Helpful buying, renting & packing tips for first-time skiers

Every time I go skiing, I feel like it’s my first time. I’m a self-described advanced beginner. This year will be my fifth time skiing. Typically, our ski trips are an extended weekend and last Friday through Sunday, so we’re really on the slopes only one whole day. Each time I learn a little more, and this time we plan on making the trip a day longer. I knew nothing about skiing on my first trip—absolutely not one thing about what to wear, what to pack, what to buy, what to spend, what to expect; nothing. In an effort to help inform those that planning their skiing debut in 2017, here are a few tips for skiers on where to start:

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This is me about to hit the slopes on the Magic Carpet!

What to Pack

For your days skiing, pack plenty of cotton layers. You want fabrics that are breathable and lightweight. Fitted base layers work best. Think fitted tees, fitted long-sleeves, fitted fleece layers. Pack comfortable sports bras and underwear. For pants, some people wear long johns, but I like to wear my running capris under my ski pants. Most of the time, I’m near the base of the mountain anyway, so on a sunny day, it’s actually hot. And too many layers under your ski gear will only weigh you down. Don’t forget your sunglasses! You won’t need fancy goggles—you won’t be shredding that hard on your first trip.

What You Should Invest In

As a first timer, invest in a good pair of gloves. Your hands will be on the snowy ground more than you think. Your hands will get cold. And they will get wet. A good pair of warm, water-resistant ski gloves will suit you well now and in the future, whether you’re skiing or not. Also invest in a few good pairs of ski socks. You’ll want as many pairs as the number of days your skiing. Ski socks aren’t like normal socks, so the $5.99 Gold Toe no-shows from your sock drawer will not cut it.

Ready. Set. Go!

What You Should Not Buy

Don’t buy expensive ski gear. For your first time, borrow a jacket, pants and gloves from a friend or family member. If there are no friends or family members, look for a discount store like Doug & Lynda’s ski shop in McKinney, Texas, where they’re known to have last year’s styles at mega-reduced prices.

Consider looking on Facebook Garage Sale threads in your area. You’ll likely find a complete outfit at a really great value and tips for skiers from people who have been there, done that.

In Dallas, Saint Bernard Sports holds an annual Skiesta Swap & Sale, where you can find unused or gently-used ski gear for more than 50% of the price. It’s totally worth looking into. You can keep up with your local Saint Bernard Sport’s Facebook page to get details about a Skiesta Swap near you.

This is pretty much how things look at the top of a run.

What to Rent

Don’t buy equipment. Renting ski equipment from the resort is a fast, easy and affordable process. You’ll get properly fitted and can depend on everything to be properly maintained. I’d advise against renting from shops outside of the resort because not only is it a pain to get all the equipment to and from the mountain, but if you run into issues like a boot lock malfunctioning, then you’re stuck on a ski resort with a bum ski. It’s usually the cheaper option, but it’s not always the best.

Of course you need to rent skis, poles and boots, but always say yes to the helmet, too. Don’t worry about how you look. You will thank me on your first, second or third fall when other amateur skiers are whizzing by your protected helmet head.

Have a little cash in your pocket and rent a locker. You’ll likely get hot from all the layers you’ve piled on and will find yourself shedding some throughout the day. Or you might find that your jacket is too warm and you’re doing OK with just a sweatshirt. A locker will offer a nice dry place to store all your stuff.

Remember these tips for skiers before your next trip. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy the ride!

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