Learning To Ski As An Adult

Learning to Ski as an Adult: Advice from an Instructor

Last Updated on March 25, 2021 by James

Learning to ski as an adult to can feel like daunting task. The physical demands and coordination skills required seem like a bridge too far for many.

It’s a common belief that you need to start young if you want to excel on the slopes. This may be true in some cases, but it certainly doesn’t paint the full picture.

This article is designed to provide honest and practical advice for any adult that is learning to ski. We have looked at the subject through the eyes of an instructor, drawing on previous experience to give you the facts.

Can You Learn To Ski As An Adult?

Yes, adults can learn how to ski. Share on X

The myth that adults cannot learn how to ski has been around for too long. It has been proven time and time again that it’s possible to start skiing well into latter years.

In fact, many adults learn how to ski faster than kids. If you have the physical and mental capacity to learn, then age is a completely irrelevant number.

During my skiing career, I have successfully taught multiple 70+ year olds how to ski.

James King – Ski Instructor

The general consensus is that kids learn to ski faster due to their lack of fear. In most cases, if an adult can show the same bravery, they are more than capable of progressing at the same rate as a youngster.

Adult and child learning to ski
Adults are capable of learning faster than kids!

Is Skiing Difficult To Learn As An Adult?

Learning basic ski technique can be relatively straightforward for adults. It’s certainly possible learn how to control your speed, stop and turn within a matter of days.

However, the learning process can prove more or less challenging for each individual. Every skier learns at his or her own speed, so allow your technique to progress at a natural pace.

If you remain calm, listen to your instructor and are persistent with your practice; you will have no problem learning how to ski. Share on X

Skiing can sometimes be a frustrating sport, with a lot of trial and error required. However, maintaining a positive and humble attitude will go a long way on the beginner slopes.

Adult Beginner Ski Slope
Everyone needs to start somewhere!

What Attributes Are Required To Learn Skiing?

Skiing requires physical and mental strength to learn. If you possess the required skills, you will find skiing simple.

Physical Strength

In order to perform at your best on the mountain, you need to be in decent physical shape. It’s a common to see the most athletic adults progressing quickly through the beginner stages. However, this is not always the case.

Skiing is a sport that requires a large range of physical attributes. Cardio fitness, core strength, balance and coordination all affect your level of performance.

Although some skiers may possess the athletic ability to progress their technique, their development will stall without the proper balance and coordination.

Skiing is about balance, coordination, strength and fitness

Mental Strength

The problem most adults face when learning to ski is mental. Many adults are fearful when they’re on the mountain, which can severely hamper their progress.

When it comes to skiing, confidence is king. Share on X

The honest truth is that the fear of injury or embarrassment holds back most adults. It makes them hesitant to try new techniques and push past their comfort zone.

In addition, feeling fearful has a serious affect on your listening skills. If your ability to absorb information from your instructor is compromised, it is sure to slow your progress.

This is an attribute where kids have the upper hand. Their lack of fear often allows them to attempt and master new techniques at a faster pace.

If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough! Share on X
Skier flying off a jump
Remember: Confident doesn’t mean crazy!

Do Adults Need Ski Lessons?

If you are learning to ski for the first time, ski lessons are essential. Getting a good technical foundation is key if you want to enjoy your time on the slopes.

Learning correct body posture, ski control and turning technique are all crucial to your development. If you fail to learn these first steps correctly, it will hamper your future development.

There is also an abundance of free skiing information online. This is a fantastic way to get an understanding of the basic technique and key terminology before you arrive on the slopes.

Although helpful, online guides should be used to compliment your ski lessons. They should not be viewed as a substitute for a professional ski instructor.

In general, we recommend beginners book at least 3 or 4 days with an instructor. This is enough time to teach you how to use the mountain safely and give you the basic grounding required to ski beyond the beginner slope.

Where Should I Learn To Ski?

Choosing the right resort can make a big difference to your learning experience. If you want to improve your chances of fast progression, you should learn in a resort that’s set up for beginners.

Your first focus when choosing a location should be the beginner slope. This is where you will spend your first few days skiing, so you need to make sure it’s well equipped to aid your progression.

Following this, you should look for a ski area that has plenty of easy slopes. It’s unlikely that you will move beyond green and blue slopes on your first trip; so don’t get wowed by the large range of terrain on offer.

Ski slope
Look for ski resorts with suitable terrain

When you are new to skiing, your ability will limit the amount of terrain you’re capable of skiing. This means that looking for the biggest ski area will not be beneficial.

Smaller or ‘lesser-known’ resorts are often best for beginners. They provide a quiet learning environment, while usually keeping the cost of your ski holiday down as well.

Indoor slopes, dry ski slopes and endless slopes also provide a safe and effective learning environment. They help you to learn the basics before you arrive in resort, making them highly popular with ski beginners.

The biggest ski areas often have the most expensive lift tickets. Save yourself some money and learn at a smaller resort. Share on X
Endless ski slope
Artificial slopes are great for learning the basics (Image: SkiIndoor4810)

How Important Is Equipment?

The ski gear you use can have a significant impact on your performance. When you’re learning to make your first turns; you need equipment that’s going to help you, rather than hinder you!

Good quality ski gear can be expensive, so most adults choose to rent their equipment in the beginning. When you arrive at the rental shop, just tell them your level and they will set you up with the best skis, boots and poles for beginners.

Ski boots are the most important equipment choice for beginners. Poorly fitted boots can be detrimental to ski performance, while also causing severe discomfort.

Take the time to find the most comfortable ski boots available. They can have a huge impact on your performance. Share on X

Staying warm and dry is also important, so making sure you have effective ski clothing is essential. It’s also possible to rent ski clothing. However, if you plan on skiing more than once it’s usually beneficial to invest in your own gear.

Using equipment you’re comfortable with will make a big difference to your day on the slopes. It is a sure-fire way to improve your confidence, allowing you to maximise your learning potential.

Ski equipment
Equipment can make all the difference

Quick Tips For Adults Learning To Ski

  • Prepare physically before learning.
  • Choose comfortable ski boots.
  • Invest in warm and dry ski clothing.
  • Take lessons from a ski instructor.
  • Learn with a calm and relaxed attitude.
  • Be patient and accept you will make mistakes.
  • Continue practicing and don’t give up.
  • Keep smiling…you’re on holiday!

Summing Up

Skiing is an inclusive sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages. Although the physical and mental attributes required can pose a challenge for some, they are surmountable with the right motivation.

If you’re an adult embarking on your first ski trip, we are sure you have the skills to succeed on the slopes. If we have done our job well, this article will help to bust the myth that you need to be young to learn skiing.

If you head to the mountain with confidence, humility and joy; you will be amazed with your progression. Share on X

What’s your experience of learning to ski? Do you have some advice for adults who are struggling on the slopes? Leave a comment and share the knowledge!