you have the energy to keep going, there is usually some time remaining to take another run and practice what you learned before the lifts close. When you are done skiing and riding for the day, return your boots along with the rest of your rental gear. Be sure to get a drink of water and some snacks to rehydrate and refuel. Après-ski (app-ray ski), French for “after skiing,” refers to the time you spend reconnecting with friends and family to share stories and photos from your experience. Many resorts have fun activities and entertainment after the lifts close for the day, such as live music and games that you can enjoy while toasting a great day on the snow with beverages. Try a hot chocolate, a hot toddy or a Long Trail Ale.
Even though skiing and snowboarding are individual sports, the resort atmosphere is a social one. Bringing a friend to the slopes is the perfect way to share your passion for winter sports and to ensure that you’ll have people to ski and ride with as they progress. Bring a Friend lets you share the love of skiing and snowboarding with others by helping them sign up for lessons from the pros.
For even more incentives, check out the Bring a Friend campaign, which rewards skiers and snowboarders nationwide for introducing friends to their favorite sport or trying a new sport themselves by taking professional lessons.
Vermont Bring a Friend Challenge
Sign up for lessons at a resort in Vermont and you can win a Ski & Stay package for two. Just tag your photos with #BringAFriendVT on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and show us how much fun you had learning with your friends. Ski Vermont will choose one winner at the end of the season for a trip to a Vermont resort the following season.
Bring a Friend Deals
Vermont resorts offer deals like discounted or free lift tickets and food when you bring a friend to try skiing or snowboarding. Find the details at skivermont.com/BAF. Some restrictions apply.
Learn to Turn at Vermont Resorts
There is no better place to experience the thrill of learning to ski or snowboard than in winter’s original state. Here in Vermont, we have some of the best instructors in the world, and plenty of beginner terrain for those just starting out or trying a new sport for the first time.
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month nationwide, and Vermont resorts are once again offering a great deal for beginners. For just $49 during the month of January, beginner packages include a lesson with a professional instructor, equipment rental and a lift ticket to access beginner terrain. This offer is valid for first-time skiers and snowboarders during non-holiday periods in the month of January 2016. Because of the deeply discounted price, we will offer only one beginner package per person. Lessons must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.
For an even better deal and more days on the snow, try Ski Vermont’s Take Three program. Take three beginner ski or snowboard lessons, with lift access and rentals included, for only $129. The three lessons can be redeemed at one, two or three different participating resorts, so you can opt to stick to familiar territory or explore several mountains this season. Lessons are available all season except holidays, are for beginners only, are non-transferable and must be reserved
Do you ski or ride but your buddies haven’t tried it yet? Bring a Friend to the mountain. Introduce your friends or family to your favorite snowy slope this season and you could be rewarded for sharing your love of snow. Post a photo of yourself or your friends learning to love a new sport on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag it #BringAFriendVT to be entered to win a two-night ski-and-stay package for two for the 2016–17 season. If there is a future powder hound lurking in your midst, Ski Vermont has you covered.
Visit SkiVermont.com/learn for more information on all of our Learn to Turn programs and a list of participating resorts.
You can read our entire 2016 Ski Vermont Magazine online or request a copy to be mailed to you at skivermont.com/magazine-signup.
Written by Hilary DelRoss, Marketing Manager at Ski Vermont, and Illustrated by Chris Case