Guide to Skiing: All You Need to Know

Guide to Skiing: All You Need to Know

When we look up at a snowy mountain, each of us sees a challenge. For the experienced, it might be perfecting performance or off-piste skiing. If you’re just getting started (or if you’ve never been skiing before), the challenge can be just getting up there.

Take a breath - skiing is a journey of fun that lasts a lifetime, and we can help you get started. In this guide, we won’t spend much time talking about how to ski - instead, we’ll help you get your head around some things you need to know to enjoy a killer day on the mountain. We’ll cover how to get yourself a lift pass, some basic physical pointers, what to wear skiing, and some suggestions for where to head.

How to prepare for a day of skiing

Nothing beats a road trip to the snow, but let’s hold up for just a second. Before you go, it’s worth getting yourself prepared because once you're on the mountain, you don’t want to have to worry about a few things. Consider the following as a basic starter checklist.

Buy your lift pass online

To enjoy the chairlift on the mountain, a lift pass is essential. Pricing can vary wildly, but when you’re looking for where to ski in Australia, it’s a good idea to start by booking everything online ahead of your visit. Not only will it help you skip the queue and reserve access, but you can also snag some reasonable discounts. Each resort will have ticket options that include one or multiple days (as well as some just for afternoons), and you can often find tickets cheaper if you ski in off-peak periods like June and September.

Shop for the best gear

One of the most important things you’re going to need to remember is that ski apparel is made specifically to suit the conditions of snowy mountains. You can experience blinding sun, powerful winds, rain, dumping snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures. Don’t be that person trying to ski in jeans and a jumper, because you’re not going to have a good time. If you haven’t got your ski gear ready, we can help. Our range of women’s and men's snow sports gear is designed and crafted for all conditions and built to last. Ladies consider kit like the Demi Jacket, our Phoenix glove, and the Smooch ladies ski pant as a starting point for your outerwear, and for the guys we recommend the Miles Ski Jacket, glove and a pair of Glide ski pants to get you off to a flying start.

Book a lesson

If you're a first timer or need to refresh your skills after a hiatus from skiing, we recommend booking a lesson. Have fun learning the basics and re-build your confidence with a qualified instructor. It’s all about staying safe on the mountain and having fun.

Stretch, hydrate regularly & snack often

One thing all first-time and occasional skiers can agree on: you’re going to feel it tomorrow. Skiing relies on a lot of muscles that you might not otherwise use in your regular activities, so give yourself a head start and stretch properly before and always after. When stretching, focus on your glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves and upper back. Another thing beginners often forget is that, despite the cold, you’re still exerting yourself physically, and you can quickly become dehydrated and hungry. Take a bottle of water with you, and remember to hydrate regularly. Pack your pockets with snacks like trail mix and muesli bars to help keep your energy levels up for the next run.

What to wear skiing?

The number one rule when dressing for the snow is to layer up. You might work up a sweat sliding down a run, but by the time you’re in the chairlift on the way back up, you’ll be getting cold again. A proper layering system that works together, will prevent dangerous exposure to all weather conditions.

The best place to start is close to the skin with Australian Merino wool thermal base layers. These are body-hugging tops, bottoms that dry quickly and provide great insulation, keeping your body heat in and the cold weather out.

Next is the middle-layer providing greater protection and warmth from the elements. The Back Country jacket (available in both women and mens) adds to your comfort level.

Layered over everything (your outer layer), should be a waterproof, breathable, durable and comfy snow jacket. To keep you warm throughout the day, select the best snow jacket that matches your style of skiing.

The final pieces of kit should be a sturdy pair of snow gloves to keep your hands from freezing to your ski poles. Whether you choose mittens or gloves is up to you. Facewear and neckwear like balaclavas and neck warmers protect your neck and face against the chill and wind. Cover yourself from head to toe with a cosy beanie and Heater socks.

Is skiing or snowboarding easier?

Whatever we say, there’s going to be a debate! The general consensus is that skiing is easier to pick up for beginners but harder to technically master. On the other hand, snowboarding can be a tricky learning curve if you’re just starting out, but once you put the work in, you may find it easier to master the basic skills. The choice is yours. Either way, it’s important to always stay within your limits on the snowy slopes.

Where to ski in Australia?

Australia has five major ski resorts: Thredbo and Perisher in New South Wales Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and Falls Creek in Victoria For most of us, these resorts offer a great mix of beginner-friendly runs and more challenging slopes, as well as all the amenities that you’ll need (like accommodation, restaurants, shopping and entertainment) for a memorable trip. Outside of the main resorts, you can also ski at Mt Buffalo and Mt Baw Baw in Victoria, Charlotte Pass and Selwyn Snowfields in NSW, and Ben Lomond and Mt Mawson in Tasmania.

Learn More With Our Other Ski Guides:

Remember what we said about skiing being easy to learn but tough to master? At XTM, we believe that skiing should be for everyone, and we love to share our own experiences and advice. Make sure you check out our blog for regular guides like What To Wear On Your First Snow Trip. Something else you need? Whether you’re after snow and outdoor gear or just want to say hello, get in touch with our friendly team today.