A common misperception is that skiing is difficult to learn, only best done in one’s younger years, and expensive lessons are required. I am living proof that this is incorrect because I never touched a ski until I was 40 and am now a competent intermediate skier of 54 (gahh!).
Here are some insider and less publicized tips to get started very quickly:
If skiing like those on TV is not (and should not be) a requirement, the learning curve is very fast.
Accept falling ahead of time and do not care – advanced skiers continuously do but also know it is actually fun since the snow is a cushion against any discomfort.
The first skis should be rentals available at the ski lodge where you also pay for your lift ticket. The staff will adjust the equipment to your height and skill level. In case of a fall, the skis automatically disengage from the ski boots at the slighted force, so as not to injure your feet or legs. Keep the lift ticket visible and attached to your ski jacket to allow the staff to check for compliance.
To start, someone will need to demonstrate how to fasten ski boots and skis together and how to handle the equipment. If a friend cannot do this, have one professional lesson. The first thing they should teach is how to stand back up after a fall ,which is not difficult but may not be self evident for the first time. This is also the time for some guidance on how to utilize the conveyor belt and ski lift chairs effectively and safely. Beginner ones are slow and are not a big deal.
If an acquaintance can get you upright and moving forward, then many can instruct themselves to a rudimentary level of competence (no falling) on the beginner slopes.
Only a little core body strength is necessary to get started and more will develop – this is good exercise that is not over challenging at intervals.
Start on the very beginner shallow slope served by a conveyor belt to get up to the top. These are barely hills and you will not speed up out of control.
After that, move to chair lifts that serve slopes marked with green circles only – these are beginner and longer versions of the previous one. All trails are marked as green circles (beginner), blue squares (intermediate), diamonds or double diamonds (advanced).
This is the most important: overcome the desire to instinctively want to stand erect and even lean back a bit when moving forward on the skis for the first time. In fact, while counter intuitive, bending your knees a bit and leaning forward will actually be easier as this actually allows greater control over ski speed and direction and is the single most effective accomplishment in learning. For me, once I mastered that, everything else followed.
Do not at anytime feel your skies must be parallel and pointing straight forward. That is advanced skiing and many rarely do that. Feel free to point the front tips inward a bit in a V which is not only the recommended technique and makes turning easie. The more the V, the slower you go, which is the common beginner way of controlling your speed.
Turning on skis is easy when relaxed. Again, be counter intuitive and do not attempt to turn your skis by consciously trying to lead them with your foot position in the direction you want go. Rather – this is critical but easy – lean and put your weight over the ski outside of the turn. For example if turning left, put your weight over the right ski and visa versa. Skis are constructed with special flexible and curved edges that automatically turn when such pressures are applied.
At this point your are skiing – albeit rudimentarily. After trying that a bit, refine and improve the technique by adding a slight pressure on the inside edge of the outside ski during the turn. As you progress, the turns can further be refined at faster speeds by bobbing up a bit during the turn to make yourself lighter for an instant while furtherer pushing a bit on your skis down and out on the inside edge. This will almost come naturally from repetition and the associated higher comfort lever. Repeat and repeat again – have fun and do not worry about looking good or doing well – every single person on that slope was a beginner at one time. Finally, lessons are not mandatory (but suggested for improvement) to have fun and never think you have to go fast to do it well.