Beginner’s Guide

Your Handbook to Getting Started on the Slopes. The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors have put the following video series together to help you navigate your first day on snow. Please enjoy these helpful tips to get you started.

Skiing Must Knows

Getting Started: Today’s skis are constructed to make learning and turning far easier than ever before. Knowing a few basic facts about your equipment will help set you up for success on your first day on the hill.

Getting the Boot: Comfort is the Key

  • The most important thing is that the boots are comfortable and fit your feet. Ski boots come in traditional American sizes and "mondo point," which is the length of the boot in centimeters.
  • When trying on boots, wear one pair of medium-weight or light-weight socks.
  • The fit should be snug and your heel should remain in place when flexing the knee and ankle forward into the boot.
  • Your toes should barely touch the inside of the boot and should slide back slightly when you bend your knee forward.
  • Make sure there aren’t any pressure points or spots that pinch your feet or calves.
  • Remember boots will stiffen in the cold.
  • Bindings hold your boots to the skis and are designed to release when you need them to during a fall.
  • Poles are used to help you with your balance and rhythm while skiing. Poles can be made from fiberglass, aluminum or carbon fiber

A Few Key Pointers

  • When renting skis, discuss your skiing experience with the technician and don’t exaggerate your ability or experience.
  • Skis should be about chin high for beginners. Specifically, the tip should land between the chin and nose. Edges should be sharp and bases should be freshly waxed.
  • It’s important to note your exact weight, height, age and skier type (beginners are type I). These factors determine your DIN (Deutsch Industrial Norm) setting on the bindings. DIN numbers correspond to the torque needed to release a ski boot out of the binding.
  • After sliding into the boot, your foot should feel snug (not painful) everywhere. With ski boots, your toes should touch the front until you drive your knees forward. Your toes should then pull back, leaving a little wiggle room for comfort.
  • Don’t tuck pant legs into boots. The boots are designed to hug your shin and calf, so you don’t want any extra fabric to interfere.

How to Ski: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 1

How to Ski: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 2

How to Ski: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 3

Snowboarding Must Knows

Getting Started: Today’s snowboards are constructed to make learning and turning far easier than ever before.  Knowing a few basic facts about your equipment will help set you up for success on your first day on the hill.

A Few Key Pointers

  • As far as length goes, your board should fall somewhere between your chin and your nose (when stood up on its tail) and be wide enough so that your feet don’t hang over the edge more than half an inch.
  • Beginners will generally want a more forgiving (softer) board to learn on.
  • When renting a board, discuss your riding experience with the technician and don’t exaggerate your ability or experience.
  • Lastly, you’ll need to know your stance (regular or goofy). This is different for every person, but is usually the same as the leading foot on skateboards or surfboards. There is no right or wrong here and remember you can always change if you start to find that you’re more comfortable with one foot over the other.

Proper Boot Fitting

Boots are the primary connection point to your board and as such are arguably your most important piece of snowboard equipment. Uncomfortable feet can lead to all kinds of problems with snowboarding, so make sure your boots fit properly. Some initial fit tips for boots include:

  • When trying on boots, wear the socks you’ll be wearing up to the hill. A medium-weight wool or other moisture-wicking sock is best.
  • The fit should be snug. Remember, the foam in your boots will pack out slightly as you break them in, so you want them tight at the beginning but not painful.
  • Your heel should remain in place when bending the knee and ankle forward.
  • Walk around and make sure there aren’t any pressure points or spots pinching your feet. Common problem areas include on the bridge of the foot, the heel and around the ankle bones

How to Snowboard: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 1

How to Snowboard: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 2

How to Snowboard: A Beginner’s Guide — Part 3

Know the Code

Common Sense, it’s one of the most important things to keep in mind and practice when on the slopes. At Mountain Creek we believe that, helmet use, respect, personal responsibility and common sense are very important when cruising down the mountain. We encourage all skiers and snowboarders to familiarize themselves with the responsibility code below.  The National Ski Area’s Association developed Your Responsibility Code to help skiers and snowboarders be aware that there are elements of risk in snowsports that a little common sense and personal awareness can help reduce.

Know the Code

Your Responsibility Code

  1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

KNOW THE CODE: IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.