How to Start Skiing

Learning to ski can be pretty challenging at first, especially if you start on a long ski run in the mountains. But if you relax, focus on the basics and gain a comfortable confidence on your skis, you'll be shredding up the resort runs in no time.

1. Dress properly for a day on the mountain

Before you even step into your skis and head to the chair lift, you need to make sure you're wearing the right gear and clothing to tackle the slopes in comfort. Not sure what to wear? We lay it all out for you here.

Learn How to Move on Alpine Skis

2. Get comfortable on your skis. The next thing to do before you get to the top of the mountain is get comfortable on your skis. Move around and find your balance by moving forward on your skis on flat land. Place your skis parallel to one another, reach forward with your poles, slightly angle them towards you, and push them down into the snow and back to move forward. Keep your skis parallel; moving your skis back and forth won't move you forward because your heels aren't free like they are in cross-country skis.

As you gain confidence, lean forward slightly and feel your weight in the balls of your feet. Put your hands through the wrist straps on your ski poles and keep them at your side. Once you feel comfortable in your skiing posture, you'll gain more confidence and control in your turns and stops.

Start Skiing Downhill

4. Try the beginner's wedge, or "snowplow". To stop yourself from sliding backwards, spread your ski tips to form a "V". Similarly, when going forward on a slope, you can slow down and come to a stop by spreading your heels and bringing the tips of your skis together. This is what some ski instructors call the "pizza slice" or "snow plow." It's a classic first move taught in ski schools and lessons to beginners. Be sure you don't let your ski tips cross.

You can turn slowly while you snowplow by bending your knees, moving the leg opposite of the direction you want to go forward (if you want to turn right, push your left leg forward), and then straitening up to stand tall. Practicing your snowplow turns without poles can be helpful -- then you can use your free hands to slowly push your turning leg forward.