Learning to ski as an adult

Learning to ski as an adult

Are you dreaming of going skiing for your next winter holidays? But how do you learn to ski? Not really interested in taking lessons? Reading this article will change your mind and you'll get the sudden urge to glide down a slope.

"I just can't see myself taking lessons with children, following the instructor in single file, doing snowplough turns to get my beginners' skier medal. As for the equipment, it looks really heavy. Things can happen quickly and I'm afraid of falling. But at the same time, I tell myself that it must be really thrilling and the landscapes are breathtaking."

If, like Lilia, you're worried about being worse than the children during your skiing lessons, not being able to use the infamous drag lifts, getting in line behind the instructor with the red pompom… you are in the right place. No, we haven't found a better solution than to take lessons, but lessons can, in fact, be pretty cool for a wide range of reasons. Indeed, Elodie, a ski instructor and product engineer for Wedze ski clothing, is going to take us through the aforementioned reasons.
She is also going to answer all the questions posed by Lilia, who would like to go skiing for her next winter holidays. My guess is that you're also asking yourself the same questions! ;)

Learning to ski as an adult

Can you learn to ski as an adult?

Yes, it can be done! Many adults take ski lessons, why not you?
How easy it is for you to learn will depend on your physical condition, but what scares people in adulthood is falling. Adults are more concerned about hurting themselves than children. Élodie, a ski instructor, gives the following reassurance: "If you are properly supervised, have expert advice and, above all, a positive attitude, you will be able to stay upright without any problem!"
The difference in learning between adults and children is that adults are much more apprehensive. But they also have a better knowledge of their body and quickly understand the explanations given by the instructor.

Yes but what about the lessons...? Lilia remains unconvinced...

Ski lessons: what's the point?

Like a lot of technical sports or sports that require specific equipment, it is important to know the environment in which you will be skiing, and know your gear and how it works. Above all, you need the right advice to adopt the right technique and not be afraid when you go on the pistes for the first time.
By taking lessons, you can become familiar with the basics for starting skiing, such as finding your balance. Elodie reminds us of the importance of this point: "As soon as you pick up speed in any winter sport, you will probably react the wrong way by leaning your body backwards."

"Ok, but what if I realise that I can do it on my own?" Maybe, like Lilia, you know someone who has managed to learn on their own, and you are wondering, ""Why not me?""

Can you learn to ski by yourself?

As a beginner starting out alone, you will probably be able to ski down the slope, however, you might give yourself a scare. You might get apprehensive when you have a fall. And if bad habits become ingrained, it will be more difficult to correct mistakes later on.

"If you start alone, you might find that your progress plateaus because you don't have the right balance. The instructor will have the technical experience to spot when it's time to step up a level, go faster, start parallel turns, etc." What's more, Elodie reminds us of the simple fact that being with a professional immediately inspires confidence.
If you are in good physical shape and if you practise other board sports, you will find it easier to learn. You will already have some idea about gliding and the associated speed. Some people in this situation may feel that they can have a go by themselves by following friends, for example, and imitating them. But they run the risk of not having the right technique, not understanding what is involved, replicating the movements incorrectly and adopting a bad technique.

And then there are rules, that you should be aware of, because it is a sport that involves other people. On the slopes, as on the roads, you have to know who has right-of-way and respect the safety instructions. Once again, this is a good reason why lessons can be of real benefit: by being part of a group of skiers and learners, this will prevent you from rushing headlong into everyone else! It makes things more pleasant.

Learning to ski as an adult

Are ski lessons for everyone? is there a minimum number of lessons you need to take?

"On the other hand, ski holidays are already quite expensive, so taking lessons on top... How many do you need to take to learn the basics?"

Elodie has some tips for future skiers who don't want to spend too much money, which is great news for Lilia and for you reading this article!

- For starters, you don't have to go to the major ski resorts where the ski passes are more expensive, because you will only be using a few slopes at the start, i.e. some green runs to begin with followed by some blue runs. Choose the small family-oriented resorts. There are also special ski passes for beginners, so that you only pay for the ski lifts that you actually take rather than those of the whole resort.
"You will pay less for your ski pass in a small resort, which will be more than adequate to start out!"

- No need to take a full week of lessons. Take it step by step. "Two hours of lessons, three times in the week, will already be sufficient. Skiing engages the whole body and the mind, and lots of things happen at the same time involving the feet, arms, etc. It requires a lot of energy.In general, 3-4 lessons lasting two hours each (with some practice in between) will be sufficient to prepare an adult to go on the slopes. They won't be good enough to ski down every slope but they will be ready to go off by themselves."

- If you opt for the private lesson:you can start with a one-hour private lesson and then practise for a few hours outside of the lesson or alternate between one day with a lesson and one day without, so that you can put the advice into practice. You will soon feel at ease and will be in better condition to resume lessons and progress to the next level. As a result, you will be able to space out the lessons.

- The other option:take group lessons, much cheaper(about €40 for a 2½h lesson, compared with double that for a private lesson. Although they are less personalised, you get all the benefits of improving as part of a group with a sense of sharing and regular monitoring throughout the week.

- You can also give yourself motivation by going with a friend (or friends) who cannot ski either and take lessons together, i.e. a semi-private lesson. Although it won't be a private lesson, there won't be too many of you and, even better, the others will be your friends. Between lessons, you can practise together and motivate each other!

- For adults who can go skiing outside the school holiday period, this can be a big plus for learning! Above all, it's cheaper. But, first and foremost, there are less people on the slopes, shorter queues for the ski lifts, fewer things to worry about because there aren't so many "living targets" on the "obstacle" course (yes, we are referring to other skiers).

How quickly can you learn to ski? 

In a week!By having three to four 2-hour lessons and by training between these sessions. You will learn the basics, be able to take the ski lifts by yourself and roam around the gentle slopes.
Elodie reminds us of another advantage of taking lessons: "The instructor can indicate which piste to take according to your level of ability. The advantage is that, with lessons, you will be able to explore other pistes sooner thanks to the guidance of the instructor".

What happens in a ski lesson for an adult beginner?

Elodie, laughing: "It goes well! "
To demonstrate, Elodie dissects a typical ski lesson for adults for us:

there is a presentation of all of the equipment used: the names of the different elements, what they are for (so that you know what the instructor is talking about during the lessons)

you learn how to adjust the boots and poles, how to put on the skis, how to wear them, etc.

there is a presentation about the environment

the warm-up: an important factor to avoid hurting yourself during falls because of cold muscles and joints.

then it's time to learn how to move about with the skis on your feet. To start, this is done on a flat surface, so that you start to feel comfortable with the equipment, understand what it's like to move with the added weight and length on the feet. You also get to know the slippery terrain.

you learn how to stop and get up from a fall. Little by little, you will be taken on to increasingly steep slopes where you will learn how to stop and control our speed.

you practise sliding, making turns and how to take the ski lifts, so that you can ski unaided and by yourself.

the rules about how you should behave on the slopes are explained.

The instructor is also there to encourage you, create a relaxed atmosphere, explain the mountain environment, find out what is happening around you, the flora and fauna, etc. We told you that the lessons were fun. ;)

Learning to ski as an adult

With or without poles? how to ski for the first time?

Lilia shares her doubts with us. "A friend once wanted to teach me to ski, without much success... he told me to start without poles. Is this really what you should do?"

Fortunately, we have Elodie's professional advice. Nice try, but this is not necessarily the right way:
"With adults, you can start with poles, unlike children. This helps to give some balance. Afterwards, it will depend on the person. If I see someone not using their poles properly, I will help them to start without poles. I adapt the advice I give to each person because each person is different!
It is true that, for children, we start without poles (generally, poles are used from the "Première Etoile" level up). It is not easy for them to hold the poles given their weight, height and tiny hands. They will develop bad habits and a poor skiing posture, because they concentrate on gripping the poles or playing with them rather than focusing on their stance. We get them to focus on their balance first of all. At the beginning, it's like a game for them and they use their hands to discover a lot of things. Adults, on the other hand, are better at managing their bodies and focusing their attention."

Preparing well for your first alpine skiing lesson

what equipment and what outfit do you need?

The type of skis you choose is very important. If you decide to rent them, tell the rental company that you are a beginner skier and that you have never skied, so that they will give you the right type of skis and boots. High-performance skis will prevent you from making progress. What's more, you don't want to have to return to the ski hire company two days later to replace everything...

The clothing: it varies according to the energy deployed when skiing and the weather conditions. But Elodie recommends wearing a modular "multi-layer" outfit so that you can remove a layer if you are too hot.

Thegloves and thehelmet: essential accessories! In the event of a fall, the helmet will protect your head and a pair of gloves will prevent "burns" on the snow.

There's no need to take a backpack during your lessons. You can put a cereal bar in your pocket, along with some sun cream and a bottle of water should you feel thirsty (if your instructor is nice, you can ask them to carry it for you). ;)

Beginner skiers: tips and tricks you need to know

Elodie, a ski instructor, shares her best tips to stack the odds in your favour:

Go to resorts where there are beginner slopes. Small family resorts will be more affordable in terms of price.
If you can, book your ski holiday during an off-peak period. Outside the school holidays, not only will it be cheaper, but there will also be less people.
Start on a sunny day as much as possible. The conditions will be favourable for you to concentrate on your learning, and have a good time. The same cannot be said when it is cold and it's snowing in your face.
Remember to go to the bathroom before the ski session! It can be annoying having to go in the middle of a lesson with all the gear you have on you. (The ski suit is already a major obstacle, let's face it)
⊛ Eat at lunchtime as you will expend a lot of energy! The environment, the cold and the weight of the equipment will make you feel fatigue much more quickly, even if you don't feel it at first. Being in good physical shape to get off to a good start is essential.
Enjoy yourself, take in the landscapes and the magnificent surroundings.

And don't forget to enjoy a mulled wine or hot chocolate as a bonus at the end of a tiring day of sport. ;)

What is the best resort for learning to ski?

There is no best resort. Instead, it's a matter of choosing a resort where you feel comfortable and where there will be small slopes that are suitable for learning how to ski with peace of mind. And the best part is that it isn't too crowded.

Learning to ski as an adult

Book online for your next outing on the ski slopes

Book your accommodation, ski pass and equipment rental in our selection of ski resorts

Discovering the thrill of skiing, a sensation that you get nowhere else, feeling the cool wind on your face, being carried along and making fun of your friend who can't take the drag lift... We hope that you'll be able to enjoy all these experiences very soon! Thanks to Elodie's advice and your positive attitude, we know that you'll soon be skiing with pride like the "skiers" you secretly admire on the slopes. ENJOY THE FREEDOM!

Learning to ski as an adult


Content creator

As a fitness enthusiast, dancer and walker, I like to discover new passions and share them.
In order to make the most of life, sport is key for me as a source of well-being and for the memories it creates!

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