I've never been skiing a day in my life, until a few days ago. That's what makes this a beginner's guide to skiing. I'm going to start slow and show you the things that long-time skiers forget to tell you. They've become used to it, they don't notice it anymore, or they just don't even think about it.

I'm a beginner.

Here's what you need to know about skiing before you go..

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It's Better From the Top

As gorgeous as the view is from the lodge, it's even better at the top! As a beginner, you may think it's impossible to ever get up there. It looks like a long way back down, and how would you even get on the lift anyway? I'm here to help you with that part. I've spent the last few days getting on and falling off lifts, so I know all the things NOT to do.

To help you along, I've included some views from the top to enjoy as you learn!

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See that dome shaped thing on the left? That's a ski lift. Some of them are triangular, some of them look like little buildings, but they will all have a series of little chairs suspended on cables coming and going from them. Not all lifts are operational at the same time, depending on the snow conditions, but if the chairs are moving, the lift is open!

Go ahead and queue up in the line. Sometimes there is a slight incline to get to the top of the line. If that's the case, duck walk up the hill (You can find duck walking instructions here).

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Once you are at the front of the line, look for either a gate or a sign which will tell you where to wait for the next chair. Don't worry - you won't have to wait long. Most lifts hold 2 - 4 people, so you can go with a friend to make it easier. There are 2 types of lifts - those with conveyor belts to help you on (perfect for beginners), and those without.

  • If your lift has a conveyor belt, it likely also has a gate. Put just a little of your body weight against the gate, and when it opens, you will automatically slide forward into the perfect position on the conveyor belt. Careful, you can lose your balance if you aren't ready. Try bending your knees to help maintain a steady stance.

  • If your lift does not have a conveyor belt, duck walk or slide forward until you reach the indicated place for loading.

Next - grasp both your poles in one hand and turn to look behind you, facing toward your free hand. You'll see the chair coming toward you. Using your free hand to steady yourself, sit down into the chair as it comes to your bum. Your feet may slide along the snow for a moment, but that's ok.

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Good job! You made it onto the lift! Reach above your head and pull down on the metal bar. It's similar to the bars on carnival rides - it just helps make sure you won't fall out. For longer lifts, there is even a foot rest attached to the lap bar that you can use to rest your skis on while you ride. Hang onto your poles, relax, and enjoy the incredible scenery unfolding around you.

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This next part can be tricky. Don't say I didn't warn you. It's mainly tricky just the first time though, because you don't really know what to expect at the end of the lift. Each one is slightly different, but you are usually going to be dropped off at the TOP of a little hill. This is to ensure that you can quickly clear the drop-off zone for the skiiers in the lift behind you.

PRO TIP: If you are riding with a partner, determine in advance if you need to exit to the left or the right as you leave the lift.

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As the end of the lift gets closer, push the lap bar back above your head. Grasp both poles in one hand again, and scoot your bum just a little closer to the edge of the seat. The lift will slow down just a touch as you enter the drop-off zone. As it does so, reach your skis toward the snow. The lift will still be moving, so it will feel quite strange, but you want your skis to make contact with snow before you get off the chair.

As soon as your skis are on the ground and parallel to one another, stand up, bend your knees, and slide forward in the predetermined direction. Remember - the lift does not stop to let you off. As soon as you can, get control of your speed and direction. If that means you need to stop completely for a minute - go right ahead. Just make sure you are out of the drop-off zone for the next chair.

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You might fall - I know I did several times! If you do, it's ok. There are lift operators at both ends who are paying attention. If you are in danger, or if your position is putting someone else in danger, the operator is trained to stop the lift immediately until everyone is in a safe position again. Skiers are used to this, so don't feel rushed. Take your time, get your skis under you, and get right back up.

You've got a lot of beautiful views ahead of you, so be sure to relax and enjoy them! Stay tuned to learn more about techniques to help you get back up when you've fallen. I practiced extra just for you!

Happy Travels!

Jennifer

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Did you miss Day 1? Find it here: It's Snowy Up There!

Did you miss Day 2? Find it here: Take the Lesson

Did you miss Day 3? Find it here: How Not to Freeze to Death

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