What Ski Equipment To Use When You First Go Skiing.

For most people learning to ski is fun, exhilarating and exciting. But it can sometimes also be intimidating. This is often because you are unfamiliar with both the equipment and the environment.

In my last Blog post, I discussed why it is advantageous to learn to ski before you take off on your first winter sports holiday in the mountains. This will familiarise you with the equipment side of the sport.

The essential clothing items include a fully waterproof and windproof jacket and pants, which should be made from a ‘breathable’ material to insure minimal sweat build up on the inside, warm under layers like ‘thermal’ tops and bottoms, and a fleece jumper with a collar to cover the neck area. Because skiing is a dynamic sport you can become warm underneath your layers even if it is well below freezing outside, but this is why good clothing is even more important as it will regulate your temperature more efficiently. A large proportion of heat loss in the body goes directly through the head and for this reason a good ski hat is essential. This should be made of wool or similar performing artificial fabrics. It is advisable to buy your hat from a specialist ski store. Gloves are another very important item which should not be compromised on when it comes to cost. Cold hands lead to cold arms and then a cold body, as the blood flows through the veins close to the wrist. Again, like your jacket, gloves should be waterproof, breathable and contain insulation. One item that is often overlooked as not important are socks. Your feet can easily get cold and good socks will help to keep you comfortable in your ski boots. All good specialist ski stores will have professional advisors who can help you out when choosing your clothing for the first time and to insure your ski holiday is as enjoyable as possible it is wise to invest sensibly in good quality clothing.

Most people choose to rent their ski ‘hardware’ when they first go skiing. With clothing, most of it can used during the winter months at home anyway, but you won’t have much use for ski boots or skis once you come home. Renting equipment is easy in all ski resorts and a much cheaper option than buying your own.

Ski boots are a crucial part of your skiing experience and it is well worth taking your time to get your size right when you go into the rental department of the sports store. It is important to let the shop assistants know your ability and very unwise to tell them you are better than you are as you do not need or want ski boots or skis designed for expert skiers. This will only inhibit your performance and do your credibility no good at all. Always take your ski socks with you to the shop and try not to wear jeans or tight trousers, as you will need to pull them up over your calves. Try both boots on and make sure your toes are not hitting the end of the boots. Ski boots should be snug around the calf and the foot without pressing too hard or causing pain.

When it comes to skis it generally used to be that the longer the skis, the better the skier you are. Not so anymore. Skis are generally much shorter, and can be wider. They are easier to handle and turn on. The rental department will assist you in the correct ski for your ability. They will also ask you what your height is and what your weight is. It is good if you know this information. If you don’t, they will weigh you and some people don’t like that. Just be honest as it is for your safety. The ski bindings (The implement that holds the ski boot to the ski) need to be adjusted correctly so that in an event of a fall they release to prevent a possible injury, and this is based on your weight and skiing ability.

Once you are kitted out with skis and boots the only other items remaining are ski poles. The classic way to measure the correct height of the poles is to turn them upside down, hold the pole directly underneath the basket (a plastic device near the bottom of the ski pole that stops the pole from going too far down into the snow) and when your elbow is approximately at right angles, you have the correct size.

It is always worth taking advice from experts in specialist stores when you go skiing. If the store has a good reputation they wont try and rip you off with equipment that is too expensive or not suitable for your level of skiing, they would not last long in business if they did so. If you do decide to buy ski boots for your first skiing holiday then get them properly fitted out in a store that is local to you, and then wear them on an artificial slope when you have ski lessons. If they need re adjusting you can go back to the store.

Hope you find this of use. If you have anything to contribute then I would like to hear from you so please make a comment on this post.

Next time in beginners ski tips, I will go into what to expect on the first ski lesson.

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Robert Stewart

Ski Editor at Snow.Guide

Rob has extensive knowledge and experience of winter sports and has been qualified to instruct and teach Alpine Skiing for over 25 years. He is also an experienced off-piste and backcountry skier and has competed in freestyle and freeride events around the world. Now a full-time ski writer and Director of Ski Press, Rob is Snow.Guide’s Ski Editor and contributes to many other snowsports, national and lifestyle publications.

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One thought on “What Ski Equipment To Use When You First Go Skiing.”

  1. Hi,

    All your blog’s topic were all informative. Thanks for sharing….

    I have seen also a post of one of the blogs online featured about skiing and both of you did a good job in helping people educate like me.

    Thanks for sharing.

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