If there's one consolation for an early start to winter, it's the prospect of having a longer ski and snowboard season. As with all forms of physical activity, a little bit of planning and preparedness can make for a much more enjoyable time. Here are our tips for getting the most out of your time on the slopes.
Before you go...
- Have the right gear. Proper fits and sizes are key here. You don't necessarily need to spend a great deal of money to achieve this. If you don't ski regularly, then consider renting what you need.
- Stay warm, and stay dry. Look for clothing that are resistant to water and wind, and remember to wear a hat and gloves. Additionally, dressing in layers will help you to maintain just the right body temperature.
- Mind your eyes. Snow blindness is a terrible way to ruin your excursion, so make sure you're wearing protective eyewear.
- Despite the cold, don't underestimate the likelihood of sunburn. Protect exposed skin accordingly.
Once you're there...
- If you're inexperienced, get help from the pros and take a lesson. You'll enjoy yourself more when you know what you're doing, and will minimize the chances of injury that way too.
- Stay focused. The best way to make safe decisions is to have your wits about you. As with driving, decisions made during snowboarding and skiing need to be done quickly; you won't be able to achieve this in a distracted state.
- Stay hydrated. This will help make sure your mind is working as it should.
- Engage in a physical warm up before you actually start skiing.
- Don't wait until you're tired to stop.
- Learn about the various types of snow (hard, wet, etc) and how they alter your speed on the slopes. Adjust your movements accordingly in order to maintain control.
- If you find yourself on a slope that's too difficult, keep your skiis on and side step down the slope.
- Remember that people ahead of you have the right of way.
- Only stop where it is clear and safe to do so (where you won't be in someone else's way).
- Know how to use the lifts.
- Obey signs.