By Ambika Rajyagor
Skiing is probably one of the oldest sports in the history of the World, dating back 5 millenia. It’s geographical origins are up for debate between early records in Asia and early skiing artifacts uncovered in Europe, but the modern version of skiing that we know today is linked straight back to historical records from Scandinavia.
The name “Ski” actually came from a Norse word called, “skíð,” meaning split wood, and before it became a two-pole sport for recreation, it was actually a widespread form of transportation for people traveling through the snowy mountains. Most early accounts of skiing reference the use of just one pole to use on the slopes, but as early as 1741, there are depictions of skiers using the two-pole method that we see today.
In any case, as skiing evolved, so did the equipment for it, and needs for the recreational use that we see today. Over the course of 5 millenia, this sport made its own journey into different types of skiing that we now know.
There are 481 Alpine ski resorts in the United States - all of which you can learn how to alpine ski (the most common form of skiing). Every resort will offer a variety of runs with different difficulty levels, and usually have an area for beginners.
A few things to consider when choosing your destination are your budget, mountain difficulty and of course nightlife (when we’re not social distancing). Some resorts also offer on-mountain rental options, a perfect option to test out gear (and not to mention travel a little more lightly).
So, now that we have a basic framework of how to consider your destination, let’s start talking about some of the gear you’re going to need before you get to the lifts!
One big tip, especially if you’re just starting out skiing-- load up on a good meal and be sure to bring snacks that’ll sustain you for the day’s workout. Then, once you’ve been outfitted and have all your gear, it’s time to head to the ski resort. Here you’ll purchase lift tickets that are going to be your pass up the mountain. Now that you have your lift pass and your gear in tow, it’s time to get on the lift! Pro-tip for when you’re in the chair is to keep your phone zipped up and out of your hands-- unless you’re using a Halfdays jacket with a built-in phone leash! The last thing you’re gonna want is to drop your phone off the lift! Make sure your non-attached items are secure elsewhere on your body or on your pack, and that you put the bar down so you don’t accidentally fall!
Once you get to your stop, you’re going to make sure to keep your tips up, and push off the chair as you stand up to unload the lift. This is kind of tricky to do for beginners, so don’t be too mad at yourself if you don’t get it as easily the first time. When you’re off the chair and in the unload zone, you’re ready to get started! A key thing to remember is that just like with any sport-- it’s going to take time and practice to get better and feel more comfortable on the slopes. Most beginners start out with a group of trusted friends who know the sport, or hire an instructor, but if that’s not for you, try doing a couple crash courses on strategy before you head up the first time. The most important thing to keep in mind is safety-- for yourself and the others you’re sharing the slopes with.
But yes! If you’ve made it this far in the article, you should be able to not only carry yourself through a skiing convo like a pro, but you should also be geared up and ready to cruise down those slopes! Good luck out there, and don’t forget to tag us @Halfdays on socials, so we can be in on the adventure!
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