Submitted via the Personal Wyszdom request:

Skiing/Snowboarding – Mountain Virg

I have never been skiing, or snowboarding…  in fact, i’m
not even sure if snowboarding is one word or two.  I’m going tomorrow
for my very first time ever.  Going to do what you ask?  There in lies
the question… what am I to do?  Ski or Snow Board?

In addition to not knowing which art of winter rec sport to engage, I
am also uncertain as to what I will need to ensure maximum
satisfaction from the experience.  Particularly with regard to
apparel.  I’d imagine I need snow pants and goggles (not googles) at
the very least.

Any other advice for mountain virgins?

I must begin my answer by apologizing to Mr. HAWK. His question was submitted back on January 23rd, and I didn’t notice it until today since my advice queue had been so stagnant. Hopefully things turned out well for him without my advice.

I’ve only been a skier, but as far as I can tell, skiing and snowboarding are both pretty similar. Here are some differences to keep in mind:

  • Skiers and snowboarders do not mix well on chairlifts. Skiers keep their skis facing forward, while snowboarders relax with their boards at an angle. If you’re going to be hanging out with a group of all snowboarders or all skiers, just do whatever they’re doing.
  • Snowboarders spend about 90% of their time just laying on the middle of the hill for no reason.
  • Snowboarders don’t have poles, which is pretty inconvenient if you have to deal with flat terrain.
  • Some snobby resorts do no allow snowboarders.
  • Skiing is probably more dangerous, because there’s a lot of stuff that can get tangled up, and your legs can travel in two different directions.
  • If you wipe out while skiing, you may have to hike up the hill to retrieve several items.
  • Ski boots are really uncomfortable, even if you’ve had them custom-fit for your feet. I don’t know how snowboarding boots feel.

Regarding apparel:

  • You’ll probably fall a lot as a beginner, so if you try to ski or snowboard in just jeans you’ll get soaked pretty quickly. Make sure you get snow pants and a good jacket, both waterproof. They should block the wind well too, since that can really chill you. If you don’t mind looking a little dorky, get a one-piece jumpsuit which will virtually eliminate the chances of the snow getting up under your jacket when you fall. If you go with separate snow pants instead, you are taking a bigger risk but you get to wear suspenders. Life is full of compromises.
  • Get a hat that you’ll be comfortable wearing all day and that keeps your ears covered.
  • Get a comfortable neck warmer, but only wear it over your face if it’s too cold to do without. Otherwise, keep it around your neck only or substitute it with a scarf.
  • Get some goggles. If it’s cold, sunglasses won’t do because you’ll want to block your entire face from the wind. Sunglasses also aren’t ideal when you’re starting out and falling a lot.
  • Hand and toe warmers are wonderful if you need them, but don’t use them if they’re not necessary because they’ll make you sweat.

Other things to bring:

  • Phone (if you find out that you don’t get service on the mountain, buy some radios with your friends)
  • Camera
  • Tissues
  • ChapStick
  • Food (granola bars work pretty well)
  • Wallet
  • Trail map

Have fun! And NIGHT HAWK, please let me know how everything turned out.

One thought on “Skiing/Snowboarding”

  1. Thanks, Michael! The plan to go last Jan fell through, so I’ll still be able to utilize your advice for that special first time!

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