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Ski Tips for Beginners, Nervous Skiers and Families

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These family skiing tips for beginners and will make you long for crisp winter air and snowy mountain slopes. Nervous to hit the slopes? Thankfully, experts from Ski Idaho will put you at ease with their best ski tips for beginners. You’ll be all set to hit the slopes after reading these ski tips for families new to skiing!

Ski tips for beginner families

Ski tips for beginner families (Photo credit: Gorilla, Depositphotos.com)

These ski tips for beginners are brought to you in partnership with Trekaroo, Visit Idaho and Ski Idaho.

1. Sign up for ski lessons and ask for a tour.

All beginner skiers should consider taking lessons. Ski school will teach your family the fundamentals of the sport and get you feeling comfortable on the slopes. Muscle memory is a really important aspect of learning to ski or board, so doing at least two days of lessons can really make things click for your body and your children’s young bodies.

You should also ask for a tour of the ski resort, so you know where important places are located — like the ticket office, rental shop, dining options and bathrooms.

Ski lesson for kids

Ski lesson for kids (Photo credit: Gorilla, Depositphotos.com)

2. Get the right ski gear.

Layers are crucial so that your family members are warm enough when they’re not being super active but can also shed a layer if need be. It’s also important to make sure those layers consist of winter-friendly materials. Avoid cotton, which can get wet or sweaty and make you colder. Synthetic materials and wool-based layers will work better. Also, goggles are a must, no matter the weather.

The right ski gear is a must for skiing

The right ski gear is a must for skiing (Photo credit: Gorilla, Depositphotos.com)

3. Choose the right weather conditions for your first ski experience.

Another key is to make a smart choice about when and where you have your first ski or ride experience. Avoid taking kids out for their first ski adventure in a blizzard or when temperatures are in the single digits. It’s just harder for kids to have fun and focus when they’re uncomfortable.

Choose a bluebird day for your first ski experience

Choose a bluebird day for your first ski experience (Photo credit: serrnovik, Depositphotos.com)

4. Plan an appropriate length of ski trip.

The ideal trip length for a family new to skiing depends on a couple things. Factors include the attention span of the youngest child and the other activities available in the area. A three-day trip (plus travel time) is a good starting point. You can get an introduction to skiing with a lesson on the first day, then maybe experience some other fun mountain activities like snow tubing, hot springs, alpine coasters, and snowmobiling if you have older children. Then go back for a second day of ski lessons to build on what you learned the first day.

Bogus Basin Recreation Area in Idaho

Alpine coaster at Bogus Basin Recreation Area in Idaho (Photo credit: Ski Idaho)

5. Decide whether your family wants to ski or snowboard.

Skiing is generally easier to learn for kids under the age of 6. The strength, motion and balance requirements of skiing just seem to fit their physical development better prior to at that age.

Over this age, most kids can pick up either skiing or snowboarding sport pretty easily, so it really depends on which sport the family wants to adopt together. The new ski technology has leveled the playing field with snowboarding in a lot of ways, making it easier to ride powder and terrain park features than in the past, so it’s really a personal choice.

Snowboarding is a good choice for kids aged 6+

Snowboarding is a good choice for kids aged 6+ (Photo credit: val_th, Depositphotos.com)

6. Plan other winter activities beyond downhill skiing and boarding.

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are very popular and snow biking is also becoming an asked-for activity. Snow tubing is also great for families. Many ski resorts offer ice skating, sleigh rides, and indoor fun like bowling alleys, arcades, and spas.

Horse drawn sleigh ride at an Idaho ski resort

Horse drawn sleigh ride at an Idaho ski resort (Photo credit: Visit Idaho)

7. Choose the right ski resort for your family.

The other thing to look for as a parent is an uncrowded environment. It’s so much easier to relax and learn when other beginners aren’t whizzing by and invading your physical comfort zone. Idaho ski resorts offer lots of skiable acres so there is plenty of room to spread out reducing crowded slopes and parents’ fears of having little ones knocked down.

When choosing a ski resort, consider available off-slope activities for families as well, like arts and craft sessions, snowshoe hikes, movies, game rooms, indoor fun parks, and more.

Uncrowded slopes are easier to manage for beginner skiers

Uncrowded slopes are easier to manage for beginner skiers (Photo credit: Gorilla, Depositphotos.com)

8. Save money on your ski holiday.

Check for specials and promotions and consider traveling on non-holidays. Take advantage of lodging packages, such as staying three or four nights to get another night free. You can find lots of deals like these at Idaho ski resorts. For example, Sun Valley Resort offers a Book By and Save special for a jump on un-crowded slopes and huge savings.

Sun Valley Ski Resort

Sun Valley Ski Resort (Photo from Sun Valley Ski Resort Facebook page)

Also, beginners can ski free at Brundage Mountain Resort. Brundage offers free lift tickets on its beginner chairlift to encourage new people to try the sport.

Brundage Mountain Resort

Brundage Mountain Resort (Photo from Brundage Mountain Facebook page)

In Idaho, fifth graders and sixth graders ski for free (with minimal processing fee) for three days at participating resorts. Also, a family does not need to live in Idaho to take advantage of the Ski Idaho Fifth and Sixth Grade Peak Season Passport Program.

Fifth and sixth graders ski for free in Idaho

Fifth and sixth graders ski for free in Idaho (Photo credit: Ski Idaho)

9. Book your ski trip early.

As soon as you know you want to go, start the booking process! Travelers should plan at least two to three weeks ahead of time if visiting during a holiday period to make sure they have a lot of choices before lodging fills up. There are peak seasons when availability in lodging can be tight so if there is even the slightest chance of going during a holiday or school break time, start making plans!

Book your ski trip early

Book your ski trip early (Photo credit: AllaSerebrina, Depositphotos.com)

Best Idaho Ski Resorts for Families

There are several Idaho ski resorts that cater to families and kids, offering lessons, childcare, family-friendly dining and off slope activities. Schweitzer, Sun Valley, Silver Mountain, Brundage Mountain, Lookout Pass, Grand Targhee and even the smaller, local resorts are very family focused, as these are the places future skiers learn how to ski.

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Silver Mountain Ski Resort

Silver Mountain offers ski and water park packages. After a fun filled day on the slopes, what could be better than enjoying the endless summer at Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark, where it’s always a tropical 84 degrees? Plus, there are hot tubs for parents who want to relax while watching their kids play.

Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark

Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark (Photo credit: Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark)

Grand Targhee Ski Resort

Grand Targhee offers Kids Night Out. You love your kids, but parents need a break, too! Grand Targhee Resort’s licensed childcare center is the perfect place for children ages 2 to 12  years of age who need some afterhours care while parents enjoy an evening out. Care providers keep children entertained with dinner, star gazing, crafts, and other fun activities. Grand Targhee also has a special slope-side area for kids, the Kids Fun Zone. Located off of the Shoshone Lift, this terrain is dedicated to families, first time skiers or riders, lessons, and children.

Kids Fun Zone at Grand Targhee ski resor

Kids Fun Zone at Grand Targhee ski resort (Photo credit: Grand Targhee)

Learn More Ski Vacation Tips

For more ski tips for beginners, check out #ReadytoSki on Trekaroo.com.

California is better known for surfing, but it’s a great place for skiing, too. Take a look at these tips for visiting North Star Ski Resort in Tahoe with kids.

For Canadian ski opportunities for families, take a look at why to ski Lake Louise near Banff with kids and learn what it’s like to ski the famous Whistler Ski Resort with kids.

Best Ski Tips for Beginners

Save this List of the Best Ski Tips for Beginners

For future reference, be sure to save these ski tips for new skiers. Just pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

What do you think of this list of the best ski tips for beginners? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Great tips. I have never taken my family skiing and am quite afraid. Very helpful info. 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Glad to hear it, Katie! I hope you’ll take the family ski trip leap – I bet you’re kids will love it!

  2. I’m definitely a nervous skier, but hope to change that this year!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Me too, Tamara, on both accounts! Maybe we’ll see each other on the slopes this year?!

  3. I’m a beginner so this post was very helpful! I can’t wait to try it for the first time!

  4. These are great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Julie Henning says

    I think often people overlook Idaho as a ski destination – it’s such a beautiful experience and the people are genuinely nice. If you go to Sun Valley, you can find Ernest Hemmingway’s grave. Even in six feet of snow. 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      So true. I will definitely think of Idaho for a future ski vacation now that I’ve learned about all they offer. Plus, Ernest Hemmingway’s grave…who knew?!

  6. Vermont has a similar passbook program for 5th graders allowing them to ski for free.

  7. fantastic tips! thanks for the great post

  8. I haven’t been skiing in a long time. This has reignited my passion that’s for sure!

  9. Sandra Foyt says

    Now that my oldest is at college it’s not easy to get the family together, that’s why ski vacations are so awesome. Can’t wait till our next family ski getaway!

  10. I’m learning to ski, so I’m very nervous still. Good post!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Jpata – Once you get out on those gorgeous slopes with an instructor, everything will come into place. Enjoy!

  11. Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) says

    I’ve been skiing a few times and, honestly, it’s not my favorite thing to do. I just don’t feel very confident on skis! However, if it means getting to return to Idaho, I’d give skiing another go!

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