Learning a new sport can be tough on the first day, but don’t be discouraged! It is our goal to make your child’s experience easy and hassle free. Here are a few ideas to help them with their first day on the slopes:
What to Wear
Dress in Layers
Wearing layers keeps your child warmer because it lets them adjust their clothing if the temperature changes as the day goes on. The morning might be chilly while the afternoon sun can make them fry. It’s also a good idea to get them moisture “wicking” clothing to stay dry and comfortable. The “wicking” keeps the sweat away from their body.
Their outermost layer should be wind and water resistant, including their pants. Clothes such as jeans or sweatpants just don’t cut it, and are only going to guarantee they’ll be wet and cold. One pair of quality “wicking” socks will keep their feet nice and warm. More isn’t always better when it comes to feet, so don’t bother with the second pair of socks.
Always Wear Mittens or Gloves
Keep their hands warm, dry, and protected with a good pair of waterproof gloves or mittens. This is a “must have.”
Sure beanies look cool, but consider a helmet. No, not a motorcycle or bike helmet; I’m talking about one specifically made for skiing or snowboarding. With the latest styles, they look just as cool as beanies and they’re safer for their skull. The best helmet is the one that fits. You are confused about how to tell if it fits? Ask the sales person at your local shop, or a rental shop tech, to explain it to you.
If you are worried about your munchkin’s head outgrowing a new helmet every season, check out our helmet rental program. We offer season long helmet rentals for only $25 in a variety of sizes.
Remember—they can lose up to 20% of their body heat through their head. Keep it covered to stay warm.
Wear Sunscreen and Lip Balm
The sun’s rays are less filtered at higher elevations. Snow also reflects sun rays like a giant mirror, making them even more intense. Wind can burn their skin too. It’s tough to explain to their teacher why they’re bright red when they supposedly “spent the day in bed recovering from that nasty flu virus that’s going around.” Protect their skin and you won’t have to think of any excuses!
Goggles and Sunglasses
Remember the last time you walked out of a dark movie theater into the bright sunlight and were temporarily blinded? Since the bright sunlight is reflecting off the snow, there is no “temporarily” in this situation. Get some goggles or sunglasses that will protect your child’s peepers.
But they say “it’s not sunny so I don’t need glasses or goggles.” Ever tried to keep your eyes open while rippin’ down the slopes while it’s snowing? It’s painful and difficult to see. Do them a favor and require them to don the eye protection.
What to Bring
While a grocery list keeps you from having to go to the store more than once, a checklist can keep your child from having to skip their day of skiing or snowboarding. How so you ask? Ever forgotten your swim trunks and not realized it until you went to slip them on at the pool or lake? Same goes for skiing and snowboarding. And trust me, sending your child out snowboarding in only their long underwear doesn’t work well.
Make a checklist of the essential items they need, and check it before leaving the house. Here’s a list of suggestions to get started. Whether or not the Winnie the Pooh Box Set is a necessity for the ride up to the hill is up to you.
- Backpack or gear bag/duffle – Many people keep their ski and snowboard gear in one handy bag and use it every time they head to the mountains.
- Hat – When their head is warm, the rest of them is more likely to stay warm.
- Waterproof Gloves or Mittens – Mittens are warmest.
- Goggles – Optional, but best for snowy days.
- Sunglasses – An absolute must; UV protection is required.
- Water-resistant pants – Wind pants, insulated.
- Warm, dry socks – Bring an extra pair.
- Jacket/parka – Water-resistant is best.
- Extra lightweight sweater or sweatshirt – For layering, if needed. Wool or Dry-weave fabrics are much warmer than cotton.
- Sunscreen – SPF 15 or higher.
- Pocket tissues – Optional, but their nose may run a little.
- Lip Balm – SPF 15 or higher.
- Energy Bar – A little snack to keep them energized.
- Trail Map – Gotta know where ya are and where ya wanna go!!
- ID/wallet/petty cash – Store in a secure, zipper pocket.
- Water – Stay Hydrated! Drink plenty of water before and after their day on the slopes. Maybe pack an extra bottle of water or two in their ski bag or locker.
Understand Their Fitness Level
Your child doesn’t have to be a marathon runner to enjoy snowsports. But it’s important to work within their limits. Easy does it, don’t venture too far from resting places that provide shelter from the elements, and don’t over-do it. More is not always better
No, I’m not talking about a toast with new found friends. Sun, wind, sweat and altitude rob your child’s body of fluids. In fact, it is possible to become dehydrated long before you even feel thirsty. Stop frequently for water or carry it with you. Soda doesn’t replenish their body fluids as well as juice or plain water.
Eat and Sleep Well
Long before the line was used in cereal commercials, nutrition experts knew that breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. Skipping it only leaves your child feeling fatigued and crabby before lunch, which serves only as a source of irritation for you and their friends. If your child’s metabolism is running at the rate of a Formula One Racecar, bring along a snack to refuel mid-morning.
Be sure to get a good night sleep. By doing this, they’ll have plenty of energy to enjoy their day.
Take a Lesson
While you can try to teach your child how to ski or snowboard, a lesson is the key to a great day on the slopes. It allows your child to learn from a pro, and provides you some much needed “me” time. After all, would you trust an amateur plumber to install your new water heater or sewer system? Then why expect your child to learn from an amateur?
A pro instructor will help your child maximize their fun factor. Our learning centers offer one-stop shopping for first time beginners. You can pick up their lift ticket, rentals and lessons at any of our base area rental shops. It’s the most convenient way to go. Visit our lessons page for more information.
We highly recommend parents DO NOT LEAVE The Summit while their children are in lessons.
Be sure you are in the right level. Our Leaning Center Staff will be able to help you decide what lessons are appropriate for your level.
You’ve never skied/snowboarded before.
Skiing: You can hold a wedge and want to work on turning and speed control.
Snowboarding: You can slide in a straight run or slideslip with both feet in. You want to learn to turn and stop.
Skiing: You can make beginning wedge turns in both directions, and want to develop more control and confidence.
Snowboarding: You can make beginning skidded turns and stop in control. You want to build your turning skills on easier (Green) terrain.
A Private Lesson is simply you and the instructor. You can also get semi-private lessons that include a friend or relative with one instructor. Private Lessons can be purchased at a Learning Center Desk or reserved in advance. Ask for a PSIA (skiing) or AASI (snowboarding) certified instructor!
During your lesson: be active, open and eager to learn. Ask questions. Our instructors want you to get the most out of your lesson. Let them know what you want out of this experience.
The key to successful skiing/snowboarding is control. To have it, you must be aware of your technique, the terrain and the skiers/snowboarders around them. Be aware of the snow conditions and how they can change. We can provide all this information in a lesson!
Purchase a Ticket
Lift tickets are included with our First Time Beginner Packages. If you are not purchasing one of these lesson packages, your child will need a lift ticket. You can purchase a lift ticket by visiting our ticket windows located on the plaza at West, Central, or Alpental. You can also buy tickets at the Rental Shop.
Store Their Belongings
If you are carrying extra clothing and gear for your child, you can store their belongings in coin operated lockers. This beats taking a chance on their stuff disappearing with someone else while you are on the slopes having fun.
Never ski or ride in closed areas or outside the mountain boundaries!
- Be courteous in the lift lines. Everyone wants to get to the top just as bad as you do!
- Be conscious of other skiers and riders on the mountain
- Clear the exit area when getting off the chairlift
- Always ride or ski with a buddy
- Look out for marked and unmarked obstacles
- Always be conscious of merging trails, and move to the side of a trail away from other skiers or riders if you stop
- Never leave your equipment unattended
- Terrain Parks are not rated. Be safety conscious and read the guidelines
- Be courteous to those around you and be sure to have a good time!
At first, they can be intimidating contraptions, but you will quickly master them.
Carpet Lifts are a great way to get up the hill. You just stand on the carpet and enjoy the gentle ride, like on a conveyor belt or a moving sidewalk.
Be sure to put your skis/board in the track pointed uphill. Grab a hold of the rope and allow it to pull you up the hill. The key to a successful rope tow ride is keeping your feet underneath you. If you feel your feet jetting forward, quickly pull them back under you like them are doing a sit up or a crunch.
Chairlifts move continuously up the slopes. The high-speed quads cruise up the mountain, but slow down considerately to load/unload skiers/snowboarders. You’ll see 2, 4, and even 6 person high-speed chairs at ski areas.
Here are some tips on riding a chairlift:
- Skiers need to take their pole straps off their wrists. Snowboarders need to attach a leash to their board.
- Outside guests hold their poles with their inside hand. Middle guests hold their poles in either hand.
- Outside guests look over their outside shoulder and grab the chair as it approaches. Middle guests should grab the back of chair as it approaches. Sit down as the chair reaches you.
- Once the chair has left the platform, you may choose to lower the restraining bar (if the chair is so equipped). Do not bounce or swing during the ride. Take care not to drop gloves, poles or litter. Should you lose something, note the number of the next tower for orientation.
- When getting off the chairlift, you will see the sign warning of the unload area approaching. Raise the restraining bar. Raise the tips of your skis so they don’t catch as you approach the platform. As your skis touch the snow, stand up and proceed down the ramp.
- Move quickly away from the chair and keep the unloading area clear.
For more information on chairlift safety, click here.
Trail Marking Symbols & Map
Be sure to check out the lifts and the trails marked on the trail map. The colored symbols next to the trails indicate the difficulty of the trail.
Before you ride a chairlift, make sure the trail symbols off of that lift fit your ability. If you have any questions or need directions, talk to a lift attendant or another resort employee for help.
If you find yourself on a slope that exceeds your ability level, always leave your skis/snowboard on and side step/slip down the slope.
View our trail maps here.
Where Can We Eat Lunch?
Hit any of our conveniently located food and beverage outlets for a quick pick me up or to sit down and relax with some good grub.
Visit the Ski & Snowboard Shop
You’ll find that as your child’s skills improve, their equipment requirements will change. We recommend that you rent their equipment during the first few visits. As their skills improve and they become more confident about the type of gear they need, you may want to consider purchasing a few items.
It’s okay to smile, ask questions, and laugh. It’s all about having fun.