Skiing and snowboarding are active winter sports that can be enjoyed for decades. Many people enjoy snow sports well into their 80s. These are sports that anyone, with a little determination, can learn rather quickly.
The benefits of skiing and snowboarding are numerous. These are healthy, outdoor winter activities that lift the spirit and exercise the body, plus they offer camaraderie, and many friendships are made on chairlift rides up the mountain. They offer you goals to work towards, challenging you to push yourself a little further each day, improving your skills and heightening your awareness of the environment. And they are carried out in a beautiful mountain atmosphere that, combined with the experience of controlled sliding down a snow-covered slope, is second to no other sport. Below is a First Timer's Guide, great for beginners or a refresher for those familiar with the sport and Hunter Mountain.To view the guide in PDF form click here.
Long recognized as the pioneer in snowmaking technology, Hunter Mountain has been recognized by the National Ski Areas Association for its dedication to the growth of snow sports, earning the industry award for having the "Best Program to Grow the Sport to New Participants."
With Hunter One, an independent training mountain enhanced by its own user-friendly lifts and specially designed terrain within the larger resort, beginners at Hunter easily master a sequential series of skills, gaining confidence at each level.
Hunter's state-of-the-art Learning Center streamlines the learning process by combining cutting edge equipment, unique teaching methods, and a dedicated beginner mountain with a facility designed to make getting from the parking area to the slopes as effortless as possible. Incorporating ticket sales, equipment rental, and lessons in one linear, logical process, our Learning Center makes getting onto the slopes easier than ever. One transaction buys your package. A few steps later, you're in rentals. With boots on and equipment in hand, step outside into the lesson area on the Learning Center deck, and then onto the snow with your instructor(s). On weekends and holidays, enter our Progressions Session Zone lessons where you can learn at your own pace. It's that simple!
Café sitting and actually getting out on the slopes are two very different pastimes. If you've spent the fall on the couch, it would be a good idea to begin toning the body a bit before venturing out on the mountain.
Both skiing and snowboarding require your body to be in adequate physical condition. Veteran skiers and boarders are naturally active people, but even they make a point of conditioning themselves before the first flakes fly. Experts cross train year-round, but you don't have to get intense. Simple exercises to strengthen your legs, abdominal, and back muscles will prepare you to enjoy your on-mountain experience. From knee bends to sit-ups, bending and stretching exercises will make your experience that much more enjoyable. Walking and climbing up or down stairs are great conditioners. Skip the elevator for a month before hitting the slopes and you'll amaze yourself! Snow sports are a great excuse to get into shape now and to stay toned all winter.
It's tempting to borrow equipment, especially when the boots actually seem to fit your feet. But you're better off renting. Here's why. All of our beginner equipment is designed for beginners. They're specifically engineered to turn more easily and are more forgiving than either upper level or budget equipment. Your boots will really match your feet; if you need a half size up or down, we can accommodate you. Your first time out should be enjoyable and productive. Our beginner packages include ski or snowboard rental equipment specifically matched to your size and stature.
Generally speaking, skiing is easier to learn but more difficult to master, and the opposite is true for snowboarding. However, everyone is different. Some people pick up snowboarding more easily than skiing, and some pick up skiing more quickly than snowboarding. The only way to know is to try it yourself! Another thing to remember when learning either sport – the first time might be difficult either way, but if you enjoy it enough to be persistent, then you will be skiing or boarding in no time!
You don't need to buy expensive ski or snowboard clothes to try the sport... you probably have everything you need in your closet.
Surprisingly enough, even though you're outside in the winter, you will perspire! Layering is the key. You don't need to invest in specific clothing, but dressing appropriately is important and may be done by selecting items from your existing wardrobe and wearing them in suitable combinations.
Pants: Un-insulated wind or rain pants and sweatpants under them can substitute insulated ski pants. Nylon running pants can break the wind, but sweat pants and/or long underwear under them are essential. By the way, don't tuck your pants into your boots. Ski pants are designed to fit over the tops of your boots. The only things that go inside your boots are your feet and one pair of socks. A note for boarders: snowboard-specific pants that have extra padding and waterproofing in all the right places are a good idea. Boarders spend more time sitting on the snow than do skiers. It's the nature of the sport, even for advanced riders. Good pants are invaluable!
Tops: A long-sleeved shirt (a turtle neck is a great idea) with a sweater and medium weight jacket offers a variety of options should the temperature change. On very cold days, a layer of long underwear worn on the upper body is a great insulator and may always be removed if conditions warrant. A ski jacket with underarm vents can be very effective at regulating body temperature.
Headgear: Cover your head! Your body loses 80% of its heat through your head. A hat is essential! A warm wool or fleece hat is ideal. Don't sweat "hat hair".... you can fix it after the last run and before you head out for drinks and dinner.
Socks: Wear one pair of light to medium weight socks! Your boots are designed to keep you warm. Don't cut off circulation to your toes or start your feet sweating with heavy socks.
Gloves/Mittens: Personal preference rules here. Generally, mittens are warmer but restrict dexterity. Glove liners are a viable option for some. Boarders tend to prefer long, waterproof mittens. Handwarmers are single-use pouches that produce heat for several hours and are used inside gloves or mittens.
Neckwear: Leave the long woolen scarf your grandmother knit for you at home. It's a potential hazard. You're much better off with a neck warmer, a non-allergenic fleece tube that slips over the head and keeps your neck toasty warm. This wonderful, inexpensive piece of apparel is actually long enough to be pulled up to cover your chin, mouth, and nose.
Extreme Cold: Insulated long underwear is priceless. The best ones are made of high-tech synthetic materials, but inexpensive cotton-poly blends work fine as well.
Accessories: Goggles protect your eyes from the sun and from the wind. Sunglasses are helpful, but don't block the wind. Tearing eyes and cold temperatures are not a fun mix. On nice days, headbands are less fuss than a hat. Sunscreen and lip balm are recommended.
Skip the blue jeans, unless they're worn under a waterproof layer. Knit wool mittens or any other non-windproof gloves should be avoided.
If you are arriving with equipment, the trek from your car to the Learning Center will be much easier if you know the proper way to carry your gear.
Skis: Place the skis base-to-base, with the brakes locked together. If you're outdoors and have plenty of space, carry the skis on a shoulder, with the ski tips in your hand. Your other hand is free to carry your poles (and boots unless you've changed footwear at your car). When indoors or near other people, carry the skis upright, with the tips pointing up and your hand below the binding toe piece.
Snowboard: Tuck your board under one arm like a stack of books and you're on your way.
Ticket Sales/Learning Center: The Learning Center is located adjacent to the Main Base Lodge, on your left as you look up at the Mountain. It houses everything you need to get out on the Hill, including tickets, lesson purchases, and rentals.
Check out a virtual tour of the learning center
Inside the learning center, you will be able to purchase your tickets, rentals, and lessons. For beginners, we highly recommend the following packages - which are all great deals!
What: The Try-Pak features three non-holiday visits complete with Lower Mountain lift tickets, group lessons and equipment rentals. There's no better way to learn to ski or ride.
Who: First-time skiers or riders (ages 13 & up).
When: Choose any three non-holiday days to learn how to ski or ride! Black-out dates apply. Ask about our on-demand lessons on weekends! Ages 13+. Programs offered daily (non-holiday) through 3/22/2015. One Try-Pak per person per season. Try-Paks cannot be purchased or used on holidays.
How much? $109
What: A single visit with Lower Mountain lift ticket, group lesson and equipment rental.
Who: First-time skiers and riders (ages 13 & up) who may not want the commitment of three visits.
When: Buy the Single-Pak any time. Programs offered daily through 3/22/2015.
How much? $79
What: A single visit includes a one hour private
lesson featuring one-on-one instruction, lower mountain lift ticket and
Who: First-time/ beginner lesson for skiers or riders who prefer exceptional personal attention.
When: Buy the Beginner Private Lesson Package any time at the Learning Center. Programs offered daily through the end of the season.
How Much? $125
Attaching your Lift Ticket: Lift tickets allow you access to the lifts and the slopes. Expect to show it to the lift attendant at least every time you board a lift. Attach it to something easily visible, but not someplace right next to your face. Avoid attaching it to your jacket's principal zipper, as when the zipper is pulled up to your neck, the ticket may flap in your face on your way down the hill. Most ski jackets have a lift ticket loop somewhere on the front. A jacket pocket zipper is often a convenient attachment place. Make sure to attach it to something you'll wear all day.... not on a glove or a hat.
Restrooms: Restrooms are conveniently located just before you enter the Rental Shop in the Learning Center. There is also a small shop where you can pick up any last minute items or accessories you may have forgotten.
Rental Shop: You will need to read and fill out a form on the computers at the beginning of the rental process. This must be complete before you pick up your ski or snowboard equipment. You may want to have a locker token with you when you enter the Rental Shop so that you may easily and safely store your street shoes, car keys, and other possessions.
Boot fitting: Both ski and snowboard boots are designed to hold your foot snugly to the surface of your skis or board. Any movement of the foot within the boot translates into loss of edge control and lessens performance. Boots are engineered to fit snugly. The critical area is the heel, which needs to be held tightly into the "heel cup" of the boot. Slide your foot into the boot, making sure that the tongue is pulled forward and out of the way. Push downwards on the heel of the boot to properly set your heel into the cup. Latch the buckles to a comfortable tightness, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Buckles may be readjusted after all have been fastened. Pay particular attention to the buckles on top of the instep of the foot as they hold your heel in place. When you stand up, your toes should have just enough room to wiggle. Press into the front of the boot by bending your knees. If your heel lifts up and out of the heel cup, the boots are too big.
Ski/Snowboard Length: Correct length is a correlation of your height, weight, and ability level. Modern shaped skis and snowboards turn much more easily than those of just a few years ago.
Are you goofy?: Snowboarders have to decide on their stance on the board. Most people are right-foot dominant, meaning their right leg is their "balance" foot. In this case, the right foot goes in the back binding, facing the rider to the right on the board. This is known as a "regular" stance. Some people are left-foot dominant, and ride facing the left side of the board.... this is known as "goofy" stance. A few ways to determine your stance: What foot do you kick a ball with? If someone gently pushes you, which foot steps forward first to control your balance? In other words, this is the foot that does most of the work by supporting the majority of your weight. Please note these methods may not correctly determine your stance, but that’s okay! You can change your stance during your lesson depending on what feels more comfortable.
Helmets: Helmets are strongly recommended for any age and any ski/board level. Even with caution, accidents happen on the slopes, and a helmet can save your life and prevent injury.
You've made it to the snow! Now the fun begins. Our instructors are trained to do one thing.... teach. All of our instructors are trained to teach first-time lessons in a very specific, effective method. On weekends and holidays, we provide Progression Sessions, which is zone-based teaching, meaning you can learn at your own pace! Any skier or rider who still needs to master any of the following points from First Time to Linking Turns can start at the zone that best suits their needs. During the week, our instructors will take you through our general group lessons. In either case, you'll start out by doing exercises to develop your balance and get you accustomed to the feeling of sliding, with a focus on teaching you to feel the ski or snowboard's "edge." Edge control is what the game is all about. By going through these simple exercises, you will quickly learn how to do the two rudimentary actions needed to progress... stopping when and where you want, and turning when and where you want. You shouldn't expect miracles your first time out. As we've said earlier, it takes three lessons for most people to reach the point where they can start to explore the mountain a little bit.
It's important that you pay attention to your instructor. While the exercises may seem a bit repetitive, they are important in the big picture. Not everyone learns at the same pace, mostly because some people are naturally more athletic than others. If you enjoy summer activities like surfing, skating or skateboarding, you'll have a distinct edge over those who don't. But don't give up hope if you feel that you can't do it.... you CAN do it!
The important thing to remember is not to overdo it. We don't recommend a trip to the top of the mountain after your first visit... you probably won't be ready for it. Spend some time in Hunter One practicing the exercises you learned in your lesson. Save the trip to the top for another day, when you're more prepared.
Remember what your instructor told you about staying in control. You should always be able to avoid a collision with other people, and initiate a stop.
Ski resorts across the country use a universal trail rating system. It's your responsibility to stay on terrain that you can handle, and avoid terrain that you cannot handle. The rating system utilizes five shapes to designate trail difficulty and terrain parks:
Green Circle: Easiest Trail
Blue Square: More Difficult
Black Diamond: Most Difficult
Double Diamond: Extremely Difficult
Keep in mind that these ratings apply to trails only within a particular resort and do not relate to other ski areas; a single diamond at Hunter Mountain may be considerably more difficult than a single diamond at another resort. While trail ratings do not change over the course of a day, the actual difficulty of a particular trail may change, due to skier use, weather, or other variables. Moguls are created naturally by skiers and snowboarders, and can have a major impact on the difficulty of a trail.
The National Ski Areas Association has developed rules that you need to be aware of and need to follow. Most skiing and snowboarding accidents can be directly attributed to someone not following one of these basic rules:
Winter sports can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in winter sports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers and snowboarders the responsibility for a great skiing experience.
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.
This is a partial list. Be safety conscious.Officially endorsed by: NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION.
Now that you've read through our First-Timer's Guide, check out Hunter Mountain..but first,
Check off this list!
[ ] Choose the program that best suites you or your family.
[ ] Check the weather and snow conditions at: www.HunterMtn.com or call 800-HunterMtn.
[ ] Dress for the conditions (lessons are given regardless of weather).
[ ] waterproof pants
[ ] warm jacket
[ ] hat or helmet (helmets included with all packages)
[ ] neck warmer
[ ] goggles or sunglasses
[ ] sunscreen
[ ] medium-weight socks
For more extensive information or answers to your specific questions, please call 800-HunterMtn to speak to an operator or e-mail email@example.com.