Tips for Your First Day on the Slopes!

People riding the ski lift up to the top of the mountain.

Trying out a new sport may be a bit overwhelming, but put your worries aside because we have some tips for first time skiers and snowboarders in North Carolina. There are a few things that need considering when getting ready for the first day. Please keep our suggestions in mind and know that everything you need is available right here at Beech Mountain Resort.

So, you made the trip to Beech Mountain, you have a place to stay, and you are ready to hit the slopes! What else is there to know? There are four components that you ought to consider: proper clothing, lift tickets, equipment and lessons.

Proper Clothing: What to Wear?
When coming to the mountains of North Carolina, weather can be unpredictable. We get cold fronts that move in quite quickly and the variation in the temperature and wind can change rapidly. Also, the difference in the conditions from the base of the mountain to the summit can be extreme as well. Dressing appropriately will not only make things more comfortable, it will make the skiing/snowboarding experience much better.

Socks: One pair of thin, moisture-wicking socks is all that you need. The ski boots are insulated, so you need not wear thick socks. You want your socks to be warm, so wool socks are the most preferred. Thin socks are best because they let you feel the sole of your ski boot which is where the action is generated as you ski. Make sure that only your socks are inside of your boots for the same reason. Also, extra layers can cause pressure areas that cut off circulation or numb nerves.

Hand and Head Wear: Have something to keep your head, ears, and neck warm (a full face mask and/or a helmet are other options, too). Wear insulated, waterproof gloves or mittens; mittens are typically warmer.

Boots: Ski boots are a very important item as they are the connection between you and the skis. If this connection is too sloppy you will find it hard to get the skis to do what you want them to do. You want the boots to fit firmly around your foot but not cut off your circulation or press too hard on nerves.  Take the time to make sure that the boots you are trying on are the right fit. The best rule of thumb is for the boots to be snug, but not tight. You will be wearing them all day, so it is essential for them to fit properly. Being fitted for snow board boots is similar to trying on a pair of hiking boots.

Pants: Insulated, waterproof pants and coats are essential (these are available for rent in our clothing rental department). You will be sitting on a chair-lift that may have snow on it and you will probably fall on the snow since you are learning. You will feel really cold and miserable if you get wet, so wear waterproof.

Jacket: It is very important that this should be windproof and waterproof. You will be sitting on a chair-lift in the wind. The snow is wet. You will want a jacket you can close up against the bad weather – so preferably have one that zips up around the neck and has a hood to snuggle into. When it is really cold here, a down jacket can be nice, especially for those not used to the cold.

Thermal Underwear: Dress in layers. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Even if it is warm and you do not need this for warmth you may want to consider wearing a layer of thermal underwear to remove moisture from your skin. Cotton holds moisture and will make a chill layer so try to avoid using any cotton. For example, dress in polypropylene long underwear (top and bottom), which feels good next to the skin, dries quickly, absorbs sweat, and keeps you warm.

Warm layers: Fleece is great for warm layers. Fleece works well because it tends to keep the moisture from your sweat in vapor form making it easier to let it get through your jacket (if it can breathe). Wool works similarly.  However you can use anything that will keep you warm (cotton is not the number one choice). Go with a down jacket or vest if it is really cold. Remember you will need to move – so a vest can let you have a warm trunk but keep some arm movement possible.

Goggles: Wind, snow, and cold temperatures are all harsh elements for eyes. Additionally, because of our geography, it is necessary for us to make snow so that we can provide a quality product for skiing and snowboarding. The amount of snow that has to be produced is quite a bit, so there are often times that we run the snow machines constantly. Goggles will protect your eyes and allow for better visibility.

Sunscreen: Even though the temperatures might be cold and the clouds might be out, putting on sunscreen is extremely important before hitting the slopes. The sunlight reflects off the snow and bounces up which can burn any exposed skin. Apply before going out in the morning and reapply regularly. This tip can prevent major discomfort!

Lift Ticket
You will need to decide how long you want to ski or snowboard. For the first day, it is recommended to get a full day ticket (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.); the more time on the slope means the more practice you will get. Getting to the ski area early is a great idea so that you will be able to navigate our property, get what you need for clothing and equipment, schedule a lesson and get on the snow as quickly as possible. The lift ticket entitles you to access all of the slopes and lifts. Lift tickets are required no matter where you are on the mountain (the Play Yard, our version of a bunny hill, included). Lift tickets can be purchased online or at the lift ticket booth. Once you have a lift ticket, you will continue on to the rental department where you will get fitted for your ski or snowboard equipment.

Rental Equipment
Obtaining the proper equipment is mandatory for learning. We suggest renting from Beech Mountain Resort because it is convenient, but also because our technicians are certified to work only on our equipment. Think about the hassle taking off ski boots, putting on shoes, carrying your equipment to the car, driving to the rental shop to get your equipment fixed or replaced. If you rent from Beech Mountain Resort, the skis could be fixed or replaced without the headache. In our rental area, you will fill out a form that requires certain information including name, phone number, email address, local accommodations, local phone, address, height, weight, age, and skiing ability. Be honest with height, weight and age; this is about safety and accuracy of settings. You will submit this information to the cashier who will take payment and send you on to the technicians. Let the cashier know if you are interested in renting a helmet (this is optional, but recommended). From there, you be fitted for your ski boots and skis or your snowboarding boots and snowboard. Our technicians will ensure that the equipment you rent is adjusted properly to suit your ability.

Locker rentals are also available strongly suggested for storing shoes and personal items. Once you are equipped, take the stairs out of the rental department and head up to the Ski and Ride School.

We strongly recommend that you take lessons. Learning something new is often best achieved when guidance is received. One-hour group lessons are an excellent way to learn the basics about skiing or snowboarding. Being grouped with others who are beginners will allow you to see that you are not alone and it’s also nice to meet new friends! Private lessons are offered as well. It is not a bad idea to take the group lesson first, practice on your own for a little while, and then consider a private lesson to gain more knowledge about how you can build on the skills you have learned. The best way to become a good skier or snowboarder is to take a lesson from one of our professional instructors. You’ll safely learn more in a one-hour lesson that you will all day on your own. Remember, it is something new and it will be a challenge, so be kind to and with yourself. Once you master the basics, the fun times begin.

Keep in mind:

  • Know your limits. Learn to ski and snowboard in control.
  • If you’re tired, take a break. It is not a good idea to ski or snowboard when you are tired; it is usually when most injuries occur.
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