Top 10 Tips For Beginner Skiers
We got in touch with Ken Smith from Progression Ski and Snowboard School. They offer a full range of private ski lessons, adult and kids group lessons and off-piste classes in Val d’Isère and Tignes throughout the winter. We regularly work with Progression ski for providing ski lessons for our luxury ski holiday guests. Here are their top tips for nervous or beginner skiers.
1. Should I use a dry slope before a ski holiday?
If a ski centre is on your doorstep, there is no harm in spending some time there to build your confidence.
For beginner children aged eight years and older, we recommend they first try group lessons on a dry ski slope at home before arriving at their ski holiday. Most beginner children in ski resorts tend to be five to six years old. For older children, a group lesson can be boring and socially difficult if learning alongside children much younger than them. If children can practice on a dry slope and learn the basics of skiing, they can go straight into a group skiing class which is likely to be more age-appropriate and fun.
However, if you plan to take private lessons in your ski resort rather than group lessons, you do not need to practice on a dry slope. Some dry slopes and indoor ski centres can be expensive. Depending on your budget, it can also be more productive to only pay for private lessons once in the ski resort.
Watch the below video for a guide to skiing on a dry slope:
2. Private or group skiing lessons?
Generally, private lessons are the most effective way to improve your skiing or snowboarding. If you want to learn at a gentler pace with similarly skilled skiers, group lessons give a nice social aspect to your skiing holiday. Group skiing lessons also work well when you want to learn alongside your travel group and there are different levels within your party. However, if the budget allows, you can’t beat one to one private lessons.
Progression Ski group lessons have a maximum of four in the group, so it is both social and you will progress quickly. They try and find out as much as they can about the skier’s needs, experience and what they want from a lesson before arrival and use this information to pair the best instructor with each student.
3. When is the quietest time to ski?
Avoiding the school holidays is always beneficial as those weeks can be very busy. January tends to be quieter than peak seasons and tends to have good snow but can be cold so less enjoyable for beginner or slower skiers who won’t be working up a sweat. Early March is a great time if you want quieter pistes with good snow and slightly warmer weather too.
Most people tend to prefer morning private lessons, but afternoons are often quieter so it is worth bearing this in mind if you’re a nervous or beginner skier.
4. Should I learn to ski with beginners or good skiers?
Go with your friends and don’t worry about what levels other people are at. You don’t need to ski with all your friends together, just the ones that are of a similar standard to you. If learning or practising skiing, staying with those of a similar standard means you won’t rush into a dangerous or scary situation above your skill level that could knock your confidence. Skiing in a big group can also become quite logistically difficult, so breaking out into smaller groups of similarly skilled skiers is highly recommended, and remember, you can see your other friends over a nice glass of champagne and canapés at the end of the day!
5. What is the best ski resort for beginners?
Val d’Isère is the best ski resort for beginners. It used to have a reputation for not being particularly beginner-friendly but that has changed of late. With some major investment and improvements to the pistes, Val d’Isère now features a free beginner area on the town’s slopeside and another on the Solaise side so regardless of the weather there is always a good area to learn how to ski or snowboard. On the Solaise side, there are two covered lifts and three very good beginner pistes and very good facilities for coffee and snacks too.
Once you feel confident on the beginner slopes, you can venture further afield on the Solaise side with easy green and blue runs on offer, or head over to the Bellevarde side of Val d’Isère for more variety with a wide selection of green and blue runs plus much more.
6. What are common mistakes beginner skiers make?
This video perfectly explains the most common mistakes beginner skiers make, have a watch:
7. What kit do beginner skiers need?
A good helmet, goggles and gloves are a must, but comfortable ski boots make all the difference. Beginners should rent boots once in their ski resort, don’t be rushed into taking the first pair you are offered. It is normal to try a couple of pairs on to get a feel for them – they will feel strange if you’ve never worn any before, but that’s ski boots for you! You can hire your helmet, boots, skis and ski poles or snowboard from many ski hire shops in your ski resort. If on a holiday in a Consensio Ultimate Catered Chalet, Relaxed Catered Chalet or Self-Catered Apartment, your dedicated concierge will arrange all gear hire for you and your ski fitter can deliver them directly to your chalet to make sure you’re all kitted on your first evening, so you can hit the slopes on your first morning.
You can pick up goggles and gloves from your local sports shops, or if in a rush, you can pick them up from any number of ski shops once in your ski resort.
Boot Room in Consensio’s Chalet Le Namaste in Courchevel 1850.
8. Can I learn to ski on my own?
Unless you can’t afford ski lessons, don’t just ski with friends who kindly offer to help. It usually ends in poor technique, getting overwhelmed too early without the skillset to back it up, or simply an unenjoyable time for all. We highly recommended you invest in some lessons right from the start. Book a lesson – any lesson.
9. What accommodation should beginner skiers rent?
If you stay in a Cosnensio Chalet, a chauffeur service is included as standard, meaning you can relax in luxury knowing your chauffeur can drive you directly to the slopes and back to your chalet, rather than worrying about where the local shuttle service drops you. However, for the best skiing experience, we recommend you stay in a luxury Consensio ski-in/ski-out property. Ski-in/ski-out chalets offer maximum skiing with minimum fuss.
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10. Any final tips for beginner skiers?
Invest in good sun cream and drink lots of water! Hands forward, chin up and smile!
If you want to find the perfect accommodation for your next ski trip check out Consensio’s Ultimate Catered Chalets, Relaxed Catered Chalets and Self-Catered Apartments, all located across Val d’Isère, Méribel and Courchevel.
Find out more about Progression Ski and Snowboard School here.