Expert tips for first time skiers

Jackson, Wyoming, offers world-class skiing and riding at JHMR, Grand Targhee or Snow King. If you’re new to skiing, Jackson is a great place to learn how to ski, with ample beginner terrain on and expert instructors. However, make sure you’re in-the-know before you go with these 14 tips for first-time skiers and snowboarders.

1. Snag a Season Pass

If you’re going to be hitting the slopes for more than just a couple of days, it might be more cost-effective to snag a season pass to one of Jackson’s nearby resorts. There’s a lot of season pass deals happening at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort this winter, so be sure to do your homework before you arrive.

2. Catch a Lodging Deal

Skiing and snowboarding isn’t the most budget-friendly sport. However, you can take advantage of amazing winter lodging deals at Spring Creek Ranch . We offer an array of deals, including a third night free for season pass holders and over MLK Weekend. Book with Spring Creek Ranch today and save big on your big skiing adventure!

3. Pack Perfectly

Hit the slopes prepared this season with a few essential items. One of the biggest tips for first-time skiers is to make sure to pack a small day bag, which you can store in the rental shop lockers. Skiing and snowboarding in the mountains require a ton of energy (and water) so be prepared by bringing the following items:

  • A few snacks – we prefer trail mix, and peanut butter/honey tortillas but anything to refuel you will do.
  • Extra layers like a neck gaiter, glove liners, and a fleece layer.
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Sunscreen

4. Dress in Layers

The best way to stay cozy on the slopes is to dress in layers. Layers help you mix and match to remain warm, but not too hot, throughout the day. If you have your own outdoor clothing you can combine layers to create a ski outfit that suits you. We recommend wearing the following on your first ski adventure:

  • Long underwear tops and bottoms
  • A fleece layer (for very cold days)
  • A puffy layer (can be down or synthetic)
  • A waterproof outer layer
  • Waterproof pants
  • Waterproof gloves or mittens (liners recommended for cold days)

Don’t have ski clothes? No worries! You can still learn how to ski and snowboard by renting your clothing through Kit Lender.

5. Rent Your Equipment

You’ll need additional equipment to learn how to ski at Jackson Hole. Of course, you’ll need skis, poles, and boots, but you’ll also want to rent goggles and a helmet too. We recommend renting through Ski Butlers since they will deliver your equipment directly to your room. Be sure to let the rental company know you’re a new skier and rider. That way you’ll get the best gear set custom to your abilities.

6. Protect Yourself from the Sun

If you haven’t spent much time in the snow, you’ll quickly learn that snow-covered slopes are like a giant reflecting mirror. In fact, it’s common to get sunburnt underneath your chin and even in your nose (ouch) on bluebird days. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing ski goggles and plenty of sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply under your chin and nose!

7. Stretch it Out

We understand the excitement of finally getting your lift ticket and wanting to shred up the mountainside. However, one of the best tips for new skiers and snowboarders is to stretch. Start by stretching out your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hips. Next, don’t forget to stretch out your shoulders, pecs, and upper arms. Once you’re stretched and loose, it’s time to hit the pow!

8. Take a Lesson

As a newbie skier, it’s best to learn from the pros. Skiing and snowboarding require proper technique and when you’re first learning, it’s easy to get frustrated. Ski and snowboard lessons from a seasoned pro are a great way to learn how to ski properly. You’ll not only get top-notch instruction, but ski instructors will ensure that you stay safe on the best ski terrain for beginners. You’ll get plenty of pointers and jump-start your skiing career with a lesson from a pro.

9. Practice Makes Permanent

Now that you’ve had a lesson or two, it’s time to practice. The best tip for beginner skiers is to simply get out there and practice. Remember, you’re learning something new. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try new things. After a lesson or two, keep getting out on the easier green runs and practice your new skills.

10. Bring a Buddy

Don’t learn alone, enlist a friend or a partner to go skiing with you. Even if your friend is a more advanced skier, it’s still a lot of fun to hit the slopes with a buddy. Opt to learn together so you can practice your technique. Alternatively, you can get pointers from more seasoned friends. Either way, you’ll have plenty of smiles on the slopes. Plus, going skiing with a friend just makes apres skiing in Jackson that much sweeter.

11. Be Patient

Skiing and snowboarding, in particular, can have a steep learning curve. As a newbie snowboarder, expect to spend a lot of time sitting on your bum. Skiers may find they have trouble moving to steeper slopes. Don’t forget that you’re learning something new! It takes several tries to really get the hang of skiing or snowboarding. You may even need a few separate trips. But don’t let that discourage you from trying. Remember to have fun and enjoy the beautiful Jackson Hole scenery.

12. Know Your Right of Way

Beginners and expert skiers and snowboarders alike must follow right of way rules. When it comes to navigating a trail merge, the uphill trail always has the right of way. Look uphill before merging. Also, people ahead of you have the right of way, regardless of speed. Always take care to avoid those in front of you.

Don’t stop in the middle of the run or just below a steeper section where people can’t see you from above. Lastly, follow all signage, warnings, and closed terrain. The ski resort takes your safety seriously, so always follow the rules to avoid any unwanted accidents.

12. Take Rest Days

Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding. You’ll be sore in places you never thought existed. Schedule in a rest day and get an exclusive spa treatment to relieve your achy muscles. Let our world-class massage specialists rejuvenate your body after a big day on the slopes and relax at our Wilderness Adventure Spa to rewind and reset your soul.

13. Keep it Fun!

At the end of the day, keep skiing and riding fun. Gliding down phenomenal ski terrain is an exhilarating experience. Always respect fellow skiers and riders and don’t forget to keep on smiling. It’s supposed to be a fun sport after all!

So what are you waiting for? Learn how to ski with Spring Creek Ranch and Jackson Hole this season!

Expert tips for first time skiers

You’ve booked your first family ski trip… now what? So much preparation goes into the ski experience that it can seem downright intimidating, especially for beginners. That’s why we’ve rounded up several tips, with advice from start (what to pack for a ski vacation) to finish (actually getting out on the slopes).

Expert tips for first time skiers

What To Pack For A Ski Vacation

  • Skin-tight, thermal underwear/layers, such as Under Armor shirts and pants
  • Ankle socks and thick knee socks, also known as ski socks
  • Toe warmers
  • Turtlenecks
  • Waterproof ski pants (preferably with suspenders)
  • Gloves and mittens
  • Ski goggles
  • Face mask that covers your entire face except for your eyes (which will be covered by ski goggles)
  • Head warmer to wear under helmet—covers your entire head, as well as cheeks, ears and neck
  • Walkie Talkies to communicate with family members on the mountain (cell reception can be scarce on the slopes)


Expert tips for first time skiers

What to Rent at the Resort

  • Skis – A staff member will fit you according to your height and your skill level.
  • Snowboards – Again, a staff member will match you up with a snowboard that is best for your size.
  • Boots – Be sure to try them on with both your ankle socks and ski socks on to ensure they fit.
  • Poles – Beginners don’t need ski poles right away—it’s easier to navigate the powder without them (and when you’re ready, you can go back and rent a pair later in the day or the trip).
  • Helmets – Your teens will say they’re not the most fashionable ski wear, but you really can’t hit the slopes without helmets.

Expert tips for first time skiers

What to Do Before Hitting the Slopes

1. Go to the locker room. Locate the locker room to store belongings while on the mountain. You can also store your gear in the locker overnight if you plan to stay at a resort lodge (it’s much easier than lugging everything back and forth). Lockers are typically coin-operated and a change machine should be located nearby.

Expert tips for first time skiers

Skiing is one of those sports that you just want to continuously get better at. After all, with the X games and the mad skills that those athletes perform, who wouldn’t want to be on that level? But is it possible to up your game even if you are an advanced skier?

The truth of the matter is you can. You don’t have to settle for the level that you are at, you can strive to do better, and with a little practice find yourself upping your game. So how do you become better at skiing?

First Things First

First, you have to know where you’re at and you have to have a clear goal of where you want to be. The best way to become better is by making very clear and narrow goals. When your goals are narrow, there are easier to achieve. If you happen to be too general or too broad with your goals, you’ll find that you won’t be able to focus on problems.

In order to narrow down what it is that you want to work on, it’s best to get an instructor. An instructor can help you get better little by little and really hone in on the things that you want to work on. With a good instructor you’ll have a clear-cut route to achieving your goals in the least amount of time.

Jazz Things Up a Bit

One thing about skiing is that the mountain is always unpredictable. Even if you’re confident on one slope and run it a thousand times, each snow season brings new challenges. That is why you should never underestimate the importance of a beginner or easier slope. Going down a beginner’s slope will help you to get back to basics and ensure that you are in proper form before taking on a more difficult slope.

Because each season is new and different, your skills on the offseason may have gotten a bit rusty. So it’s always important to mix things up when you can. Going back to basics is a great way to ensure that you are performing your best and redefining your limits.

Accept Change

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or early-season pro, there will come a time when you are skiing and you slip into bad habits. For humans, it is very difficult and often times we are reluctant to change things up. We like the familiar; however, if you want to get better and be more efficient you have to step out of your comfort zone.

Being an advanced skier puts you at a disadvantage because you have already established your habits in the way that you ski. But if you want to get better you have to have a beginner’s mindset and try new things that may feel uncomfortable at first. But by stepping out of your comfort zone, you may realize that you have a knack for a skill you wouldn’t have known that you had if you hadn’t tried it.

Take on the Whole Mountain

If you really want to broaden your horizons as a skier you need to be able to cope with all situations that arise on the mountain. You can’t call yourself an expert and only perform on certain parts of the slope.

By taking on the bumps that may seem scary, or the piste that runs smooth, taking on every terrain of the mountain will up your game and make you a better skier.

Consistency is Key

Ever notice how the pros aren’t affected by snow change, pitch changes, light changes, or worse, key malfunctions? That is because they have trained their bodies and worked at being consistent with their moves so that nothing can derail their progress. They have worked hard and ingrained each movement so that no matter what they’re faced with on the mountain they can overcome it.

It all boils down to consistency. If you happen to hit a slope that you find a bit difficult, ski it and assess how you feel once you reach the bottom. Examining and analyzing your moves and the mountain will help you to become a better skier in general. Once you’ve figured out your weakness, run the slope again while keeping in mind where you went wrong the last time and try to correct yourself.

Video is a Great Tool

Ever wonder why a lot of athletes and teams videotape their games? It is so that they can see their inconsistencies and where they have gone wrong to make improvements. This can also be done when you’re hitting the slopes. It’s not difficult to grab a buddy and have them record you so that you can get a clear image of your form.

The ability to analyze the video and see what you are doing will help you to become a better skier and better athlete. Video also helps point out bad habits that you’ve picked up that need to be corrected to up your game. One of the first steps to becoming better is to understand where you are as far as skill level compared to where you think you are. Once you see yourself first hand you’ll be able to adjust accordingly.

The Ultimate Motivation

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “big fish in a little pond.” Basically what it means is that if you are a better skier than your friends, then you have reached the peak and will find it difficult to up your game. Where you want to be is a little fish in the big pond. In order to take your game a step up and become the skier that you want, you have to surround yourself with skiers that are better than you.

Not only will you find the motivation to become better by finding people who are better than you, but you will also find mentors to help you move up your path to becoming great. Plus, if you reach a challenge that you are scared of it definitely helps to see other people go through it first to get the reassurance that you can do it too.

Final Thoughts

No matter how advanced you think you are, there is always room for improvement, even if you just hit the mountain and start mimicking skiers who are better than you. You really don’t know what you can learn unless you try. So, just remember to keep in mind a beginner’s attitude and never stop learning.

Expert tips for first time skiers

If you are a first time skier, don’t expect to master the double black diamond course the first time you try skiing. But, you don’t have to only ski on the bunny hill either. Here are 10 tips that might just help you when you are hitting the slopes.

Keep trying

Although this sounds corny, most people start skiing and seem really enthusiastic about it, but then quit when they make a mistake or fall. The best thing to do to avoid this is to just keep trying. You could also hire a ski instructor to teach you how to ski the right way and stay enthusiastic.

2. Buy or rent ski gear

As many of you know, after buying skis, lift tickets, goggles, and ski clothes, the prices can add up. But don’t get skimpy on what you buy. A nice set of goggles and ski clothes can set you up for life. Also don’t borrow other people’s ski’s as most skis are specifically tailored to a person’s needs. If you want to keep prices low or don’t plan on going to often most ski resorts offer rentals where you can rent out gear.

3. Don’t buy cotton ski clothes

Many first time skiers will throw on their cotton jacket and cotton gloves and hat. Cotton absorbs water and this is one thing to stay away from if you plan on staying warm. Because of the moisture in your coat, you will be freezing and will make you feel like you are carrying 10 extra pounds. A good way to avoid this is to buy nylon clothes. Nylon doesn’t absorb water and will keep you warm.

4. Get a partner

This one seems obvious, but always partner up with a buddy. If you get lost on the mountain you will most likely find your way out with a buddy. Most beginner skiers would go up to the most advanced person they know, but this is not always a good choice. You pair up with somebody that has equal experience as you because they may push you to try terrain you aren’t ready for yet.

5. Getting off the chairlift quickly

This tip is about getting off the chairlift. It is very important to get off the chairlift at the same time as your group. If not, you will be behind and it may take a while to catch up. A good tip to get off the chairlift is to stand up first and then get off the chairlift so you don’t fall behind.

6. Follow the ski colors

Most first time skiers will go off course and then get stuck with more advanced skiers doing backflips. An rule of thumb to avoid this is to look at the markings on the trees. Green circles are for beginners, blue squares are for intermediate skiers and black and double black diamonds are for the most advanced skiers.

7. Stop where other skiers can see you

Many people stop and take a rest half way through the course and if you are not clearly seen you may get ran over and be hospitalized. Something to do to avoid this is to wave or signal when you are stopping. Also go to the side when you are stopped as to not interfere with anyone else that is skiing.


Maps are very critical when skiing because many get lost and can’t find their way back. Take a map and locate the ski lodge with a pencil in case you get lost. If your friend gets hurt you can mark the spot where he/she is with a pencil and keep skiing down the mountain until you see a person that works there to send help.

9. Ski after a snowstorm

The best day to ski is 2 to 3 days after a snowstorm. I say this because there is plenty of snow but not too much that a beginner will be overwhelmed. Also, to get the best skiing experience, don’t go after it rains because there will be lots of ice and it may be slippery.

10. No coffee or hot chocolate before a ski day

Most people would go straight to coffee or hot chocolate before a big ski day, but this is actually really bad for you. When you are skiing you lose a lot of water from your breath and sweat. Coffee and hot chocolate dehydrate you even more, so don’t forget to drink lots of water before going out to ski.

Follow these 10 steps and you will be on the black diamond course in no time.

One of the best activities you do in Winter is to go skiing! There’s something about whizzing through the snowy slopes beside stunning views of the Italian Alps . But if you’ve never gone skiing before, we can imagine how daunting it is. Many first-time skiers are scared to make a fool of themselves – and we can’t blame them. Perhaps, it’s the thought of tripping over your feet or just being completely confused about what to do. But do keep in mind, anyone who starts something new will always feel intimidated! So, you’re definitely not the only one feeling a little unsure. But good news, we, Albergo Miramonti , have compiled a few useful tips and tricks to help ease your nerves a little. So without further ado, let’s begin with our first top tip:

It’s incredibly tempting to buy the latest, shiny equipment when you’re starting a new sport – new helmet, new goggles, new everything! But we advise that you put that credit card back in your pocket and consider renting instead, especially if you are going to your first skiing holiday. If you intend to purchase brand new gear, you will run the risk of getting inappropriate and incorrectly-sized equipment, and you will end up wasting your money. Remember, this is your first time skiing, so treat it as a ‘trial’ before fully committing to the sport. At the end of the trip, you might discover that skiing is really not for you, and you will be stuck with expensive gear that will never be used again.

Expert tips for first time skiers

Expert tips for first time skiers

You don’t want to spend a lot of money, arrive at the ski resort and realise that you don’t want to drag yourself out of bed! You may think that basic skiing moves aren’t physically demanding, however, if you’re doing it for several hours a day, and continuing it over a week – you will find yourself increasingly exhausted. Therefore, being in shape can significantly benefit your ability to learn skiing; it will equip you with better stamina, strength and mental preparedness. So if you do decide to get in shape, we recommend you do some cardiovascular exercises, as well as some yoga stretches to get you to increase both flexibility and endurance. Why not have a read of The 5 Best Yoga Poses for Skiers ?

Expert tips for first time skiers

The number one culprit to why first-time skiers feel intimidated is that they don’t know anything about it. What’s the right position? How do you make this move? Am I doing this right? – These are some common questions that one might ask themselves. To truly feel a little bit more confident, you should try and do some research about the sport, before you go ahead and do it yourself. This could be searching for ‘How-To’ videos, reading guides and articles – literally anything you can find on the internet. If you know anyone who’s a ski enthusiast, then it’s also worth asking them. While you’re conducting your research, why not have a look at the Best Ski Destinations in Lombardy ? Personally, one of our favourites is the Aprica ski resort, which is less than 20-minutes drive from our Alpine Hotel .

Expert tips for first time skiers

When in doubt, you can always take professional lessons from expert skiers. This is the safest way you can learn how to ski – and definitely way better than just being taught by family or friends. You can take group lessons, or if you have some extra cash, you can also take private lessons. Either way, you will learn the correct techniques and gain the foundations to ace the sport truly. When you get to the ski resort, there is definitely a few ski schools you can attend to.

Why not stay at  Albergo Miramonti ? We are located within the Alps, with a Hotel Spa , relaxing Cigar Lounge and an Italian Restaurant that serves local Valtellina Cuisine .

For more articles about the Italian Alps and Northern Italy , read our blog:

As with most sports, learning to ski is a continuum, and you never stop developing your technique (or having fun). The skiing tips here will help you get started on the ski slopes if you're a beginner, help you build confidence and develop technique if you're an intermediate skier or help you get the most from your skiing and take it to another level if you're already an expert. There are also some tips for getting ready to take your kids to the slopes.

Skiing Tips for Beginners

A beginner-level skier may be someone who's trying out skiing for the first time or anyone who's been skiing many times but still feels most comfortable on "green" beginner runs. The following tips will help beginners learn the basics and start developing essential techniques. If you're just getting started, you'll begin by learning the gliding wedge, also called the snow plow. This is a turning technique that keeps you balanced and controls your speed at all times.

Intermediate Skiing Tips

An intermediate skier is comfortable on "blue," or intermediate, runs. He or she steers and controls speed by making standard (parallel) turns, not by slow plowing (gliding wedge) and can effectively stop on steep slopes. Intermediate-level skiing is all about developing technique and building confidence on a variety of terrain. The more runs you can navigate, the more you'll advance. But most importantly, you must try new slopes safely. Learning the basics of challenging terrain, such as tree-skiing, and difficult conditions, like ice and very hard snow, can help prepare you for moving ahead.

Expert Skiing Tips

An expert skier is comfortable on all types of ski-resort runs but may want to develop specific skills, such as handling spring crud or to venture into the unknown challenges of off-piste terrain. Of course, the best way to take your skiing to the next level is to commit to it full-time and live at the mountain as a ski bum.

Tips for Taking Kids Skiing

Kids are more natural skiers than most adults starting out, and they tend to pick it up more quickly. But it's important to keep kids of all ages on appropriate terrain for their skills. Learning to ski is all about controlling speed; if they're able to slow down and stop — by themselves — whenever they need to, they're on the right slope.

Not everyone has skied before, and if you’ve never been on a ski holiday before it can be daunting to know where to start. But with the right motivation and determination, anyone can learn the required skills to ski or snowboard. The concept of trying to grasp a new sport may be overwhelming at first, but if you get the finer details sorted, you’ll be ready and confident to hit the slopes (the nursery slopes, that is!). If you’re a first time skier, listen up!

Top Tips for First Timers

Get the right clothing

Nothing ruins a good ski more than being uncomfortable or cold.

It’s important that you choose what to wear carefully, always choose a ski/snowboard outfit with warmth in mind. Take some old fleeces and jumpers, trying to avoid cotton or jean fabrics as you’ll find they absorb water and will end up very wet.

Wearing thermals next to your skin and a nylon windbreaker on top of all your layers is highly recommended for a more comfortable experience. Special ski gloves, ski goggles, and a hat or helmet should be worn for protection.

An important tip if you’re a first timer, don’t buy – borrow! It will save you loads of money.

Get fit

Learning to ski/snowboard involves a lot of mental and physical fitness. Your leg muscles need to be up for the job as your quads and glutes will be doing most of the work. Train your legs with exercises such as lunges, squats, step ups, and cycling. You’ll need to be able to pick yourself up off the floor numerous times (it’s normal) – so be prepared and the experience will be much more enjoyable if you’re a first time skier!

Top Tip for a first timer skier: Take a look at this handy information guide from the Telegraph which shows you what exercises are best and how to do them.

Take a practice round

It is down to your preference, but if you’ve never step foot on a slope before, it would be worthwhile visiting one of the UK’s indoor real snow centres. You’ll have the opportunity to practice being on a slope, your turns and stopping!

This will save you a lot of time on your holiday and you will be able to have more fun as a first time skier. You could even book a few lessons with teachers and experts at the indoor snow centres if you’d like to get a head start.

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Don’t slack getting travel insurance

Although unlikely, accidents do happen. So, it’s important to have travel insurance before you go on holiday. Make sure that the insurance covers winter sports. You can get cover for around £10 for a 10 day trip

Top tip: Find the best price for your travel insurance at Money Supermarket which compares the deals across the market.

Protect your skin

Snow reflects the sun. So strangely enough, there is a good chance you’ll get sunburnt on the slopes, especially when you’re at altitude meaning more UV rays will reach your skin. Make sure you are covered and all exposed skin should be coated in SPF cream, which will also add a protective layer on the skin from the wind.

Top tip: It’s important that you take a lip balm with SPF which you need to constantly apply throughout the day. It’s very easy for your lips to become burnt which could lead to blistering and swelling. It also increases your risk of getting skin cancer.

Bring your lunch

Packing your own food for each ski day can save you lots of money! Make a sandwich, bring a packet of crisps, a cereal bar maybe, and a drink – you can carry it in a rucksack to eat at a picnic bench on the mountain, or store it in the base lodge.

Stay on top of the snow forecast

It’s handy to keep up to date with the snow reports and you can do this using your Smartphone. There’s an app called “On the Snow – Ski & Snow Report’ which brings you all the information you need to know.

  • For piste maps in your pocket, download the individual resort app for example. Tignes App
  • For weather resorts across the Alps – Snow Forecast tells you a week long forecast and you can change the resort and altitude.
  • Avalanche Safety – White Risk App

For more information on avalanche safety, check out Henry’s page with tips, tricks and advise. These can be downloaded off the App Store for both Apple and Android phones for free.
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And most importantly…

Ski holidays don’t have to be just about the sport. They are a time to have fun and spend time with your family, friends, children, or other half.

You’ll experience what it’s like to be part of a resort and get to enjoy all the extras that come with it. Such as:

  • Ice skating
  • Swimming pools
  • Spas
  • Cinemas
  • Walking and snowshoeing
  • Shopping
  • Dog sledding and sledging

You’ll meet new people and you can get involved in the après-ski, which is the time for socialising after skiing which takes place in the bars and restaurants around the resorts.

Everyone is a first time skier at some point and everyone gets nervous about their first time skiing. You will fall, and it might hurt. But get back up and keep going!

Visit to find the perfect hand-picked accommodation for your ski holiday. Whether you’re looking for a weekend break with your partner, a fun getaway with friends, or an action packed family holiday, you will find all the information you could possibly need to select your ideal accommodation for the holiday of a lifetime.

Guest blog post by Beth Meakin at Ski Apartments.

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Is this the year you're going to learn how to ski? To be sure it's fun from your first run, you'll want to brush up on some how-to-ski basics before hitting the bunny slope. For tips on how to avoid common newbie mistakes, we turned to Shannon Bahrke, a three-time U.S. Olympian and two-time Olympic freestyle medalist, who—as the ski ambassador to The St. Regis Deer Valley located in Deer Valley, Utah—hits the slopes with guests on the very mountain where she won her Silver medal.

Take her advice on how to ski, and it'll be downhill from here—in the best sense possible. (Also read how one writer learned to ski as an adult, and tips she has for other beginner skiers.)

What to Wear Skiing

Don't: Dress cool

"Beginners always under-dress," says Bahrke. "They think ‘I'll be out in the sun, so I'll be fine'—and then they're freezing and miserable." The cold, hard truth: Novices use much more energy than experienced skiers (all that tumbling down and getting up is work!), so they get sweaty and then catch a chill waiting in lift lines and sitting on the chairlift.

Do: Pile on the layers

Start with a tight base layer top and bottom in merino wool or polyester, which will hold in warmth and wick away moisture. A regular cotton T-shirt is a no-no. "Cotton doesn't wick, isn't warm, and will stay wet forever," says Bahrke. (Try one of these base-layer sets  and other cute and functional ski gear that's cute enough to wear to aprés.)

Over your base top, wear a looser layer-a sweater, a turtleneck, shirt, or vest-that allows air to flow in and out. Consider a zippered garment, which will keep you from sweating too much.

If you don't have an insulated jacket, wear another thin layer under it—if you're too warm you can always take it off. Heed the cotton caution for pants, as well. That means saving your jeans for après-ski and wearing shells (nylon waterproof pants) or—even better—investing in ski pants, which offer padding and insulation to keep you dry, warm, and bruise-free. (Here are some more tips on what to wear skiing and during other winter activities.)

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

Don't: Run low on fluids

"Most people who go skiing don't live at that altitude," says Bahrke. But skiing at high elevations, where cold air tends to be very dry and oxygen levels reduced, increases the amount of fluid you lose through breathing. Couple that with the fact that beginner skiers tend to sweat a lot, and it's easy to see why dehydration—which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue—is so common.

Do: Wet your whistle

"Our trainers always advised us to drink a liter of water every two hours we were outside," says Bahrke. "That's a ton of water, but a good rule of thumb is to have two glasses every time you put something in your mouth." If you're on the slopes for longer than an hour, rehydrating with a sports drink is recommended. Bahrke loves Gatorade G2 Low Calorie Thirst Quencher ($9 for 18,, which has the same amount of electrolytes as the original Gatorade, but only 20 calories per eight-ounce serving. (Here's a complete guide to sports drinks so you can pick the best one for you.)

Stretch it Out Before You Hit the Slopes

Don't: Start out stiff

Between getting suited up and waiting for the chairlift, it can be easy to forget that skiing is a workout—and you should prep your body the same way your would for a run or HIIT class. The more flexible you are, the more you'll boost your performance and decrease your risk of injury. (Prepare to be a little sore—and these other things everyone experiences after a ski day.)

Do: Warm up pre-skiing with active stretching

"Don't just bend over and touch your toes," says Bahrke. "You want to move while doing something," says Bahrke, who suggests walking lunges to stretch your hips and hamstrings. If you have time, you can even do a proper workout warm-up. And, prep ahead of time by doing these workout moves that'll help you prevent injury on the slopes.

To Learn How to Ski, Take a Lesson

Don't: Let your significant other teach you how to ski

Unless they're a good teacher and a good skier, you're likely to pick up their bad technique and put stress on your relationship. "I see all these people teaching their S.O., and I'm sure it's broken up a lot of relationships," says Bahrke. (Try these other active winter date ideas instead.)

Do: Learn from an expert

Taking a lesson from a certified ski instructor ensures you'll start off with good skiing form—planting your poles funny and turning too sharp are bad habits that can be difficult to break later on. For as little as $15 for a group lesson, an instructor will work on your deficiencies, build on your strengths, and provide instant feedback.

Some advice Bahrke shares with her students for how to ski:

  • Look 10 to 15 feet ahead of you (and not at the tips of your skis). "You want to look at what's coming, so nothing surprises you," she says. Moving your eyes up will get your stance more forward-your shinbone should be touching the front of your boot. "This puts you in a very balanced position, which allows you to maneuver much better," says Bahrke.
  • Another tip: Bend your knees and put your weight on the balls of your feet. "Most people are too rigid, which is like running with stiff legs," says Bahrke.

Slather on Sunscreen

Don't: Assume you're covered in the cold

The sun is still strong enough all winter to cause burning and skin aging, especially at high altitudes. In fact, the reflection of UV rays off snow can nearly double their strength. "My skin looks much older than I am, which is so frustrating," says Bahkre. "I lived my whole life in the sun and I'm paying the price for it now."