Learning to Ski
The learning curve
When learning to ski, it is highly recommend that you undertake some form of ski instruction, particularly if you don't want to be heading straight to the nearest A&E! Unfortunately, falling on your bum is an integral part of what many instructors, like to call 'the learning curve'. Whilst you'll have no problem whatsoever in getting down the mountain, more crucial aspects such as learning to stop are somewhat trickier to master. Although friends and family may be willing to teach you, the chances are that they will quickly become frustrated if you are slow to master the 'basics'. Likewise, they are unlikely to have much sympathy if you hurt yourself during a particularly comical fall! For these reasons, learning to ski with qualified ski instructors comes highly recommended, with good beginners ski instructors in most resorts.
When learning to ski, you will initially deeply resent your skis. This will never be more true than the first time they slide you backwards down the slope, when all you really want to do is stand there and patiently listen to your instructor's advice. It is worth bearing in mind that skis have one sole desire – to get to the bottom of the hill. They don't care how fast you get there, or indeed whether you even go with them on the journey. Don't blame them for this, and instead try to learn how to control your skis. One good beginner's ski tip is to use your poles as a balancing device, until your legs have the confidence to decide when they are ready to set off.
The importance of the snow-plough
It's a good idea to perfect the basics on some firm ground before attempting to head straight up on the ski lift. The first thing beginners tend to learn, and experts tend to sneer at, is how to 'snow-plough'. For many beginner skiers, including myself, this simple technique is a godsend. This involves making a forward 'V' shape with your skis and allows you to finally do what you have wanted to do since you first set foot on the snow – stop! Once you have mastered this technique, you may become fond of your skis once again, realising that they can actually help you to stop instead of sending you soaring recklessly down the mountain.