It’s ski season and if you are just starting out I thought I would share these five ski gear tips I learned from the children’s instructors at Smugglers’ Notch. I hope they help you and your family to feel more comfortable on the slopes. Stay tuned this week for all the stories I have to share about our amazing trip to Vermont and all the fun we had together at one of the most family friendly resorts we have ever been to – Smugglers’ Notch.
We are new to the sport of skiing and on a learning curve as steep as some of the runs we tackled recently at Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont. If you are like us, essentially beginners, or maybe verging on intermediate level skiers now, who only recently realized they love skiing and want to hit the slopes as often as possible to practice this newfound skill, then these five ski tips are for you.
First of all this is part of a Smugglers’ Notch series. We recently enjoyed four days there as media guests and loved taking ski lessons, snowshoeing, riding the Cat Trax Express to the top of Madonna Mountain and many other family friendly activities that make winter enjoyable. More on that soon.
The skilled ski instructors at Smugglers’ Notch helped us each to grow as skiers and one particular instructor there, Martha Gamble, who taught our children at ski university, was exceptional. Really if I could have cloned her and brought her home to teach my younger daughter around the clock I would have. Alas cloning is not yet legal.
Anyways, last year in March we had the opportunity to first set foot on skis at Mont Tremblant in Quebec, and although we fell a lot, we got right back up and realized we actually all really enjoy the sport. So began a love affair with skiing. At Christmas we bought everyone in our immediate family skis, and we thought we were all doing extremely well with our gear. Turns out we needed to gather a few common sense ski gear tips from the pros at Smugglers’ Notch.
Five Ski Gear Tips for Beginners
- Layer – always layer your clothing for skiing and avoid cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and can be abrasive if it gets wet. This is not good. If you get cold from wearing cotton you will not last long outdoors and that’s a waste of your lift ticket and your day.
- Socks – Buy a good pair of ski socks or snowboarding socks. They are crucial. When I first started skiing I was flabbergasted at $20 socks and thought there’s no way on earth I am paying $20 for a pair of socks the kids will lose. I thought I might double up on my socks until my husband warned me that’s a threat to your circulation and will make you miserable on the slopes. So I bought a pair of Under Armour ski socks. What a difference!!! My feet were warm all day. My feet are never warm. When we returned home from Vermont this past month, we invested in good ski socks for the kids. My younger daughter was wearing warm socks but they were cotton and her feet sweat something terrible. That is not good. I love my Under Armour Ski socks because they stay up perfectly and are not too tight and they are warm which is crucial for this Mom who is cold almost all the time. Also NO Patterns. Payton had a pair of cute little socks with polk-a-dots that left little polka-a-dots all over my daughter’s legs after a morning of skiing, and that’s uncomfortable. Ideally you want one colour, no pattern, warm, ski socks. Trust me on this one.
- Do not ever layer your socks. This can lead to compromised circulation and then you are down for the count. No fun. Same can be said of your pants. Consider your size and whether tight leggings might not be right for you. One of my kids can handle her Herley tights on all day. For my other daughter we learned that it’s likely better to buy a looser fitting pant that can fit over the boot. It was also getting too tight and compromising circulation.
- Mitts not gloves. Say what? I always bought gloves and thought mitts were for four-year-olds. Apparently they are for four-year-olds and all skiers. Why? Because your hands stay warmer in mitts. The other fingers inside the mitt keep each other warm, whereas gloves mean each finger is separated and they get cold faster. So now we have mitts too or a least three of us have ski mitts that work.
- Get your boots fitted professionally, at least when you are first starting out. Of course the boots are a bit tricky but we went with a used set for my one daughter and it turned out the fit was not good. She actually still has an ankle that for the better part of a year we thought was arthritic. It still swells up occasionally but she has some physio exercises to help that stay mobile. Anyways, her boots were giving her a lot of pain on the second day. She was almost ready to quit, but then excellent Smuggs ski instructor Martha suggested maybe getting two different sized boots. So that’s what we ended up with and she did a lot better that way.
Of course there’s a lot to know about skiing but if you get the ski gear right to start with then you can focus on the rest with less time on the bench. The initial cost can be quite a lot so look for ski swaps and second hand items or look for places that will sometimes sell you kid’s ski sets with a guarantee that you can sell them back next season in good condition if they outgrow the set. This is how we managed to afford the equipment for my younger daughter. Her brand new skis and boots were $225 all in with tax.
We were guests of Smugglers’ Notch and we had a fantastic time. We learned more than we ever thought we would while also having a great time. My opinion is all my own and it is truthful.