Is Skiing Hard to Learn?

Cori Gramms
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Performing the right motions to be able to ski swiftly and gracefully is crucial to keeping you safe on the mountain. However, this is not a sport that is as easy as it looks.

Skiing Isn’t Easy to Learn

If we’re honest, picking up the skills required for skiing is not an easy task.

If you come from a lifestyle where you are an avid participant in recreational sports like tennis, basketball, or soccer, then you are in the right place. If not, you will have to learn a bit faster and do some hard work if you want to make it. This is why so many people want to take beginner’s lessons. They need to learn the fundamentals of skiing and work at their own pace after the lessons.

People who are new to skiing often assume that the only thing they need to do when skiing is to lean forward to go faster or lean back to slow down. This cannot be further from the truth.

If anything, this is one of the biggest factors that causes people to fall and have accidents. Maintaining your balance while learning to ski is a necessity. You need to have a centered and upright stance which, in turn, will keep the ski tips from veering off when you need to turn the skis. The best way to learn how to ski is not to expect to master the stance but rather to work on it continuously.

Will Snowboarding be Easier to Learn?

Skiing can be intimidating. It can take a long time to get down the bunny hill (a gentle slope for novices) when you first start. Even if you have some experience under your belt, you’ll still have to re-learn how to turn and deal with much more gear.

So, why not start snowboarding instead? I’ve heard this countless times not only from people who are just dabbling in the idea of snow sports for the first time but also from many of the more experienced skiers. They look at the long skis, the wide skis, and the need to be on their edges to turn and think that snowboarding provides a better alternative to skiing. All I have to say is that snowboarding is both easier and harder than skiing.

Snowboarding is easier in the sense that you don’t need to hold an edge. Instead, you just use the edges of the board to catch turns. You need to stand up to do it, but so long as you’re able to walk, you can snowboard. You can practice on small, low-speed halfpipes, and you’ll make a lot more turns than you would make when skiing.

On the other hand, skiing will be easier during your first few lessons. Using two skis is a more natural stance than balancing both legs on one board. Additionally, with skiing, you are able to regain your balance easier, as you just need to move one leg outward. When learning to snowboard, you will initially fall a lot more than you will when skiing.

How to Make Skiing Easier

Whether you’re a beginner skier, or an intermediate skier seeking to improve your form and technique, it’s a very difficult sport to get right.

Here are some considerations to make the learning stages easier:

  • Do some exercises: A few weeks before you plan to hit the slopes for the first time, it will be very beneficial to get in some exercise to strengthen your muscles and improve your fitness. Some exercises we recommend are: squats and wall squats; lunges; planks; push-ups and reverse push-ups; and don't forget to stretch as often as possible.

    The article, The Right Skiing Technique: Preparing for Your First Lesson has more details and demonstrations on the above exercises.

  • Have patience: You might start to wonder why you're trying as hard as you can, but you're just not getting it. The reason learning to ski is so hard is because it’s a game of patience. When you first start learning, it’s hard to believe how much longer it takes you to do something that seems so easy. Once you’ve developed the necessary patience, you’ll keep hitting that learning speed bump.

  • Hire an instructor: You will most likely have the option to join group lessons or have individual lessons with a ski instructor. One-on-one lessons are recommended if your time at the mountains is limited and you want to learn quickly. Group lessons, on the other hand, are cheaper. You might also feel less embarrassed if you are surrounded by people making the same mistakes as you.

  • Dress appropriately: This might seem quite obvious; however, beginners often think that they can wear any warm clothing to ski in. Most importantly is to buy or rent tight-fitting boots. Other items you will need are snow pants (not jeans), a helmet, goggles, and insulated gloves.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to ski is not a simple process. Taking to the slopes is daunting to most. However, if you mentally and physically prepare yourself before starting, you will find it an easier experience.

Whether you choose to learn how to ski or snowboard – or both – allow yourself to make mistakes and give yourself time to progress.

Don't forget the main aim of learning a snow sport – to have fun. Having the right expectations and following our tips is guaranteed to make your learning experience a more enjoyable one.