My Experience Learning To Ski In Courchevel

My Experience Learning To Ski In Courchevel

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In the last installment I reviewed our stay at Les Airelles Courchevel, which was an unbelievably good hotel. There was something else that made our time in Courchevel special, though — I learned to ski. Well, sort of. I tried to learn to ski, I should say. I figured I’d share my experience with that, for anyone who might be in a similar boat (or for anyone who would be amused by the story).

Why I haven’t really skied up until now

As longtime OMAAT readers know, I review quite a few ski resorts, and it’s not because I ski. Rather Ford loves skiing, and it brings him a lot of joy. Not only am I happy when he’s happy, but I also enjoy visiting ski destinations, even without skiing.

While I’m not usually a fan of cold weather, there’s something magical about being in a snowy environment — it’s beautiful, I like the culture around skiing (mostly sitting inside and drinking warm alcoholic beverages), etc.

Okay, so why don’t I ski? Well, I’m a quirky and selectively fearful person:

  • The concept of putting six foot skis onto your legs and then barreling down a mountain seems kind of terrifying; that’s especially true because I’m not a very coordinated person to begin with
  • I do what I can to avoid bodily injury, and I just know of so many people who have been seriously injured from skiing
  • I’m a generally risk averse person, and I feel like I tempt fate enough by having to drive in South Florida, so I try to limit risk with other aspects of my life
  • In terms of irrational fears, I’m moderately afraid of chair lifts and gondolas, so that’s not a great starting point for skiing
  • I’m not really an adrenaline junkie, whether we’re talking skiing or roller coasters

Nonetheless, let me acknowledge a couple of things:

  • I’ve always thought that I’d enjoy aspects of skiing, like the unrivaled views, and the ability to disconnect and just enjoy nature
  • Ford has for years been encouraging me to learn to ski with a variety of strategies, ranging from being sweet to guilting me
You don’t get this kind of view without skiing!

My previous failed attempt at skiing

In 2015 I wrote a post about my first time trying to ski, which was a complete disaster:

  • I decided to try my luck at Ski Dubai, the famous indoor ski slope in Dubai
  • I had no sort of instruction (aside from Ford showing me the “pizza” motion), and just put on skis and went
  • Long story short, I basically just slid and fell all the way down the slope, I was really embarrassed, it sucked, and I swore off skiing forever

Learning to ski in Courchevel with a great guide

Ford had a ski guide in Courchevel, and his plan was to ski every day. I wasn’t initially planning on skiing, but when Ford mentioned to the guide (Francesco) that he really wanted me to learn to ski, Francesco offered to teach me.

So on our third day in Courchevel I skied for around two hours, and on our fourth day I skied for over three hours. Or perhaps “skiing” is too strong of a term. More accurately, I was on the slopes for that amount of time, mostly being passed by three year olds.

I’ve gotta be honest, I was nervous about learning to ski. There’s a huge mental block when you’re an adult and you can’t do something basic, and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. I was getting in my head way too much.

Fortunately Francesco couldn’t have done a better job with exposing me to skiing:

  • We started really slow, and only progressed as I was comfortable
  • He never made me feel like I was doing a bad job (even though I’m sure I was), but rather just positively reinforced me
  • I know this sounds weird, but I was put much more at ease when I learned that Francesco is terrified of flying, since it made me feel like there was a mutual vulnerability… that’s right, he’s scared of getting on a transatlantic flight, rather than scared of jumping out of a helicopter and skiing at 100km+ per hour down the side of the tallest mountain in the area

We started by just getting used to the concept of having skis on, one foot at a time. Then we headed up to the “magic carpet,” which is basically a very shallow area where you can learn the basics, and then there’s a little belt that takes you to the top (hence the name).

Learning to ski in Courchevel
Learning to ski in Courchevel
Learning to ski in Courchevel

After about an hour there, we did some shallow runs, and I was starting to feel confident both about braking and turning.

Learning to ski in Courchevel

That was about it for the first day. The next day we skied for a couple of hours, and then after that Ford joined us. I was amazed by how quickly we were up on legitimately high mountains. It was kind of terrifying, but I took my time, and by the end of it I was feeling pretty good about my progress.

Skiing in Courchevel
Trying not to freak out…
Group skiing picture

Where do I go from here?

I really enjoyed learning to ski. I feel much more comfortable about the concept of skiing than I ever have in the past, and I’m sure I could get to the point where I’m half decent at it. So, will I keep trying to learn to ski the next time I’m at a ski destination?

  • I definitely want to get better at skiing, so at an absolute minimum I’d love to take a few more lessons
  • I’ve heard that skiing is a bit like riding a bike, and that once you learn it you don’t really forget it, so I’m curious if OMAAT readers who are skiers agree?
  • As much as I love the concept of skiing, I can’t help but still feel a bit uneasy about the risk associated with it in terms of braking bones, or even more serious injury; my biggest fear is simply that you have a bunch of people moving all over the place at completely different speeds (like South Florida roads), so there’s a lot of trust required of others as well, especially if you’re going slow

Bottom line

I’m grateful that I finally had the opportunity to learn to ski, especially with such a patient and enthusiastic instructor. While the concept of skiing kind of scares me, easing my way into it made it a lot more fun. I obviously still have a long way to go, but at least I have the basics down.

I hope to continue to learn to ski, though it remains to be seen if I’ll keep it up in the long run, since I am still kind of scared. And speaking of being scared, maybe roles need to be reversed, and I need to get Francesco over his fear of flying.

I’d love to hear from OMAAT readers who are skiers, as well as OMAAT readers who share the fears that I have! Where do you stand on skiing?

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  1. Leigh Member

    Great article, and a big congratulations!! And the scenery there is gorgeous!

    I "learned" how to ski in my young 20's on a European backpacking trip in the Swiss Alps (on the Schilthorn in the Berner Oberland). I had no plans to learn or had the appropriate clothes, I was just there for the scenery, but that's what happens after drinking with two German backpackers who insist on teaching you. No injuries, and an excuse...

    Great article, and a big congratulations!! And the scenery there is gorgeous!

    I "learned" how to ski in my young 20's on a European backpacking trip in the Swiss Alps (on the Schilthorn in the Berner Oberland). I had no plans to learn or had the appropriate clothes, I was just there for the scenery, but that's what happens after drinking with two German backpackers who insist on teaching you. No injuries, and an excuse to extend my stay to hang with the guys:)

    Unfortunately my skills never developed much further than that, which was a few decades ago:):)!!

  2. Timtamtrak Member

    Stories like this are what keep me coming back to your blog every day - viewing your experiences so personally and genuinely. Lovely story to share and it’s so sweet to see all the nice comments from loyal readers.

  3. NYGuy24 Gold

    Good for you. I only played with skis a little bit as a kid so I totally identify with all your concerns. I too am not a fan of the ski lifts. I can do the enclosed gondolas but when it comes to the little ski chairs going high in the air I am not a fan. Last one I was on was at the great wall of China. That little seat went soo high...

    Good for you. I only played with skis a little bit as a kid so I totally identify with all your concerns. I too am not a fan of the ski lifts. I can do the enclosed gondolas but when it comes to the little ski chairs going high in the air I am not a fan. Last one I was on was at the great wall of China. That little seat went soo high in the air where it felt like it would be certain death if I slipped out and fell. Was a stressful ride and then I found out the other side of the great wall had the enclosed gondolas.

  4. Matt Guest

    Glad to hear you're loving the sport! As a former ski patroller I'd like to share some tips and insights about staying safe. Accidents do happen, but are really not all that common. On a busy day at a major resort in California we might have 40 injuries out of ~15,000 skiers and boarders.

    1. Always stop where you can be seen.
    2. Always be looking around and aware of your situation.
    ...

    Glad to hear you're loving the sport! As a former ski patroller I'd like to share some tips and insights about staying safe. Accidents do happen, but are really not all that common. On a busy day at a major resort in California we might have 40 injuries out of ~15,000 skiers and boarders.

    1. Always stop where you can be seen.
    2. Always be looking around and aware of your situation.
    3. Study the map and plan your route so you don't end up on a trail too difficult.
    4. If you fall backwards, don't try to save it. This is how most people tear their ACL.

  5. Andy Diamond

    Ben, you definitely took the right approach. While I learnt skiing as a kid, my partner learnt as an adult. Initially, I tried to teach him, but that was a disaster, both in terms learning progress and also because we had huge arguments (we generally get along very well and rarely have arguments). I think it was similar with Ford and you when you first tried in Dubai.

    So we also decided to hire...

    Ben, you definitely took the right approach. While I learnt skiing as a kid, my partner learnt as an adult. Initially, I tried to teach him, but that was a disaster, both in terms learning progress and also because we had huge arguments (we generally get along very well and rarely have arguments). I think it was similar with Ford and you when you first tried in Dubai.

    So we also decided to hire an instructor and my partner started to make progress very rapidly. That's also when I got back into the story, because he took class only in the morning and in the afternoon we practiced. I strictly adhered the curriculum of the professional teacher, just rehearsing what he taught in the morning class.

    Within one (covid) winter, he learnt to ski very well and now we go and ski together without any problem. He's still afraid of the black slopes, but allows me try them on my own, while he goes down the red one.

  6. eric Guest

    no snow for me ;-) Kind of funny you experience driving in south florida as risk full. Good you did try to ski though, so you can Ford next time

  7. Johan Guest

    I’m a former ski instructor and a big fan of your blog. It’s always great to hear these kinds of stories when someone discovers the wonderful world of skiing. I hope you’ll continue to go skiing and maybe start to love doing it. (And yes, I would definitely say that it’s a bit like riding a bike).

    1. Simon Cain Guest

      I learned to ski at the age of 45 because my wife and step daughter were already skiing. The first week was a real nightmare. I lost half a stone. But I was desperate to continue.
      I kept on trying and I have to say it took a long time. A few years but now I am loving it. It was all worthwhile. Now I am 65 this year and am looking forward to lot a of skiing in retirement. It was all worthwhile. I am a music teacher and like music practise is required.

  8. GUWonder Guest

    Don’t give up and keep trying to move forward with picking up skiing.

    My parents didn’t ski even as young adults, but they were motivated adults, already into their mid-life years, who had friends who encouraged them and taught them beyond just the formal ski lesson times. And they continued skiing even for some years beyond typical US retirement age. Not just because the rest of the family loves skiing, but because they too had...

    Don’t give up and keep trying to move forward with picking up skiing.

    My parents didn’t ski even as young adults, but they were motivated adults, already into their mid-life years, who had friends who encouraged them and taught them beyond just the formal ski lesson times. And they continued skiing even for some years beyond typical US retirement age. Not just because the rest of the family loves skiing, but because they too had fallen in love with skiing.

    You can do it. And don’t be embarrassed to plow ahead in learning despite the stumbles. There is almost always a much younger and more graceful skier better than even most of the other skiers on the mountains. We are all at different levels and points in life when it comes to skiing, but that’s part of the fun: seeing others do it better and trying to do better ourselves too.

  9. Sexy_kitten7 Guest

    OMG! How long have you known Ford? I'm a bunny level skier and there's nothing more thrilling than going down a new path and wondering am I going to kill myself today?

  10. tuotuo Member

    I'm with the "amused by the story" group.Love this post even there are no POINTS in it.

  11. Wayne Guest

    I guess, even if you didn't enjoy skiing, how could you not enjoy the view! As a former ski instructor at Park City, UT its fun to see adults conquer their fears and then enjoy it. I was wishing this had been my experience at Courchevel but alas, I blew out my ACL there a few years back. I can vaguely remember seeing the uphill private airport as I shuffled my way back to our...

    I guess, even if you didn't enjoy skiing, how could you not enjoy the view! As a former ski instructor at Park City, UT its fun to see adults conquer their fears and then enjoy it. I was wishing this had been my experience at Courchevel but alas, I blew out my ACL there a few years back. I can vaguely remember seeing the uphill private airport as I shuffled my way back to our room at lower-budg Courchevel 1820.

    I've skied most all of the Rockies and a dozen or so resorts in the Alps. Generally speaking, the cost of lift tickets in Eurpope is far less than the US but the cost of rentals is higher. European resorts place a high priority on a skiing lifestyle that includes a long epic lunch and a few runs in the morning and afternoon. Resorts in the US are becoming far more service and culinary minded (given skiers are a wealthy demographic), the challenge is with the advent of Ikon and Epic passes, the numbers of visitors has skyrocketed leading to loooong lift lines. Misery in my book.

    After reading this, I couldn't fathom letting someone take my boots on/off or wait for me at a restaurant in Pillsbury Dough Boy hat - but maybe you're more bougee than me. So maybe European resorts are more up your alley.

    Incidentally, we had just skied Chamonix, France just before your trip to Courchevel and I can definitely say you had much more snow. Thanks for your blog, I've been reading it for years!

  12. Azamaraal Diamond

    Don't feel bad about Dubai. Having skied Whistler (occasionally a careful expert slope like the chair) we skied Dubai before we left for good (a touristy last gasp along with wild wadi). Not easy at all. Can't say that my performance was anything other than safely done without mishap. So you chose a much better way to learn the second time.

    I started on wooden skis with cable bindings and eventually ended up on Rossignol...

    Don't feel bad about Dubai. Having skied Whistler (occasionally a careful expert slope like the chair) we skied Dubai before we left for good (a touristy last gasp along with wild wadi). Not easy at all. Can't say that my performance was anything other than safely done without mishap. So you chose a much better way to learn the second time.

    I started on wooden skis with cable bindings and eventually ended up on Rossignol 205's. Today they would probably have me on 190's as they are so much easier to turn and control.

    Enjoy the winter. I much prefer Rangali. Snorkeling is so lovely except for the sunburn.

  13. Iowan Guest

    Good job Ben! Happy for you!

    At 47 I took my first skiing lessons last year with my 2 kids. I barely made it to the 2nd slope but my kids enjoy seeing me suffer. My son has done the black diamond comfortably. I enjoy the 2 hour drive to the slope (they are my captive audience and unsolicited ski coaches). It is one of the few things to look forward to in winter.

  14. Darlene Guest

    Ben, you are the best!!! I loved this post and your willingness to invite your readers to know you deeply. I think we can all relate to this post in some area of our life.

  15. Gaurav Community Ambassador

    I relate so much to this. I learned skiing in my 30s in the north east. I am shocked by the number of stories about people whose friends take them to mountains and then expect them to ski with little or no instruction... I was glad to get some group lessons to at least learn the basics. Of course spending a half day mastering the bunny slope at Mt. Washington made me over confident and...

    I relate so much to this. I learned skiing in my 30s in the north east. I am shocked by the number of stories about people whose friends take them to mountains and then expect them to ski with little or no instruction... I was glad to get some group lessons to at least learn the basics. Of course spending a half day mastering the bunny slope at Mt. Washington made me over confident and I went to a much higher slope. Even though it was rated green I mentally froze looking down from the height and had trouble making my turns and staying in control. Ended up falling multiple times, splitting my pants and walkng most of the way down to the lodge. That was it for the trip but I'm glad I didn't give up on it completely. It's great to get some exercise in the winter and there is some real beauty out there on a quiet day coming down a slope.

  16. Francisco C Guest

    Congrats on learning! Here are some pointers.
    1. Stick with greens and easy blues.
    2. Try to avoid skiing on excessively crowded days.
    3. When you are going to turn, be sure no one is barreling towards the area where you are turning into. It’s like driving… look before switching lanes.
    4. If the ski binding doesn’t click correctly, take it off and clean the snow away and retry.
    5....

    Congrats on learning! Here are some pointers.
    1. Stick with greens and easy blues.
    2. Try to avoid skiing on excessively crowded days.
    3. When you are going to turn, be sure no one is barreling towards the area where you are turning into. It’s like driving… look before switching lanes.
    4. If the ski binding doesn’t click correctly, take it off and clean the snow away and retry.
    5. Always ski under control. No need to go fast.
    6. Wear helmet
    7. Don’t ski off-piste or among trees.

  17. TheGaffer Guest

    Bravo! Stick with a good ski teacher and you’ll be fine. And stick to what you want to do. Never get pushed into doing a slope you don’t feel confident about.

  18. skimegheath Gold

    I was older when I learnt. I am a massive control freak so skiing in control is important to me. Have had loads of private lessons (with the same instructor who likes to push me). It is such good fun!

  19. JB Guest

    I learned when I was in college and feel like I am a reasonably confident skier now. The thing that scares me most about skiing is other skiers. I rarely just fall down but I have been hit by other people who were out of control, not watching, etc, etc. I think the culture and availability of alcohol and drugs in many ski areas has only exacerbated that problem. That said, I love skiing enough...

    I learned when I was in college and feel like I am a reasonably confident skier now. The thing that scares me most about skiing is other skiers. I rarely just fall down but I have been hit by other people who were out of control, not watching, etc, etc. I think the culture and availability of alcohol and drugs in many ski areas has only exacerbated that problem. That said, I love skiing enough that when I was able, I bought a place at a ski mountain! (And in all honesty, the summers there are just as amazing as the winters!)

  20. Leon YYC Guest

    Well done! If you made it off the magic carpet in two hours, that's a lot of progress. (I'm a ski instructor and have seen many people on the carpet for days.) If you're ever in YYC (Calgary, Alberta), let me know and I'll take you multiple resorts in the Canadian Rockies!

    1. TM Member

      I think the Fairmont Banff or Lake Louise might be calling his name for next year

  21. Kris Guest

    I just learned to ski this season at 38, after moving from Texas to Colorado in September. Started out with three 2-hour group lessons in a free program for complete beginners in January and really enjoyed it, so I bought a season pass at Monarch this spring and now have been trying to go every chance I get. One thing that was helpful for me is that I've been at mostly small (by Colorado standards)...

    I just learned to ski this season at 38, after moving from Texas to Colorado in September. Started out with three 2-hour group lessons in a free program for complete beginners in January and really enjoyed it, so I bought a season pass at Monarch this spring and now have been trying to go every chance I get. One thing that was helpful for me is that I've been at mostly small (by Colorado standards) resorts with much lighter traffic, so especially midweek, I feel like I have the entire slope to myself most of the time. That way I'm neither self conscious while learning, nor worried about collisions.

  22. Bret Guest

    Ben,

    I just returned to skiing this winter after 12 years off. It really was just like riding a bike, I was able to immediately return to it without issues. I’m sure what you learned this winter will come back to you relatively quickly the next time to try it.

    I’d also recommend skiing outside of peak periods, at more remote resorts, or at resorts with a daily skier cap, which may help...

    Ben,

    I just returned to skiing this winter after 12 years off. It really was just like riding a bike, I was able to immediately return to it without issues. I’m sure what you learned this winter will come back to you relatively quickly the next time to try it.

    I’d also recommend skiing outside of peak periods, at more remote resorts, or at resorts with a daily skier cap, which may help any safety fears you have when it comes to other skiers. Big Sky, MT could be a good fit - skier volume is fairly low for a US resort, and you could review the new montage hotel. The resort is so large that you could easily find uncrowded areas to ski.

  23. John Derek Martin Guest

    Ben, long time reader, and love your pages. Welcome to skiing! I am 58, started at age 2, skiied every year since, NEVER hurt myself at all. I do blacks, cat ski, just heli skiied, etc. So, you are way younger, nothing to worry about, keep it up - it is not just a sport, it is a lovely way of life for the cold months,. Also, really nice people in the ski community.

  24. Sue Guest

    I pretty much had the same experience. P2 really loves it but I am averse to falling down and getting seriously hurt. I also am very terrified of ski lifts. I can't get on or off properly. But my competitive spirit got the best of me, so I had to try to learn. (This is also what led me to learning to scuba dive while being over the top claustrophobic.) I really just wanted for...

    I pretty much had the same experience. P2 really loves it but I am averse to falling down and getting seriously hurt. I also am very terrified of ski lifts. I can't get on or off properly. But my competitive spirit got the best of me, so I had to try to learn. (This is also what led me to learning to scuba dive while being over the top claustrophobic.) I really just wanted for us to be able to do things together. I would very much encourage people to take a lesson or two, do the magic carpet ride a few times and then try the greens. It makes a huge difference to have some instruction. The only downside is I have to basically start over each time I go to the slopes, because I don't go very often. I think the "skill" is still there, but I have to get over the fear each time.

  25. Joshua Guest

    I learned to ski growing up, but we went every couple of years. I really enjoy the bike analogy, although it usually takes me a day to get my "ski" legs back. I love to learn new techniques, so I always get a ski lesson at the beginning of the season or trying out a new ski resorts. This has two positives 1) I learn something new and refine my technique. 2) With most ski...

    I learned to ski growing up, but we went every couple of years. I really enjoy the bike analogy, although it usually takes me a day to get my "ski" legs back. I love to learn new techniques, so I always get a ski lesson at the beginning of the season or trying out a new ski resorts. This has two positives 1) I learn something new and refine my technique. 2) With most ski lessons you get to skip the line for the ski lift which really adds to the number of runs you can do in a day (or half day!). Glad that you enjoyed this ski experience.

  26. Andrew Guest

    I only ski once a year or so, but I agree with the bike saying. I'm always nervous about remembering how to do it, but it takes about 5 minutes for me to get back into the fun of it.

    I'm a fan of skiing at Sunshine Village in Banff, AB. I've always had a great time there, great views, friendly instructors and there's lots of terrain. Can't wait to see your skiing reviews.

  27. Drbubba Guest

    Happy to hear you are giving it a chance. I met you at the St Regis Deer Valley a few years ago. I learned to ski around the same age you are. Deer Valley has excellent instructors and it has terrain well suited for beginners. Good luck and hope I run into you again.

  28. Never In Doubt Guest

    Learned at 30.

    Was a good call, or my kids would have grown up either not skiing or doing it only with strangers. They both love it.

  29. Khatl Gold

    Still never done it, though I've had it booked twice, but had to cancel last minute both times. The first time I had it all booked, I then sprained my wrist a week before going. The second time I had it all booked, my other half broke a thumb two weeks before going. Fate is definitely telling us to avoid ever going skiing!

  30. Matt Guest

    I started skiing when I was around 3 years old. 31 years later, i still enjoy skiing. From fast runs on the slopes to Deep Powder runs...

  31. Andy Guest

    Awesome, Ben! I learned as an adult a couple of years ago and only sporadically go (too many other awesome travel goals to spend all my PTO on the slopes), so I agree it’s like riding a bike. I’m at the point where I actually wish I’d learned earlier, as like you it took some convincing from those close to me.

    Nothing is 100% safe - I think if you’re sensible with which runs you...

    Awesome, Ben! I learned as an adult a couple of years ago and only sporadically go (too many other awesome travel goals to spend all my PTO on the slopes), so I agree it’s like riding a bike. I’m at the point where I actually wish I’d learned earlier, as like you it took some convincing from those close to me.

    Nothing is 100% safe - I think if you’re sensible with which runs you choose and don’t try to impress others (go at your own pace) the risk is well worth the reward. Between gators, traffic, hurricanes and bad people you’re far more likely to get in trouble in south Florida than up a mountain ;)

  32. Dan Guest

    This post exemplifies why I enjoy this site, so real and personal.

  33. Debo Member

    As someone who learned to ski at 40 years old (also married a skier), this story resonates with me big time. Had all the same feelings as you Ben. It definitely gets better and you will retain everything you’ve learned. Definitely recommend taking a formal lesson. After a beginners session in Tahoe, I then took an intermediate one at Beaver Creek and made huge improvements. Keep it up!

  34. Kyrial Guest

    Good for you Ben! No need to feel self conscious about learning to ski. Whether as a child, teen , or adult every expert out there was once just like you, probably a bit like Bambi on ice. To any experienced skier all beginners look the same and can be easily identified no matter their age, clothing, or equipment. Perhaps it will provide you with some comfort to know that, rather than viewing you with...

    Good for you Ben! No need to feel self conscious about learning to ski. Whether as a child, teen , or adult every expert out there was once just like you, probably a bit like Bambi on ice. To any experienced skier all beginners look the same and can be easily identified no matter their age, clothing, or equipment. Perhaps it will provide you with some comfort to know that, rather than viewing you with derision, advanced skiers mostly will take no note of you at all.

    One simple tip to pass along for your next lesson. Get some instruction on how to carry your skis and poles from place to place, manage your gloves and goggles, and adjust your boots so that they stay comfortable throughout the day. Skiing is very gear intensive and achieving some mastery of equipment management will greatly reduce your stress and allow for more focus on the actual sliding on snow portion of the program.

    Have fun and save energy for that apres that you love!

    1. pstm91 Diamond

      That's actually one of the best tips I've heard. I am an experienced skier, but I feel like no one ever mentions "learning" the gear etiquette and that can hugely improve your experience. Nothing worse than when you were a kid and your skis split, poles were falling, and goggles dangled off the back of your helmet!

  35. x Member

    If you french fry when you should pizza, you're gonna have a bad time!

  36. Jm Guest

    Yes I took 25 years of skiing and picked it up like a bike. Muscle memory. If you learn to control yourself the risks are overblown as you can go slow.

  37. pstm91 Diamond

    To your point, some places are much better to learn than others and obviously a great instructor makes all the difference. Learning at an indoor "mountain" in a place that has no history of skiing - "you're going to have a bad time..." (hopefully someone gets that reference).

    Courchevel is far from my favorite location but the 3 valleys do offer some great skiing, especially off piste. I believe it's the largest total ski area...

    To your point, some places are much better to learn than others and obviously a great instructor makes all the difference. Learning at an indoor "mountain" in a place that has no history of skiing - "you're going to have a bad time..." (hopefully someone gets that reference).

    Courchevel is far from my favorite location but the 3 valleys do offer some great skiing, especially off piste. I believe it's the largest total ski area in the world, with something like 400 miles of pistes. Ben, since it seems that you and Ford are booking more travel agent rates nowadays, I would highly recommend checking out Lech next winter/spring. That's a great place to learn and I think it's a WAY more charming town than Courchevel.

    1. Morgan Gold

      Agreed - Ben I was in Lech just before the pandemic started and loved it, great skiing and beautiful town!!!

  38. Jef Guest

    As a person who mostly learned to ski as an adult, I think you're on the right track, and lessons are essential to get the confidence and the foundations correct.

    While the Alps are nothing to sneeze at, North America has such spectacular options for basic and intermediate skiers that it makes for a amazing winter travel option.

    My experience is that once you get the basics down (stopping, parallel turns, speed management), you can...

    As a person who mostly learned to ski as an adult, I think you're on the right track, and lessons are essential to get the confidence and the foundations correct.

    While the Alps are nothing to sneeze at, North America has such spectacular options for basic and intermediate skiers that it makes for a amazing winter travel option.

    My experience is that once you get the basics down (stopping, parallel turns, speed management), you can mitigate 99.99% of the bodily risk by familiarizing yourself with the trail map and skiing conservatively on groomed slopes. Of course as you improve you might be tempted to be more adventurous - steeps, glades, moguls, off-piste, powder, etc... - and the risk will rise accordingly but only with your explicit consent.

    Way to go, Lucky.

  39. Omar Guest

    I agree with you completely. The risk/reward is not there for me with skiing so why pay huge sums of cash to do something I don't really enjoy just because of peer pressure?

    Having said that, it's usually more skilled skiers who get in serious accidents because they take risks a beginner wouldn't take. Sometimes too much confidence is a killer.

  40. Leo Guam Guest

    Happy to hear your experience. If learning to ski was easy, everyone would do it. Yes, skiing is like riding a bike. It’s also quite expensive (lodging, courses, equipment, etc.) so the experience itself is also a privilege for most, enjoy it! Your medical concerns are valid, as are risks with many adventure based activities. You just gotta roll with the punches.

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Kyrial Guest

Good for you Ben! No need to feel self conscious about learning to ski. Whether as a child, teen , or adult every expert out there was once just like you, probably a bit like Bambi on ice. To any experienced skier all beginners look the same and can be easily identified no matter their age, clothing, or equipment. Perhaps it will provide you with some comfort to know that, rather than viewing you with derision, advanced skiers mostly will take no note of you at all. One simple tip to pass along for your next lesson. Get some instruction on how to carry your skis and poles from place to place, manage your gloves and goggles, and adjust your boots so that they stay comfortable throughout the day. Skiing is very gear intensive and achieving some mastery of equipment management will greatly reduce your stress and allow for more focus on the actual sliding on snow portion of the program. Have fun and save energy for that apres that you love!

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Johan Guest

I’m a former ski instructor and a big fan of your blog. It’s always great to hear these kinds of stories when someone discovers the wonderful world of skiing. I hope you’ll continue to go skiing and maybe start to love doing it. (And yes, I would definitely say that it’s a bit like riding a bike).

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Dan Guest

This post exemplifies why I enjoy this site, so real and personal.

3
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