A Beginner's Primer for Learning How to Ski or Snowboard


Contact: Mary Jo Tarallo | mjt@learntoskiandsnowboard.org

November 2017 - If you are a newcomer taking your first ski or snowboard lesson, chances are you will be driving to a resort fairly close to home. It may surprise some newcomers to know that many ski and snowboard areas are closer than they think to where they live. It also may surprise some to know what states boast the most areas.

New York leads the list with more than 50. Michigan, California and Pennsylvania also have more resorts than many of the states commonly thought of as “ski states”.

“Accessibility to many locations is a lot easier than many people think,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, Director for the snow sports industry’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend initiative.

Newcomers who are planning to ski or snowboard for the first time this winter should take lessons from a professional instructor PLUS consider a number of practical suggestions that can keep costs down and help ensure a quality first-time experience. Here are a few tips:

Find a Nearby Location: The www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site features a map of each state that has ski areas. Use your zip code to find locations near where you live by including the mileage that you wish to drive. The map will provide options and a link to the location of choice.

What to Wear: Dressing in layers can make all the difference in the world. An undergarment layer (aka long underwear) will keep you warmer and also can be used for other outdoor activities. If you don’t have something suitable, purchasing is a good investment. A middle layer such as a turtleneck or fleece top make up the middle layer with, preferably, a waterproof outer garment as the top payer. Search your closet for turtlenecks, fleece vests or tops, gloves or mittens, hats and you are likely to have most of what you need. Don’t forget sunglasses either.

Jeans are out because cotton, when wet, displays no insulating qualities. If jeans are the only choice, a possible solution is to wear a waterproof shell over them.


Driving Safety: Make certain your tires are properly inflated and keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid water condensation in the fuel lines. While ski areas keep access roads as clear as possible, it is best to be cautious when braking and allow for extra distance on roads that have a layer of snow.

More driving tips are available at:


Lesson Programs: Most beginner lesson packages include the lesson, lift ticket at least to the beginner area and rental equipment. Today’s skis and snowboards are designed to make it easier to learn and there is no need to rent equipment before you go since it is provided. More information on the rental process is available by using this link.


Equipment Leasing Programs: Most snow sports specialty shops offer leasing packages for periods of time or an entire season. Once you have taken a couple of lessons from a trained instructor, leasing equipment is an economical way to continue with your sport of choice. Having the equipment handy will cut down on the time you spend each time you visit a resort. The state-by-state map locator on the www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site also shows shops and includes links to shop web sites.