SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Due to our unique climate here in Utah, which combines prime altitude and numerous mountain ranges, we’ve packed on a reputation as having the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth.’ That title isn’t taken lightly, either, as our slopes will average more than a foot of snow every five days from December through March.
This top-rated snow brings ski enthusiasts from around the world every year. But for anyone who’s yet to experience the joy of recreation on our mountain ranges, getting started can be a bit overwhelming.
“Be okay with looking funny,” remarks Tanner Prince, who first began last year and has since become an avid skier with over 30 days on the mountain this season. “You’re not going to be good the first time you go… It’s just part of the process.”
Aside from the awkwardness of your first trip, there are several things you’ll need to get started. We’ve compiled the information you must have for a simple and stress-free first experience.
What gear do I need?
You can never be too prepared for a ski trip. With freezing temperatures to be expected, it all starts with what you’re wearing.
The key to comfort is in how you layer. Begin with a base layer of everyday clothing to ensure a warm foundation, then throw on one or two more layers of waterproof fabric to prevent snow from saturating your outfit with wet weather.
Next, be sure to bring along important accessories like thermal socks and gloves, which can ultimately make or break a ski trip.
And, of course, grab the essential equipment like skis, poles, a helmet, boots, and goggles.
Other handy items you should consider include a backpack for extra storage and even a portable emergency shovel in case you or someone else becomes buried in deep snowpacks.
Where can I rent/purchase?
You’ll notice countless locations around Utah to rent or purchase the gear you’ll need to ski. The best thing to do is find a trusted retailer nearest you.
Those who’re planning on making a more long-term goal of learning to ski should consider purchasing equipment. Otherwise, renting is a very cost-effective way of enjoying this new sport.
Shopping for clothing and gear at your local thrift store is another way to make the experience more affordable.
Which resort should I choose?
There’s a variety of reasons to choose one ski resort over another. For beginners, it’s all about the terrain and ticket prices.
Two of the best places for a beginner’s ski trip, if cost is no concern, are Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain. These resorts, though notably pricier than others, have acres galore for beginners to get familiar with the sport.
For those looking to stretch their dollar a bit further, both Brighton and Solitude are smaller but offer excellent terrain for beginners, along with reasonable rates for the experience.
When is the best time to go?
While you can plan a ski trip during the earliest months of winter, doing so could mean crowded slopes that make it difficult to get a grasp on the beginner stages of this sport.
To make the most of your time while getting started on skis, wait till February or March when Utah’s winter weather remains, but overall crowds have lessened considerably.
How do I get started learning?
Ask around — chances are, someone in your circle knows just enough to teach you a thing or two about getting down the mountain. According to enthusiast Tanner Prince: “Find someone to take you and do it. It’s worth it…”
If you don’t know any makeshift instructors to get started, then search for a qualified professional. Each resort will have lesson programs taught by seasoned skiers — try shopping online for the best deals ahead of your visit.
Beginning any new sport is challenging at first but gets easier with time and practice. Knowing the fundamentals and having patience will make all the difference as you slowly (but surely) gain the confidence to become an expert on the slopes.
Get all the facts ahead of your next trip by visiting ABC4’s Ski Report, which breaks down the daily snow conditions and forecasts for each local resort.