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Immense fear bordering with horror

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, everyone! I really hope you can help me.

I'm 19 year old person who tried skiing for the first time last year. I went to the mountains with my bf, who snowboarded his whole life. He wanted to learn skiing too so we booked semi-individual classes. First day on a bunny slope I was better and I loved it. The next day, however, the instructor took us to a proper slope. I was scared out of my mind. I thought I could stop with plough through a 1,5 km long slope. I didn't really get I was supposed to stop by turning. I wasn't told that. I raced down the mountain a lot of times. I still get sweaty palms when I remember that feeling. I could imagine myself laying unconscious at the end of the slope, since I honestly believed I'd just race all the way down.

The instructor gave unhelpful remarks, making me scared even more and feeling incompetent. My snowboarder bf learned going parallel that second day and the instructor stayed with him the whole time while I stood all alone, paralyzed with fear, really far away from them.

To this day I still wonder was I the problem? Or the instructor? I REALLY want to learn skiing, but I don't think it's possible anymore? Maybe I'm just not capable of it? I'm afraid of open high spaces. Perhaps that's the fear one can't just overcome? I wanted to try snowboarding but reading about people's injuries I'm not sure after all. All of this makes me sad. I love winter, snow, mountain and sports.

I should probably note that I've been rollerblading since I was 5. I'd say I'm good at it. I love it immensely. I hoped it would transfer to skiing, but to no avail.

Should I try again? Or give up forever.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Welcome to snowHeads snowHead
It is sad to read of your unfortunate experience. I was tempted to ask if you had communicated any of this to the instructor or your bf at the time but tbh that's all too late.

In short, of course you should carry on. It is worth talking through how you feel and the poor experience that you had in order to process and move on from it. Skiing is as much in the mind as the body.

Good luck and get back on the two planked horse!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sounds to me you had a poor instructor or they have been told you have experience you didn't have, he should be teaching you how to stop safely by turning before you even go onto a proper piste.

I would stick with it and try a ski school beginner class rather than one to one instruction, you may find yourself advancing faster in that setting.
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@niki250, there are some here with instructor qualifications who will give you technical advice. But let me say that first, you are normal in being scared at first, and second that your instructor sounds unempathic.

My experience is that the whole trick in learning to ski is to stage by stage feel out of control and then learn a way to add control. You feel your skis are trying to move faster than your body, and find out how to position yourself so your balance counteracts that feeling. You seem to be going way too fast down the slope - and then you find out how to adjust your line so you cross obliquely at a tolerable speed.

Bit by bit you find that you can be in control at a fast enough speed to have fun - and then you want to do it again and again and again....
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
IMO. The least likely reason for failing to learn to ski on that occasion, was you.....especially as you really want to ski.

The single biggest factor by far in succeeding, is getting the right Instructor - and asking on here for recommendations is the way to go.

Other things to be aware of, would be:

- Class lessons or Private lessons.....in your case, I'd strongly recommend Private, as you can choose your Instructor
- The Resort choice and how good it is for beginners
- The Equipment...make sure it's of good quality; the boots are a decent fit, yet comfortable and the Skis are suitable for your standard
- The weather and snow quality....important, but you have little control.....though you can choose the height and location of the resort and the time of year
- A huge amount of skiing is confidence - so as you start to gain some....don't let better skiers take you on Pistes above your ability - which can easily set you back to square one. Keep to where you have skied with your Instructor
- Remember it's a holiday and not a boot camp - so enjoy the mountains and the restaurants they have to offer
- Get as fit as possible before you go
- Decent kit - especially goggles (with a suitable lens) and gloves

If you give thought to the above - I am sure you will succeed this time....though book your Instructor as soon as you can, as the good ones get booked up quickly.

BTW. Welcome to the Forum


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 20-09-21 8:31; edited 5 times in total
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Welcome to snowHeads @niki250, you are in the right place snowHead

Your last question first, yes you should try again, for sure, but armed with a little more awareness born of advice - which is bound to ensue from here on.

Lots of people feel a bit anxious about heights and steep slopes at first but U adapt as your skill develops. I remember skiing down a path, feeling this sense of terror at the steep drop off the edge of it - I'd vere away from it like an invisible force was going to suck me over the edge. But 3 or 4 years later, I skied down that same path, glanced to the left and thought, that looks like a nice bit of off-piste - seriously! Shocked

niki250 wrote:
I love winter, snow, mountain and sports.
So you are a snowHead - everything else will work out! snowHead
Quote:
I should probably note that I've been rollerblading since I was 5. I'd say I'm good at it. I love it immensely. I hoped it would transfer to skiing, but to no avail.
No you're right, blading really does help skiing: similar motion and muscles in use. It's a massive boost for balance too. Do you skate street or park too? Bowls and ramps are great for getting used to uneven slopes Wink
Quote:


Should I try again?
Yes. YES!
Quote:
Or give up forever.
erm... no.
It really sounds like you had a cr@p instructor.

It's not certain yet but we might have a beginners group at the PSB this year - could be an opportunity to give it another go in a more supportive environment with a decent instructor
I'm really fussy about who we use so they're all brilliant - insightful and considerate Cool
, perhaps?


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 19-09-21 10:48; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@niki250, whatever you do, don’t give up. I took up skiing at the age of 62 and dearly wish I’d taken it up at your age; when I think of all the fun and enjoyment I’ve missed out on over the years.

Far more experienced/qualified people than me will be able to give you the advice you need here; but whatever path you take to learning how to ski; don’t give up on it. Good luck and have fun and Welcome to snowHeads. Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Wow that sucks, sorry you experienced that, instructors should be supportive and understand the issues and help address. When we've had instruction as a family we've always accepted that the weaker skier will likely get the most attention but tbh we've had some great instructors and they've managed levels really well within the group.

I think you should 100% try again but I would recommend getting lessons here in the UK in a snowdome and practice here before going away again. If you're close (ish) to Hemel they have a great program to get people ready for the Hemel main slope and they have a dedicated slope for people going through that learning with them. They then do things like ladies morning and Tuesday night Mischief both of which with varying levels of instruction. Or you can go the route we went and use an independent 3rd party tuition (once you're ok to turn and stop on the main slope which may require the initial Hemel instruction) which has worked well for us.

As for the fear, I was like that on my first holiday in 2015 (and my wife was too) we felt we were going to go off the edges and we couldn't control our skis or turn. But as we've slowly got better, those slopes didn't bother us any more and it was the next level of slope that was a problem and then the next. It really does get almost comfortable. Its not all plain sailing and I personally hit a bump recently but with some advice from here and some instruction I'm back on the right path.

Also, if you're after recommendations for instructors whilst on holiday this forum will always know someone they've used and got on well with. I've loved the recommendations I've received on here.

Please keep with it, its an amazing experience.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
First I want to thank everyone! You really filled me with hope!

To answer some of the questions:

Quote:

if you had communicated any of this to the instructor or your bf at the time


All instructor had to say is that my bf is getting it real good. When I said that he's been snowboarding since he was a toddler, she just said that it doesn't matter that much. Honestly I don't know how it doesn't matter since my bf has been visiting the same mountain his whole life, knows it really well. I hadn't even ever used a ski lift before that time, while my bf did so while he was in diapers in his mum's or dad's lap.

My bf said the instructor was awful and that she didn't even teach him to ski. He's a really sporty, fearless (unlike me) type and beside snowboard he's also good at rollerblading (though both I and he will agree I'm a bit better, which makes this situation a tad bit more unfair Very Happy ) and ice skating.



Quote:

Sounds to me you had a poor instructor or they have been told you have experience you didn't have, he should be teaching you how to stop safely by turning before you even go onto a proper piste.


She asked about our experiences. She said we'll go back to bunny slope if she sees we're struggling. In one moment I literally started crying and my legs very noticeably started shaking but she continued to take us to the long slopes. At the end of the day I couldn't even walk. We did those turn plough thingies she just never said that's the way I stop at the mountain. She said I should use plough to stop. Period.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@niki250, that definitively sounds like a poor instructor.

Don't give up based on that experience, get yourself a good private instructor or a well regarded ski school. I'm sure you will gain the confidence you need.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

here in the UK

I'm not actually located in the UK. I'm from Eastern Europe. With that said, I do apologize for mistakes I might make while writing.

We unfortunately don't have indoor ski slopes, but it seems amazing. I do have a mountain nearby, perhaps I should use that, before a holiday.

Quote:

we felt we were going to go off the edges


I'm really afraid of falling down the edge of the slope. I'm also afraid that the button ski lift will throw me far away if I don't get off in time.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@niki250, Also, be aware of the mental scars left by your last experience - these can be overcome, but any Instructor should be told of them.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
niki250 wrote:
I'm not actually located in the UK. I'm from Eastern Europe.
Cool Cool Where?
Quote:
With that said, I do apologize for mistakes I might make while writing.
That's OK - there are Brits making more mistakes here than you, so you're doing OK!
Quote:

I'm really afraid of falling down the edge of the slope. I'm also afraid that the button ski lift will throw me far away if I don't get off in time.
I know the feeling but really they never would. The old T-bars were the most scary because 2 of you had to get on and off together.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@niki250, Do give it another go, really do! Having 'the right' instructor is so very important. I had a similar experience to you many years back. If it had been my first time I doubt I would have ever skied again and would have missed out on years of fun. I went skiing with my husband and a friend, I was 29 and pregnant (12 weeks) with our first child. The instructor was just horrid, he completely ignored my wishes to stay on gentle slopes within easy reach of restaurants and loos. To be fair I was already a competent skier but pregnancy changes your perceptive. I was terrified, and refused to ski with the instructor again after that first day. It really set my skiing back! It is so important that your instructor understands your needs and doesn`t just follow a set programme regardless of how you are feeling about it.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Also, be aware of the mental scars left by your last experience - these can be overcome, but any Instructor should be told of them.


I am and I was worried that they can't be overcome, but hope with all my heart they can.

Quote:

Cool Where?


I'm from Serbia.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thank you all for being so kind and encouraging me to try again. This means a lot to me, since I enjoyed my stay at the mountain, and I absolutely love being active outdoors. I'd also like to be able to have fun with my bf. I'm not even overly ambitious. My goal is to be able to ski regular, blue runs in the mountain resort's centre. I hope I'll accomplish that.

May I ask another question. I'm confused about the length of the skis. Before my trip the internet seemed to recommend longer skis for beginners, but now I see it's actually the opposite?

I'm 165 cm tall and my skis were 155 cm long. Should I take shorter ones next time?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
niki250 wrote:


I'm 165 cm tall and my skis were 155 cm long. Should I take shorter ones next time?

What do you weigh - which has a bigger bearing on length, than height?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I usually weigh 60 kgs. Give or take a few.
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niki250 wrote:
I usually weigh 60 kgs. Give or take a few.

In which case - I'd be looking at 145 - 151 as a Cautious Beginner
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wow, that's a big difference in length. Thank you so much for advice!

I felt like the skis were huge, but I thought that's normal.
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Just as important as length, is stiffness.
Stiffer skis perform better for more advanced skiers but softer skis are more suitable for beginners as they are more forgiving.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
niki250 wrote:
Wow, that's a big difference in length. Thank you so much for advice!

I felt like the skis were huge, but I thought that's normal.

In days gone by, you'd probably have been on 160 or 170 Straight Skis...and they did feel huge.

Ski Length is based on Weight/Height/Ability/Terrain/Turn Shape/Preference/Ski Construction.....but when starting out, you don't know enough to determine what you like.....so it's just a matter of getting an easy to use ski, that is suitable for your weight and how aggressive you are.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I didn't have anywhere to ask since I didn't know about this forum. You're really knowledgeable!

The skis are actually from my bf's brother. I just checked the length on the internet. It seemed okay. So I went on with it. They didn't seem beginner friendly. My bf's brother is definitely not a beginner nor are the people who gave them to him.

I had trouble carrying them, let alone skiing.
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niki250 wrote:
I didn't have anywhere to ask since I didn't know about this forum. You're really knowledgeable!

The skis are actually from my bf's brother. I just checked the length on the internet. It seemed okay. So I went on with it. They didn't seem beginner friendly. My bf's brother is definitely not a beginner nor are the people who gave them to him.

I had trouble carrying them, let alone skiing.


Those skis are likely too advanced for your ability and made with males in mind with how heavy you describe them.
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niki250 wrote:
I didn't have anywhere to ask since I didn't know about this forum. You're really knowledgeable!

The skis are actually from my bf's brother. I just checked the length on the internet. It seemed okay. So I went on with it. They didn't seem beginner friendly. My bf's brother is definitely not a beginner nor are the people who gave them to him.

I had trouble carrying them, let alone skiing.

I, like many on here - have picked up a little (often through bitter experience/having to help a nervous Girlfriend [now Wife] to ski) over the last 50 years.

Unsuitable skis (which these probably were) will affect confidence and make learning much harder - and be aware, there are Skis specifically designed for Women (Lighter/Bindings further forward/Tighter turn radius etc)

You want a Lady's Beginner ski.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sun 19-09-21 12:16; edited 2 times in total
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Wow, that's been quite a revelation for me. I knew I'm not *that* weak not to be able to carry a pair of skis.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
why not trying snowboarding?
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I got a bit scared of injuries. I also thought my rollerblading experience will be helpful with skiing. And I actually enjoyed my first day of skiing since it reminded me of rollerblading. Then it started going downhill (literally).

I'd just like to be able to do easy blue slopes and enjoy mountain fresh air while being active. Whichever of the two is better to suit my needs I'm open for it. I don't ever intend to go off-piste or to try tricks. I just want to be able to slide down the easiest slopes without feeling of terror.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@niki250,
What a horrible experience.
I agree with virtually everything written above.
A couple of things I would say
One is that if you are young sporty and a good roller blader you will almost certainly find skiing pretty straightforward to pick up quickly and become proficient at
BUT
That kind of experience can be pretty mentally scarring if you don't handle your initial return carefully.
I would be inclined to go for an individual instruction for a few occasions on your return till you feel confident , they will be able to take it at the speed you need on the bunny slopes to give you the confidence and control before advancing to the wider ones.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
IME. Successfully learning to Ski works a bit like this:

Instructor teaches Technique -> Allows you to ski in Control -> Builds Confidence -> Brings Enjoyment -> Progression onto harder terrain.

Without both Confidence and Enjoyment - skiing becomes very difficult.

When starting out, Confidence isn't something that you get and then have for good.....as it can be lost very quickly and then enjoyment disappears and the whole thing unravels. This is why the Instructor is so important - as they will guide you at the right pace for your ability and personality, while making the whole experience fun.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sun 19-09-21 12:36; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

One is that if you are young sporty and a good roller blader you will almost certainly find skiing pretty straightforward to pick up quickly and become proficient at


Thank you so much for this. I figured it would be the case, and when it didn't turn out that way I started questioning myself and wondering if I'm just that much incapable.
I'm not overly sporty but I do like being active and working out. Enough to be able to tackle easy runs.

I'll just refuse to leave the bunny slope until I've mastered stopping. I haven't experienced anything scarier than running straight down a 1,5 km slope not knowing how to stop and not knowing how to fall with my huge skis. I paid for 4 classes and didn't even learn how to get up. The instructor wouldn't bother actually showing it. When I think about it she did show it to my bf. Guess I was a 2nd class student. Laughing
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You're getting the right advice here. The trick is to stay on the flatter spots of the bunny hill getting confident in using turning to slow or stop rather than snowplough braking. Once you can staightline on a reasonable pitch on the bunny slope then turn accross the slope to stop confidently that's when you're ready to elsewhere on the mountain.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
niki250 wrote:

I'll just refuse to leave the bunny slope until I've mastered stopping.

This should not be an issue if the Instructor is right for you - as they will accurately assess what you can cope with......and will build trust, so you will feel comfortable with what you are being asked to do.
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Wow. Definitely get yourself a new instructor. You may find that you get on better with a female instructor. If you still have problems, keep trying new people until you find the right instructor for you.

Otherwise, something like a women-only beginner group with max 6-8 people might work, because you can all support and help each other, and women tend to be more sympathetic towards other nervous women because they have probably felt the same at some point. Then you can join your bf when you have a bit more confidence.

The skis are too big and probably too stiff – if you find the make and model (it will be written on them somewhere), we can tell you more about the skis you have. I am 163cm and started on 140cm skis, but went quickly (maybe after a week) to about 152cm. Try and borrow something much smaller and suitable for beginners, and then after a couple of weeks when you have better control, you can get something a little longer.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

You may find that you get on better with a female instructor.

Instructor was a woman.

I'll definitely go with much smaller skis.

As for the boots, I wanted to ask how tight should I really make them? I had a bruise on my shin on the right leg. I was told it was because they weren't tight enough.
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niki250 wrote:

Instructor was a woman.

I'll definitely go with much smaller skis.

As for the boots, I wanted to ask how tight should I really make them? I had a bruise on my shin on the right leg. I was told it was because they weren't tight enough.

The problem with Hire Boots - is they are unlikely to fit you like they should....and unless almost new, the liners will be "packed out". If you start to enjoy skiing - get yourself properly fitted with your own boots - by a Bootfitter recommended on here - as there aren't that many good ones about.

Bruises caused by Ski Boots can be because they are too tight/too loose/or simply wrong for your foot shape.

There is a correct way to put on and buckle boots

The bruise on your shin could be caused by a number of reasons - but IME the most likely is your Boots were too big and with Liners that had been flattened a bit. If the Boots were too big, tightening them too much could cut off circulation and cause other problems.

- If the Boots are the right length, your toes should brush the top of the boots when standing - but pull back, when knees are bent for skiing.

- Your heels should be held in place for skiing and not lift up

- Your feet should not be able to slide about (front/back or side to side)

- The Power Strap at the top and top 2 buckles should be reasonably tight - and will probably need tightening again through the day.....though they shouldn't be so tight as to feel uncomfortable or cut off circulation.

- The 2 buckles across the toe, should only be tight enough to stop them opening - and no tighter


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 19-09-21 13:19; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Well, it doesn't work universally, but I think you just had a bad instructor.

Quote:
As for the boots, I wanted to ask how tight should I really make them? I had a bruise on my shin on the right leg. I was told it was because they weren't tight enough.

The leg buckles (usually two at the top) should be pretty tight, but not so much that it cuts off the blood and makes your feet cold or numb. If that happens, loosen them a little until it feels better. You shouldn't have bruises – make sure the tongue is centred properly and nothing is caught in the wrong place. Try socks with shin padding if you didn't already. The lower buckles over the foot should be easy to open – just tight enough that they don't open on their own. Are they your own boots or borrowed/hired?
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Thank you both for advice! It's really valuable.

They were hired. I wouldn't dare buying my own until I actually learn to ski and be sure I'll continue with it.
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niki250 wrote:
Thank you both for advice! It's really valuable.

They were hired. I wouldn't dare buying my own until I actually learn to ski and be sure I'll continue with it.

With hired stuff - bring it back if not happy. If you can talk a little jargon - then they will likely give you more respect and maybe not palm you off with any old shyte.

A great resource, is Darren Turner (Elate Media) - He covers everything from putting on Ski Boots to Beginner Lessons (will give you an idea if you are being taught correctly).

https://www.youtube.com/c/elatemedia/featured
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The others have said how your buckles should be, I describe boot fit as like a good handshake (remember them pre Covid) you should be able to move your toes just like you can move your fingers when shaking hands. You should not be able to lift your heel more than a few mm and the main part of your foot should be held just enough to stop it moving in the boot. Softer shorter skis will help a lot.
Don't get too hung up on not being able to stop in a straight snow plough at the moment. Learn (with a more sympathetic instructor) how to make turns, once you can turn you can then stop more easily. Once you start to turn you will quickly recognise the feelings from turning on skates.
Try as much as possible to keep your upper body very calm and keep your hands in front of you shoulder width apart to help with balance.
Oh and smile it's very important.
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