This weekend, Scott took me skiing. It was my first time, officially learning to ski. I had gone skiing, once before, in my early twenties. But, I made the mistake of going with a group of experienced skiers (who advised against taking a lesson). Let’s just say, the skiing didn’t go that well. I was grateful, however, that I could at least say that I tried.
Since starting LE Woman (in my forties), I made a commitment to model extraordinary living, regardless of our circumstances! (Age, body-type, disability, etc.) Last year, I tackled scuba diving. Another experience that initially went badly, for me, many years prior. I’m so glad that I did it, for a second time, because I loved it!
Since then, I’ve been wanting to give snow skiing another shot. In this blog post, I’m going to share how my first official ski lesson went. Along with some advice for you first-timers. Especially those who may feel that it’s too late to learn something new.
Why Learn to Ski as an Older Adult?
I have personal reasons why I wanted to learn to ski.
Just about every good thing in my life, has blossomed late. I was thirty-six, when I married Scott. He was twenty-six. (Yes, that’s a ten year age difference.) We had hoped to start our family sooner, but it’s taken several years. Even as foster-to-adopt parents. A few foster children have come and gone. Now, at forty-six, I’m raising our (soon-to-be adopted) seventeen-month-old, Baby Blue.
The point I’m making is that I choose to stay young-at-heart, healthy, and strong. I want to be active for Blue so that we can experience fun things, together, as a family!
Another reason why I wanted to learn to ski, is because I love the outdoors. Now, more than ever! Aside from the crowd of people, it is beautiful being outdoors, on a snow covered mountain. (Or in my case, a hill.) Skiing is another opportunity to be in a beautiful and natural setting. It’s like food for the soul!
You may already have reasons NOT to ski, as an adult. (Potential injury. Too cold. Too late in life. No time. etc.) But, maybe you’re over thinking it. You don’t have to be wild and crazy on the slopes. There’s nothing wrong in settling on the beginner or intermediate levels. Also, if you’re dressed properly, the weather conditions may not affect you, one bit. Not to mention, there’s hardly a reason why you cannot carve out a day or two, each year, to do something like skiing.
Sometimes, we just need to take the plunge. Make the effort!
What to Expect when Learning to Ski as an Adult
I had been asking for Scott to take me skiing with him, for a while, now. But, Scott does not ski. He is an experienced snow boarder. Just a few days before, he surprised me. He was taking me to the Poconos so that I could finally learn to ski. (As in taking a real, ski lesson!)
I wish I had more notice so that I could have brought a novice-skier friend with me. As much as I appreciated the opportunity of an official ski lesson, it wasn’t exactly fun.
If you’re going to learn something for the first time, do it with someone who you can laugh with! My theory is, if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.
Scott and I decided that a group lesson would suffice. We split ways as soon as I had my rental skis and boots, in hand. (Scott went snow-boarding, with his experienced skier friend, on the advanced slopes.)
A group lesson can be hit or miss. I was in a group with another gentleman (who was my age, possibly older). A family of four. And, a middle-aged couple. I was relieved that it wasn’t just me with a bunch of six year olds!
Our instructor was ok. Most of the things we learned were done on a flat hill. And, it was very, VERY slow-paced. I was eager to move around more. The sun was very hot that day. We spent about an hour barely moving around.
We spent the last ten minutes heading up the bunny hill, and going down once. That was it.
If you can, get a private lesson that’s tailored to your skill level.
After two more tips down the bunny slope (now, on my own), I felt that I needed to rest and remove some layers! That brings me to my next piece of advice: Dress according to the weather and have a plan in place should you need to add or remove layers!
Scott met up with me, and convinced me to advance to the beginner slope. But, at that point, I knew that I needed to head back to the main area to rest. And, remove some layers. I was so hot that I was beginning to feel light-headed! Thankfully, after a smoothie (I never did redeem my free hot-chocolate. lol) I was ready to get back out there. Scott came with me, and we headed to the “beginner’s slope”.
I made it on and off the ski lift without falling! I started to feel confident.
But, as soon as I started down the beginner slope, I picked up way too much speed. While I felt smooth with my turns, I did not feel that I was getting enough traction to slow down. The mountain had what looked like a ten foot drop, on one side. I got scared! And, fell!
And, that’s when I realized I was not prepared to get up.
Practice falling and getting up, with skis on, before you hit the slope!
Now, I’m in pretty good shape. My legs are strong, and I have no problem standing up, from the floor, without using my hands. The problem is that the skis prevent you from bending your ankles! Not to mention, your feet are a good four inches off the ground. So, even if you are strong enough to get up, you need to learn how to get up with five foot boards on the bottom of your feet!
I fell a few times coming down the mountain. And, it seemed like the longest mountain EVER! I had to remove one of my skis using the pole. Otherwise I would have camped out there. Word of caution: It’s scary getting up. On skis. On a downward slope!
Being the nerd that I am, I found some great advice about getting up on skis, online. I wish I had known this (and practiced this) prior to heading down the beginner slope!
Getting UP on Skis (and a snow covered mountain)
- Position your skis perpendicular to the downward angle!
- Bring your body close to the skis!
- Lean forward and get your weight over your ski boots!
- Keep your arm close to your legs before pushing yourself up. (Otherwise you’ll run out of extension.)
- Use your ski pole if you need more of an extension.
While you’re at it, watch a few You Tube Videos!
I mean, why not?
Here is a video that I feel is very thorough! I wish I had watched this prior to my ski day! These tips cover all the basics, and would be very effective before a private lesson.
Will I ski again?
Absolutely! I actually wish I had more time, that day. (I also was dealing with a nasty cold, so I didn’t want to push too much.) But, I cannot wait to take what I learned and try it again. Too bad the closest ski option is two hours away. And, we are at the tail end of winter.
I think trying something for the first (or even the second) time around is wonderful. The objective may just be to get over your fears or insecurities. Once you make it through (even if you’re bad at it), you can only improve. I love the challenge!
I leave you with a few more tips that I found, that seem very practical, should you decide to take the plunge. And, learn to ski, even as an older adult!
- Get there EARLY! Crowds can not only be intimidating, but dangerous if you don’t know how to maneuver well on skis!
- Make sure you’re in good health and good shape.
- Bring/Wear layers under a water resistant coat and pants.
- Bring pocket snacks and a water bottle. (Or, pack a cooler and keep it in your locker.)
- Wear sunscreen!
- Rent or borrow as much equipment as you can, the first time.
- Wear a helmet! And, goggles! (You can rent these, as well!)
- Keep tissues and a face towel in your coat pocket. In case you sweat or get a runny nose!
So, are you interested in learning to ski? Or have you recently tried it for the first or second time? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!