Happy belated Valentine's Day! This past weekend, I did something my SO has been begging me to do: go skiing with him!
I've been snowboarding before up in Shawnee, Pennsylvania and I'll be honest: I pretty much hated it. Even though I took a lesson, I still couldn't really get the hang of it and I pretty much spent the whole day falling on my ass. Sigh. Luckily my experience skiing was WAY better. I was told previously that typically if you dislike snowboarding, you should still try skiing and I'm glad I did.
We took a three hour drive outside of DC to Wisp Resort near Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Wisp Resort isn't on the top of the "Must Visit" Ski Resort lists, but honestly I think it was perfect for a quick weekend trip from DC. We left a little after 7am on Saturday, took one pit stop for breakfast, and made it to our cottage around 11am. While the drive up was a little bit treacherous because it snowed the night before, overall it wasn't too stressful.
The entire resort, while small, had a quaintness to it that wasn't too overwhelming for a beginner. Of course we went on a holiday weekend, so our prices were a bit more expensive than they typically are. We each paid $79 for our full day lift tickets and $59 for rentals and skied from about 11am-5pm with a quick lunch (pretty average) in the lodge.
Overall I had a good experience! I wouldn't say I loved it, but there were definitely times that I was enjoying myself and felt so accomplished when I made it down hills without falling. Plus, my arms got a GREAT workout. For all those ladies who want to try out skiing for the first time, here are some tips that I learned from my first time skiing:
Don't let the temperature scare you, layer up.
My number one worry was how cold I was going to be on the mountain. As we were driving up, the temperature hit -1 degrees and the weather forecast wasn't calling for it to get much warmer. I'm definitely a beach-over-mountain girl, so I was prepared to be completely miserable. Surprisingly, I wasn't cold at all! How? Layering up!
Don't think you need super fancy/expensive ski gear either - the only actual "ski gear" I had were some North Face snow pants. Other than that, everything else I wore was either something I already had or something I borrowed from a friend.
On top I wore a long sleeve cotton shirt (one of those cheap ones from Forever 21), a work-out jacket, my North Face fleece, and my everyday winter coat (a puffer jacket). On bottom I wore 2 pairs of leggings (one spandex, one sweater) and an old pair of yoga pants from Old Navy. Accessories were what really helped to be honest! I wore two pairs of fleece socks, waterproof gloves, a winter hat, a hand knitted scarf, googles, and the most important accessory I wore: a face mask (or neck gaiter).
The only times I felt noticeably cold was when I was going up the ski lift and that was because I wasn't moving. As long as you layer up, the cold shouldn't bother you too much!
Have a plan if you're with a group.
If you're heading out with a group, make sure you have a plan deciding on what trails everyone wants to go on and where you will eventually meet up. This is especially important if you have varying degrees of expertise. It wouldn't have been fun for the experts in my group to keep going down the bunny hill for hours like I did, so we agreed to spend some time splitting up.
Cell service is also pretty spotty out in the mountains (at least for Verizon it was) so its a good idea to come up with general meeting times and locations. But if you do happen to have service and are able to communicate via cell phone, bring a small portable charger that can fit in your pocket. If you're planing a full day of skiing, you don't want your phone to be dead at the end of the day especially if its the only way you can communicate with your group.
Unless you have some secret hidden talent for skiing, you are going to get very frustrated at some point. When I first put on my skis, I seriously though "Oh no, I've made a terrible mistake wanting to try this." And every time I fell, my SO wouldn't help me up because "I had to learn how to get up on my own" ... I seriously thought I was going to start crying. BUT I was able to take some deep breaths, stay positive, and by the end of the day I was so much better at skiing than I thought I would be (granted, I still can't get off the ski lift properly!).
Ask the experts.
Fact: a majority of the people you'll run into on the hills LOVE skiing and snowboarding - I mean, that's why they're there right!? Even before you get on the mountain, feel free to ask the employees who fit your boots and skis for some tips, they'll be sure to help you out. I also happened to run into a lot of ski instructors on the mountain and, even though I wasn't taking lessons from them, they were SO helpful whether it was by giving me tips, slowing down the ski lift for me, or helping me up after a spill.
Don't be afraid to give yourself a break.
After a full day on the mountain, I realized that skiing is a serious work-out and falling all the time gets you pretty beat up too. With that in mind, remember to take breaks. Being super exhausted on the top of a mountain isn't safe for anyone, so if you feel like you need a break - take it! It's better to be safe than to end your day injured.
And at the end of the day, don't be scared to throw in the towel even if everyone else in your group still wants to ski. I probably called it quits about an hour before everyone else did. Did I feel left out? Not at all! Instead I enjoyed a nice cold beer (Heavy Seas Loose Cannon to be exact ;D) in the lodge and had some quality time to relax on my own.
Have you been skiing before? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments!