You have probably seen only the steep slopes shown on TV and thought “skiing is not for me”. But the reality is that everyone starts and learns skiing at a very mild slope with an ‘introduction’ lesson from a trainer! If you think you are fit to try a new sport, age is not a factor to learn skiing.
Ski slopes are maintained by private companies. Most of them have 2 kinds of slopes. The steep ski slopes that you have seen on TV and a smaller area with very mild slope for training and beginners. Ski companies conduct regular ski training batches throughout the day. It is important that you take a ski ‘introduction’ lesson. To start without any lesson will be a danger to you and also others in the area. Also, a point you probably did not know is that there are also indoor ski slopes that are open throughout the year!! You will probably find one near your house!
So you have 3 types of slopes where you can learn to ski:
- indoor ski on artificial snow: this is artificial slope covered with artificial snow maintained at -3 degree centigrade. But it feels pretty much like a natural outdoor slope. This is the preferred option in my opinion. Advantages are that you are likely to find one near your house, does not need too much planning, lower costs, likely more time on the snow and all these while the experience is still very close to learning outdoors. The disadvantage if any is that it is not outdoor which is where you will finally ski. But in my opinion, for a beginner it really does not make a difference.
- indoor ski on carpet: this is like a very wide tread mill (5 times wider) with much more slope and carpet floor. This is my least preferred. While most advantages are same as indoor ski, in reality it is much harder to learn skiing here and you will anyway need to take an ‘introduction’ lesson when you go to the actual outdoor slope. Usually people who come here are one who already know skiing and want to brush up before the season or improve their techniques.
- outdoor ski slopes: this is the 2nd preferred just because of the planning hassles and the higher costs of accommodation etc. It is also probably a bit more tiring than the indoor snow ski
Last but not the least, you need to wear the right gear for skiing! You need the ski itself, ski boots, ski gloves, helmet and ski suit (pants/jackets). These are designed to keep you warm and comfortable even when you are out in the cold all day. For the initial lesson, you will get all of these for rent at the place where you go for your ski lessons. Later you can decide to buy if you wish to do it more often. The trainer will show you how to wear the ski. The rest you need to wear yourself and is self explanatory. Only things worth noting are: the ski suit is worn over your dress, wear pants and not sari/skirt, avoid tight jeans pants just to feel flexible and finally, when you wear the boots make sure the pant is tucked inside the boots (else the boots will rub against your legs when you walk and will cause minor bruises). Also, take a kerchief or paper napkin to wipe your nose in case you have tendency of running nose in cold weather.
So a step by step procedure to your initial lesson:
- Call the ski company for an “introduction” lesson
- Arrive there at least 40 minutes in advance
- Pay your fees and rent the gear as needed
- Wear the gear and wait with your ski in your hand at the designated area for your training batch
- Follow the trainer
- After the training it is usually possible to extend your stay for learning on your own at a discounted price.