A Beginner’s Guide to Skiing… When You’re Old AF

I grew up in Florida and not in a skiing family. The only ski experience I had was on the water. So when I finally hit the slopes as a grown adult, I had no idea what to expect. Here are some of my big takeaways on being a beginner skier when you’re old AF.

Gear

You probably don’t have gear, and you’re probably unsure if you’ll ever ski again. So just buy the cheap stuff or rent it for your first time out on the mountain. I opted out of the cool $140 bright blue pants and went for the $40 basic black overalls, and I gotta say, they did me right. I certainly didn’t win any fashion awards out there, but the overalls were practical and efficient. You don’t have to worry about your pants slipping down, layers riding up, snow creeping in, etc. They are not flattering, by any means, but this is about efficiency, not style (at least for your first time).

Pain meds

Take Ibuprofen with lunch. Trust me. You will need it, so just give it a chance to do its job before it’s too late. Your whole body—especially your lower half—will hurt later. The boots just plain suck after six+ hours. Your muscles will ache. You’re going to want to get ahead of all that as much as possible. And stay hydrated (we alternated between beer + water).

The right ski buddies

Stick with people who have a similar skill level as you. You don’t want to be holding back others who could be shredding gnar on steeper slopes, and you don’t want to be held up by slower skiers yourself. After all, you have a lot to practice. Buddy up with someone with a similar ski sense, and go practice that pizza!

Sleep

You were so excited. You didn’t think twice about buying the two-day pass. Now, after day one, you question that decision deeply. But don’t jump to conclusions. One day at a time. If you have Jacuzzi access, use it. And go to bed early. When you wake up, you may realize you’re not as sore as you thought you might be, because you’re an athlete. Eat a big breakfast, and get back on the mountain! Day two awaits.

Be prepared to hit a wall

The first few hours of day two are great. You’re building on what you learned yesterday and getting more and more comfortable and brave. Then your muscles just stop working. Out of nowhere, really. Your thighs just don’t answer when you call on them, and your calves are screaming. You call it a day, carb load, and be proud of yourself for trying new things. You killed it.

Plan your next trip

Assuming all went well and you didn’t seriously injure yourself or others, start planning another ski trip. After all, you’ve got some time to make up, and you’re not going to get better by sitting at home.

Skiing in Big Bear, California
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