It might be daunting, but it can be done. You, yes you, can learn how to ski…as an adult. Kids shouldn’t be the only ones to love snow days.
From great beginner-friendly resorts to necessary gear and the best après-ski cocktails, we answer your questions.
How should I get started?
Beginners should take a minimum of three days of lessons with an instructor. (Pro tip: An instructor that’s not your partner or relative.) “Skiing is like learning to ride a bike,” says Atlanta, Georgia-based Virtuoso advisor Laura Madrid. “But once you do, it’s all downhill, so to speak.” And if you only ski once a year or every few years, start off with a lesson “to help sharpen your technique and recall best practices,” says Madrid. For beginners and experts alike, learning never stops.
What advantages do I have over those kids on the magic carpet?
It will humble and reward you in equal measure, as long as you have patience, a good attitude, and diligence. Chicago, Illinois-based Virtuoso advisor Shawna Huffman Owen agrees. “With age comes wisdom, and skiing is about mental focus in many ways,” she says. “With a great instructor, adults can become beautiful skiers at any age.”
Where should I go?
Most importantly: Book a resort that is ski-in/ski-out, so you can access slopes with a short walk rather than by bus or shuttle. “Clunking down the road or in and out of a shuttle bus with awkward boots, poles, and skis in hand just doesn’t work,” says Madrid. She suggests the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado, near Vail. Newbies can feel more at ease skiing at Deer Valley, which limits the number of lift tickets it sells daily to prevent overcrowding. At the Stein Eriksen Lodge private instructors will meet you in the lobby and resort staff will take you to the base of Deer Valley not far away.
Ridgeland, Mississippi-based Virtuoso advisor Vickie Love Greenlee recommends Aspen’s Snowmass and Buttermilk ski areas. “Buttermilk is a very easy beginner mountain with lots of greens and blues [the easiest runs by ski slope standards],” she says. “Snowmass is great for beginners and families.” The Viceroy Snowmass resort is well-located for rest after a long day on the slopes.
What’s my reward?
For many, it’s all about après-ski, when you gather with friends to toast a good day on the slopes – best done on a great restaurant patio at the base of the mountain. Laura Madrid recommends the Aprés Lounge at the Montage Deer Valley (open until 4pm daily). This hard-to-miss yellow yurt serves Veuve Clicquot champagne and snacks such as caviar and local cheeses. Vickie Love Greenlee recommends the Troll Hallen Lounge at the Stein Eriksen Lodge. They serve their après-ski menu until 5:30, which consists of items like cheese or milk chocolate fondue, garlic cheese fries, French onion dip, and wild game chili. With young kids, look for a spot with a fireplace or fire pit outside, where everyone can enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, and hard-earned treats. “I always think a Moscow mule tastes great après-ski,” says Shawna Huffman Owen. “And the only time I ever eat nachos is after a hard day of skiing. Nothing tastes better or more decadent.”
How do I gear up?
For the bare essentials – skis, boots, poles, helmets, and goggles – check to see if Ski Butlers is in the area you’re skiing. Located at mountains across North America and Europe, they come to your hotel room to fit you for everything you need. Dress in layers – you’ll need ski pants, a jacket, and long underwear. A neck gaiter will help block wind and keep your face warm; these eco-friendly options from Phunkshun come in an array of patterns and styles. Good gloves are also crucial. Hand Out Gloves come with a zipper to easily slip your hand out for mountain selfies. Don’t forget sunblock!
Tip: Travel advisors can work with Alpine Adventures for a complete ski vacation: air, transfers, hotel/condo, lift tickets, and ski rentals delivered and fit in your room.
Top photo: Courtesy of Ski Utah.