Start out skiing

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I’m been invited to go skiing with a friend of mine over break. That’s pretty cool, but there’s a problem: I have no idea how to ski. I’ve never been skiing in my life.

My friend insists that this is no big deal, and that he’ll show me the ropes. But I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, and I would hate for him to feel like I’m ruining his vacation (or for his generous parents to feel like they’ve wasted their money on someone who has no idea what he’s doing).

What advice would you give to a first-time skier who is trying to look a little bit less like, well, a first-time skier?

If you’ve never been skiing before, there’s not a lot that you can do to avoid looking at least a little bit like a first-timer. However, there are things that you can–and should–do to make sure that your trip is safe and fun for everyone involved.

Let’s start with your anxieties about your friend and his family. It’s kind of your friend to suggest that you stick together, but you are wise to consider his feelings and potential frustration as a more experienced skier. Perhaps you should have another discussion with your friend to make sure that you’re on the same page.

You should also make sure that your friend has communicated the situation to his parents. It’s possible, and perhaps even likely, that he has, but it would help ensure everyone’s comfort and happiness if you checked. If they’re okay with your lack of prior experience, then try not to worry–though there may be a thing or two that you can do to ensure that your friend and his family have the chance to ski on their own and at their own level.

Ski resorts virtually always offer lessons and ski schools, say the pros at Northstar Lodge, experts in Skiing near Truckee CA. Perhaps you could take a lesson or multiple lessons (paying your own way, as you shouldn’t expect your friend or his family to subsidize something you do on your own), which would block out some time for your friend to ski on his own or with his family. If you learn fast, you may even be able to ski some trails that interest your friends.

But know your limits! Skiing can be a very dangerous sport, and it’s important for first-timers (and, for that matter, all skiers) to treat the mountain with the respect that it deserves. That means avoiding trails that are too difficult to you. Confidence is nice, but don’t take foolish risks!

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re prepared for your trip safety-wise. Take a moment to learn the skier’s Responsibility Code, a basic set of etiquette and safety rules that will go a long way toward keeping you safe on the slopes. And make sure that you get the right safety gear, too! Many ski resorts allow you to rent helmets with the rest of your equipment, but it never hurts to double-check. A helmet is a necessity for safe skiing, experts assert.

If you show up with the know-how it takes to stay as safe as possible on the slopes, and if you have a plan to give your friend and his family at least some time on their own, there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t feel comfortable enjoying their generosity.

“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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