Ski Tips for Beginners ft. Ski Whitefish at Whitefish Mountain Resort
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At the end of January, we travelled to Montana - I mentioned that here on my Where to Stay near Kalispell post! Everyone I went with was either an avid winter sportsman or had at least skied a couple of times, so that was what our activities mainly involved - skiing and snowboarding! Fun, right? I am 26 years old and had never been skiing until a couple of weeks ago. So yeah it sounded fun to me, but also kind of terrifying.
Our friends who travel there all the time usually go to Ski Whitefish at Whitefish Mountain Resort, so that's what we all decided to do! I asked around for some beginner tips and most of y'all suggested I take a lesson, so thankfully Ski Whitefish had some. They actually have TONS of lessons for both skiing and snowboarding. They have different age ranges and levels, so really there's not an excuse to be lesson-less.
On our first day of skiing, our friends dropped me and my friend Kami off and we checked in and got our tickets. With the beginner "learn to ski" program, you actually get 2 day beginner lift tickets and 2 tickets for the ski lessons. We then went to get our boots, skis, and poles, which was also covered with the class fee! After getting everything, we waddled over to the area where there were several lessons starting and basically had a private lesson, without paying for one!
Our instructor's name was Cliff and he was awesome. There were three of us in the class and he made sure to do some one on one with each of us, but also did some group work. Cliff was so patient and awesome to work with, I can't imagine learning from anyone else. This first lesson mainly consisted of basics like "pizza", "french fry", how to how with skis, and so on. The majority of the time we side-walked up the mountain or used the "magic carpet" - which is basically a conveyer belt up the mountain. We only did the main lift once and that was enough for me for the first day -no reflection of Cliff or Ski Whitefish! I was just tired emotionally and physically. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't think I'd fall down as much as a I did. It's not that falling was awful - it didn't ever hurt or anything. It's just quite literally hard to keep going when you fall so frequently. I had originally planned on doing the second lesson that same day, but after lunch, I knew that I needed to wait and do the second lesson the following day. Each lesson is about three hours, so not super long, but not a cakewalk either!
The second day was slightly easier - I think that's the thing about skiing...like most things, yes, you have to keep at it and practice practice practice, but it is quite literally a muscle memory -that's all you have! It was really hard for me because it was completely out of my control. Sound like a type A person to ya?;) Nick spent some time with me and I think it took us about an hour to get down a green. I fell a lot and basically cried down the mountain. I am not afraid of heights, but I don't like going steeply down something, especially if I'm going really fast, AKA skiing. I would do a couple "S"es and do well, then get going really fast, freak out, and forget what I was doing. Each run I got better, but still would forget to lean left but press down with my right foot, blah blah blah. One thing that DID not help at all was that it was snowing the entire time we were on the mountain, both days! There was pretty much not visibility, to the point where even my really good friends didn't even try the blacks, because of the weather/situation.
Overall, I tried skiing, so I can check that off my list at least! I think if I try it again, it will be better. I'm not sure the last thing I cried so hard and long over to be quite honest. The most humbling part is that there are these tiny children zooming past you and pretty much more amazing than I'll ever be! On my second time down the mountain with Nick, I did some pretty good "S"es and there were these kids, probably under 10, riding up the nearby ski lift. They shouted down to me and were like "you're doing great!" Nick was like "isn't she?!" and they were like "yeah, we know!". It was seriously the sweetest thing. I'd say if it is your first time skiing or even if you're not very good, make sure your trip mates are patient and kind. It really helps!!
So that's the long story, but overall, here are my top 3 ski tips for beginners:
1) Take a Lesson (or 2 or 3!)
This is my number one suggestion. No matter how good the cute guy is or how your older sister thinks she can do it, just don't. To be honest, skiing is kind of of frustrating. Chances are if you have someone you know telling you to do certain things, you will be even more frustrated and mostly at them!
2) Dress Appropriately
I'm going to share a whole post on what to wear when you going skiing, but the down and dirty answer is something waterproof. There is nothing worse than being cold and wet from snow. When we were in Montana, it snowed the entire time we were on the slopes, both days! Another thing is that if you are taking a lesson, make sure you know what that entails. Ours came with skis, poles and boots. It did not come with gloves, goggles, or helmets. We brought our own gloves and goggles, but rented a helmet. No matter how good you are, get a helmet, but especially if you're new. Chances are you'll fall at least once. (I stopped counting how many times I fell...)
3) Keep Going/Get Back Up/It's Okay to Cry
I kind of mushed this all into one, because it is motivational. a. You need to keep going because skiing is basically muscle memory and the more you do it, the better you are. b. You're going to fall a lot unless you missed your calling in life at being a professional skier and are perfect the first time you try. c. It's okay to cry...because I did. I would not recommend wearing mascara if you think you might. At least I had eyelash extensions at the time;)
Here's a video of one of my successful bunny hill runs. Thanks for the help, Cliff!
On my first day, when I was taking the ski lift was Cliff, he asked me how I was feeling and I said "well, I could have lived my entire life without doing this". LOL Can you believe my 'tude?! I'm writing this while watching the winter olympics, so it definitely has me inspired. I think my favorite thing to watch though is snowboarding. Red Gerard, y'all?! Proof that it isn't over until it's over and to keep on trying! Maybe I should try snowboarding next? I've heard it's a lot harder to learn though, andddd me learning skiing for sure wasn't the easiest. Either way, I'm happy to have tried something new! Do you have any ski tips for beginners? Comment below so maybe you can help me for next time!
P.S. Here's a mash up of our entire trip, including skiing!
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