We all have to start somewhere and whilst the die-hard skiers and snowboarders already know this information, many newbies to skiing do want to learn what skiing is all about.
We have all taken to the slopes for the first time at some point in our lives. Some of us when we were younger and not afraid to ask what all the terms mean, others later in life and we do everything we possibly can to avoid the terms we don’t understand. The internet is great and we can look up most terms to familiarise ourselves, so we don’t feel a complete novice.
I personally think the recent months of dealing with Covid19 in our lives, and the uncertainty that it has brought to us, have made us rethink that life is too short. So, let’s do something new and exhilarating, something we haven’t tried before and for some of us that is skiing and snowboarding for the first time.
Before we go through some basic ski terminology, if you are looking for the ideal ski destination for your first ski experience, the French Alps is a good place to start your ski search.
Where is the best place to ski for the first time?
La Plagne in the French Alps has superb nursery slopes and excellent instructors. The ski schools offer good advice and before you know it, you will leave behind the nursery runs and tackle the green and blue slopes.
Meribel is also in the French Alps, there are three zones dedicated to beginners. Again, with great ski schools and instructors, you will find your ski legs in no time at all.
What is a piste?
A piste is a marked out trail, also called a slope. Snow machines have compacted the snow and they act as a guide. You need the snow to be compacted so you can ski or snowboard. The pistes are also on a grading system from beginner to advanced levels. It says it all really, you will start your ski adventure on a nursery slope.
Nursery slopes are for – Beginners
Gentle slopes are called – Green
Easy slopes are called – Blue
Intermediate slopes are – Red
Advanced slopes for expert skiers are – Black
Off-piste – for experienced skiers only, as the slopes are un-groomed (not been prepared)
What is Alpine skiing?
This is the usual type of skiing for most of us. You ski down a mountain and you wear a ski boot that is firmly secured to your skies. You will also need ski poles, or sticks for support, balance, and rhythm.
What is snowboarding?
Snowboarding follows the theme of skateboarding, the only difference is the snowboard is attached to the snowboarder’s feet and you snowboard over snow.
What is a lift pass?
You can buy in advance your ski lift passes and you will need them on the slopes, it’s similar to a credit card. Your ski wear will have zipped pockets and you can keep the passes in there.
What types of ski lifts are there?
There are several starting with a chair lift, T Bar, magic carpet, rope lift, cable car, and gondola, are the most commonly used.
What is après ski?
This for some is the end goal of skiing, it’s what happens after you have spent a day on the slopes. It can be pre-dinner drinks, dinner, or attending social events. If you don’t want the evening to end you can go dancing and nightclubbing in some ski resorts.
What are the ski resorts like?
They offer a variety of entertainment, shops, and eateries. There are ski resorts suitable for groups and family-friendly resorts. Most open in the summer too for summer activities.
Skiing is a tremendous opportunity and one not to be missed. Take your first ski lesson this ski season!