January 2, 2022

Planning Your First Time Skiing or Snowboarding

by Jullie

Your first time skiing or snowboarding doesn’t have to be stressful. Honestly, you’re making an excellent choice. Not many trips can beat the scenery and adventure of a snowboarding or skiing vacation. However, unlike a vacation on the beach, a snowboarding/ski trip needs more planning, and this is where we come in. 

If you were to be left alone planning, you could waste plenty of time researching to find helpful information. But, to make the process more convenient, this article has everything you need to know when planning your first time skiing or snowboarding. 

Read on to find out more.


Table of Contents

What are the Best Places to Go Skiing or Snowboarding?

Swiftly exceeding their beginnings as outdoor sports for audacious mountaineers, snowboarding and skiing have turned into mainstream winter sports for everyone! Similarly, resorts have sustained the demand by integrating hotels, cafes, and other indoor and outdoor activities to keep the whole family comfortable. 

Nevertheless, for riders and skiers, the snow and the mountainsides` terrain is all that matters. Here are the best places to go skiing or snowboarding;

  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Garmisch, Germany 
  • Nagono & Hokkaido, Japan 
  • Yongpyong, Korea
  • Whistler & Lake Louis, Canada
  • Breckenridge, Colorado

What Kinds of Equipment Do I Need for Skiing or Snowboarding?

Having the right equipment when embarking on your first tour is essential. The most important equipment you’ll need for skiing and snowboarding are:

Helmet 

A ski and snowboard helmet is highly recommended as it shields your head from impact. Again, it keeps your ears and heads dry and warm. However, if you’re not wearing a helmet, you can go for a warm hat. 

Goggles

Goggles shield your eyes from snow, glare, and wind. Ensure the pair you have is compatible with your helmet and is right for the shape of your face. What’s more, if you wear eyeglasses, make sure the goggles fit over them. It would be best if they fit without leaving gaps. Nonetheless, if it’s sunny outside, you can go in a pair of sunglasses. 

Balaclava/neck gaiter 

You can use your neck gaiter to cover your nose if it’s extremely cold. On the other hand, a balaclava provides better coverage. 

Long underwear 

This helps wick sweat from the skin and keep you warm. Pick silk, synthetic, or wool, and not cotton. Again, it would help if you picked a mid or lightweight layer depending on the temperature. 

Wool top/light fleece

You should wear this over the long underwear top and beneath the jacket for additional warmth. 

Socks 

Snowboard and ski socks are typically longer than the boots but not too thick. Socks that are too thick can make the feet colder since they’ll make the footwear too tight, thus limiting blood circulation. Moreover, some socks feature padding on the shins. Choose synthetic or wool socks, but avoid cotton. They take longer to dry when they get wet from sweat or snow. 

Snowboard or ski jacket 

Typically, these jackets are water-resistant or waterproof, insulated, and have pockets and other ski/snowboard-specific features. A breathable and waterproof jacket worn over the fleece top will come in handy in keeping you warm. Nonetheless, this jacket’s slickness might extend the slides you’ll make in case of a fall. 

Snowboard/ski pants

Usually, these pants are insulated, water-resistant or waterproof, and some even have pockets and vents, such as the best ice climbing pants. Again, they have convenient features that hinder snow from accessing your footwear. 

Mittens or gloves 

Select water-resistant or waterproof and insulated gloves or mittens. Normally, the thicker the gloves, the warmer they are, though gloves are not as warm as mittens. On the other hand, mittens give up dexterity. 

While you might not require ski/snowboard-specific mittens or gloves, they do come with some convenient features such as cuffs that extend to the mid-forearm to hinder snow from accessing your clothes and in-built goggles wipes.

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When is the Best Time to Go Skiing or Snowboarding?

The best time to go skiing or snowboarding depends on the experience you expect. If you’re hoping for guaranteed snow, January and February are the best time to go. There’s usually decent snow coverage by this time. 

Additionally, temperatures are usually low in these months, meaning the snow has not yet melted; thus, numerous runs are open for riding or skiing. In late February, the decent snow cover is frequently coupled with a bit of sunlight exposure, though it is still among the busiest times in the resorts. 

That being said, the slopes are not usually empty in December either. Touring the mountains during the holidays does enhance the Christmas feeling since there is something magical about spending your holidays in a mountain resort. The snow and festive season tend to blend quite magically. 

On the other hand, if you like skiing or snowboarding in warmer conditions, the best times would be in March and April. Keep in mind that the snow begins melting during this period due to exposure to sunlight; thus, visiting a resort with glaciers or high slopes will serve you better. 

How Much Does It Cost to Ski or Snowboard for a Day?

Generally, skiing/snowboarding costs between $100 and $200, though it is cheaper if you pay weekly. This price includes the ski pass, your ski, food, and clothing hire. However, it doesn’t include lessons, accommodation, and other extras. 

What are the Most Popular Types of Skis or Snowboards?

Snowboards come in three different types:

  • Carving, race, or alpine snowboards 
  • All-mountain or freeride boards 
  • Freestyle snowboard 

On the other hand, there are multiple types of skis, including:

  • Powder skis 
  • All-mountain skis 
  • Big mountain skis 
  • Pipe skis
  • Park skis 
  • Carving skis 
  • Rocker skis
  • Alpine touring skis 
  • Camber skis 
  • Racing skis 
  • System skis
  • Kids skis 
  • Rocker/camber/rocker skis
  • Rocker/camber skis 
  • Cross-country skis 
  • Backcountry skis 
  • Advanced skis

What Should I Wear for My First Time Skiing or Snowboarding?

A helmet 

Having protective headgear when skiing is a good idea. A helmet will protect your head in case of any impact. 

Warm clothes 

Wear layers of warm ski/snowboard-specific clothes. Also, wear a headband, helmet liner, or a hat. 

Goggles 

Wear goggles that are compatible with your helmet. 

Socks 

Socks are among the most underrated attire when skiing and snowboarding. Avoid wearing a very thick pair or more than one pair. This will make your boots tight, leading to limited blood circulation in the feet, making them cold. 

What are the Best Conditions for Skiing or Snowboarding?

The best conditions for skiing or snowboarding are:

Fresh snow

This is the best condition for skiing and snowboarding. A coverage of fresh snow can offer an incredible experience regardless of your skiing or snowboarding skills. A decent sprinkle of fresh snow frequently facilitates better turns and smoother glides through the mountain. Besides, it offers great cushioning in case of a fall. Most skiers tend to be eager to access the mountain and slide through the untouched snow in these conditions. 

Powder 

This is yet another common snow condition in the mountain. It happens when the resort experiences heavy snowfall. The powder’s reduced moisture content and formation can offer you a floating feeling over the snow, making your experience more exciting. Because of grooming, there are fewer chances of finding a lot of powder on the piste. 

All the same, after a heavy snowfall, if you’re gliding on the piste edges or going for a guided off-piste snowboarding adventure, there are high chances of finding glistening powder. As you slide through the thick powder, ensure to focus your weight on the ski’s or board’s back to avoid the tips or nose digging in and causing you to fall. While falling won’t hurt, digging yourself out will be difficult. 

Packed powder

Typically, the packed powder is smoothened and compressed powder, making for an excellent snow base. It is layered on layers of lots of packed powder topping a piste, offering a comfortable skiing experience. It can be impressive for learning on, for the beginners, and practicing new skiing or snowboarding moves. 

When there is plenty of snowfall, resorts usually create a piste featuring packed powder with the piste bashers. This guarantees a great even surface before the winter season. 

Hard-packed or icy pistes 

Icy & hard-packed pistes are somewhat different, though most of the time, you’ll find both conditions on the mountains on the same day. Ice usually is smooth, and you can easily slip. On the other hand, the hard-packed powder can be somewhat slippery but marginally forgiving compared to ice. 

Ice & hard-packed snow is created gradually as the snow water content surges. Ice and hard-packed snow are compacted as a result of frequently riding and skiing, warming up during the day or over several days, and cooling or refreezing into ice and hard-packed snow during the night. 

Should I Bring My Own Equipment When I Go Skiing or Snowboarding?

No, you can rent equipment at the resort, though; you should carry yours when it comes to clothes and other personal equipment. Some of the things you should never leave behind are:

  • Thermal tops and bottoms. 
  • Neck gaiter and face shield for indoor snowboarding and skiing. Most resorts need the riders and skiers to wear a face shield that will cover the nose and mouth. This covering is necessary when accessing restaurants, buildings, and restrooms. 
  • An ear cover or hat – some helmets function as a noggin shield and hat. 
  • A mid-layer. 
  • Goggles. 
  • Waterproof pair of pants. 
  • Ski/snowboard-specific socks or moisture-wicking socks. 
  • An outer waterproof jacket or shell featuring vents – there are snowboard and skiing-specific versions. 
  • Mittens or gloves. 

Nevertheless, you can rent equipment like skis or snowboards at the resort. 

Which Type of Terrain is Best for Beginners?

Typically, it is not recommended for beginners to ski or snowboard in the same terrain as advanced skiers since they do not have the skills to handle it. That being said, pistes are classified by how challenging they are using colors, and the most suitable color pistes for beginners are green and blue.

Green

This is the easiest terrain to ski or snowboard. It features a highly gentle gradient; thus, you will not accelerate too fast. This terrain is where you’ll see a lot of lessons and children since it is perfect for first time snowboarders and skiers. 

Furthermore, these runs are very easy routes that connect to various regions in the mountain. For this reason, they may be narrow paths that’ll get busy during peak seasons. 

Blue 

Upon finding your snow legs, you can head to the blue runs. These runs usually vary in difficulty around different resorts. However, they are typically steeper than the green runs, more challenging, and more fun. 

Whichever terrain you prefer, be sure that you have already prepared and trained for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Which Size Ski/Snowboard Should I Get for My Height and Weight?

As seen above, there are many types of snowboards and skis depending on your riding/skiing style and other factors. Now, we look at finding the right ski/snowboard for your height and weight. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing a snowboard:

  • If you ride in the park most of the time or freestyle, go for a shorter board. Be sure to learn terrain park etiquette tips.
  • If you prefer riding in the mountains, freeriding, or powder, pick a snowboard that’s somewhat longer or select a volume-shifted snowboard. 
  • If you are somewhat heavy, you should go for a longer board.
  • Consider choosing a shorter snowboard within your size range if you’re a beginner.

On the other hand, choosing skis needs different variables, like: 

Reasons to go for shorter skis

  • If you’re a novice or intermediate skier
  • You weigh less than the recommended weight for your height 
  • You like making short, swift turns and rarely ski fast
  • You prefer a carving ski with a camber but no rocker

Reasons to go for longer skis 

  • You like gliding swiftly and aggressively.
  • You weigh more than the recommended weight for your height 
  • You spend most of the time skiing off the trail
  • You prefer a ski with a rocker 
  • You intend to ski in a twin-tip ski

Final Word 

With this information, you’re ready to begin planning your first tour skiing or snowboarding. You know the right equipment to carry, the terrain to ski or snowboard on, and how to choose the right ski or snowboard. 

See you at the resort!

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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