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New to Skiing or Snowboarding? Q&A for First Timers

By Alyssa Erickson Thu Jan 18 2018

New to skiing? Teaching a friend or family member this month? January is a great time to learn to ride and the sunny and warm bluebird days make it a perfect time to introduce your kids to snow sports. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and in line with this, we want to share a few tips and answer a few questions for the first timers!

Question: What is an good age to start skiing? Is my child too young?

As soon as a child is standing and walking on their own, they can be introduced to simple sliding and gliding on skis. We see toddlers out on the Little Cat and adjacent terrain shredding it up all the time!

However, if you are a parent who wants to know the ideal age, I’d personally suggest ages 4-6. At these ages a child is strong and coordinated enough to learn all the basic movements required to ski, such as wedging, turning and getting up on their own. They tend to master the skills quicker than many of the younger children do.

In general, when people ask me when you should learn to ski, I say, "Now!" If you are an adult, it is never too late to learn to ski! The Snow Sports School at Snowbasin is all set up with lessons for all ages and abilities.

Question: What basic gear do I or my children need?

Snowbasin Resort is set to provide you with the actual skis and/or snowboard, boots, helmet, and poles you’ll need for your first time on the hill through their rental shop. But there are some basic clothing items you will need:

  • Waterproof snow pants - You will likely be spending some time down on the ground and in the snow. Make sure your pants are waterproof and are either insulated or you have warm layers underneath.
  • Insulated Jacket - A warm jacket is ideal for your first time on skis and if it is actively snowing, you will also want this layer to be waterproof.
  • Wool or synthetic socks - Ski socks are preferable, however you can easily use any tall sock that comes up to your knee that is wool or synthetic. Try to avoid cotton as it will make your feet cold if they become sweaty.
  • Waterproof mittens or gloves - Make sure you have a warm layer for your hands!
  • Eye Protection - Sun glare off the snow can be damaging for your eyes, so we suggest a pair of sunglasses or goggles. If it is a snowy or windy day, goggles are preferable.

Question: What can I do to prepare for my (or my children’s) first day on skis?

One of the first pieces of advice I give to new skiers or snowboarders is this:

Learning to ski or snowboard starts BEFORE you ever get on the snow.

This is what I mean:

Much of the learning curve involves becoming acquainted with the gear. Before jumping on a magic carpet or the bunny hill, get those boots on and master walking and moving in them. The same goes for the skis.

In fact, if you can, set them up in a carpeted area and learn how to get in and out of your skis, walk around and step in a circle before you ever get on the snow! This will vastly improve the learning curve for your first day on snow and hopefully eliminate much of the frustration that can occur.

We hope these tips help! For more tips on teaching young kids to ski, check out my post, Five Positions for Teaching Your Kids to Ski over on KidProject.org. See you on the slopes!


Alyssa Erickson
I am a wife, mom, rock climber, skier, coffee lover and all around adventure lover with a passion for writing. I have my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado and am the founder of KidProject.org. I live and play near the Wasatch Range, partnering with my husband and teaching my kids to make the most of life and the One who gave it to us.