The Basic Mistakes Made By Most Ski Beginners

Posted 15-10-2020 by Sally Guillaume

If you are new to skiing, then every aspect of your on-snow experience can present a challenge. 

 Skiing can often prove to be a difficult sport. Performed in a harsh environment with a large amount of potentially awkward equipment and a technique that can be difficult to grasp; beginner skiers often make mistakes!

 In this article, we analyse the most basic errors first time skiers make. Hopefully with this knowledge, you can avoid making these common mistakes and make your first ski holiday a successful one.

 If you can take our advice and avoid these errors, you’re sure to be flying faster than you think!

 Arriving With Poor Fitness

 If you watch high-level skiers it often seems so effortless and graceful. Sometimes, it can be easy to forget that skiing is a sport!

 Skiing requires a mix of muscular and cardiovascular endurance - as well as co-ordination, agility and strength.  Additionally, skiing uses a whole range of muscle groups that are often not used for any other sport.

 In order to perform at your best on the slopes and help prevent injury, make sure you are following a pre-skiing fitness plan. Most ski fitness regimes involve a mixture of core strength training, agility work and cardio. 

 Arriving with high physical fitness is a sure-fire way to make sure you get the most out of every moment you spend on the snow. 

Getting The Wrong Gear

Preparing for your first ski trip can sometimes feel overwhelming. With a long list of items you need and only a vague idea of how it all works, it’s easy to end up with the wrong clothing and equipment.

If you are choosing ski clothing, make sure you get the appropriate thermal clothing required for the conditions you will face on the slopes.

Once you’re on the mountain, it’s always easier to take a layer off because you’re too warm than find another layer to put on!

Additionally, making sure you get the right skis and boots is another vital part of your ski lesson preparation. If you choose to rent your gear, find a good recommended ski shop who can help you get the best set up for your level.

When getting your ski equipment, the most important part will be your boots. Make sure you listen to the ski shop assistant and get the right fit - or you will be back again at lunch time asking to change your footwear!

Skiing With Fear

Your first time on skis can be a frightening experience. With two slippery planks of wood strapped to your feet and little knowledge of how to control them – it’s common to feel scared of the inevitable crash you might need to endure.

However, skiing with fear is one of the most common issues that can stop new skiers from progressing at the rate they hoped.

When you are scared, it’s much more difficult to absorb and apply the information from your instructor.

Fear can also affect your physical performance; making your muscles tense, which in turn prevents you from achieving a high level of ski technique.

When you approach your ski lesson, it’s important to remain calm and confident – although this may be easier said than done!

Try to focus on applying the technique your instructor is teaching you without fearing the consequences. If you’re not falling over, you might not be trying hard enough!

Not Taking Ski Lessons

With a wealth of ski information now available online, more and more new skiers are trying to learn how to ski without lessons.

‘How to ski’ videos, articles and manuals are a great supplement to any ski progression plan. However, they should not be viewed as a substitute for ski lessons – especially if you’re a beginner!

Learning ski technique from an instructor is vital to your future ski performance. Technique is everything in skiing; if you start with bad habits, they will continue to hold you back in the future.

Self-teaching is a difficult task in skiing, due to the challenge of being unable to recognise your own mistakes. Taking lessons with a good instructor will make sure your learning is on track from the very beginning.

Having a good foundation is everything. Learning the basics of how to stop, slide and turn should be learned with the key focus on achieving a perfect technique from the very beginning.

Not Listening To The Instructor

 If you’re just ‘sliding’ into the ski world for the first time, it’s sure to bring up a mixture of emotions. Fear, excitement, confusion and exhilaration will all be rushing through your brain!

Through this rush of feelings, it’s often difficult to absorb the advice that you’re receiving from your instructor. 

However, maintaining your concentration and keeping your calm will go a long way in helping you progress your ski technique.

Remember, learning from your instructor is the most vital part of progressing your skiing technique. If you keep this in mind and absorb as much information as possible, you’re well on your way to a super ski trip.

Leaning Back Too Much

One of the most common ski beginner mistakes is leaning back too much. In fact, this is a mistake you will frequently see from skiers across all ability levels…not just beginners!

When you start sliding down the slope, it’s natural for your upper body to get left behind as your skis slide out from underneath you. This can be referred to as the ‘banana skin effect’!

If you lean back; you will loose the ability to control your skis as they accelerate. This frequently ends with the skier sat on the floor, wondering where it all went wrong. 

The main focus during your first lesson should be to get your basic ski stance and posture correct - a good foundation for your future skiing. Always aim to keep your weight balanced over the middle of your skis, feeling as if you are leaning forward slightly.

If you can avoid this basic mistake, you may find your first day skiing much easier than anticipated!

Summing Up

Your first ski experiences are always going to be challenging. With so many obstacles to overcome, it’s difficult to prepare for every eventuality.

Getting the basics right is fundamental to a successful first ski experience. If you can avoid the basic beginner ski mistakes on this list, you are already on your way to having a great time on the slopes.


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