According to Talia Freeman, marketing manager at Beech Mountain Resort, a lot of would be skiers decide they don’t like the sport before they even get on the mountain because they find the process of getting the gear and getting around intimidating. Don’t let ski equipment keep you off the slopes, you’d be missing so much. It’s not as hard as it sounds and once you get used to it, you’ll be walking in those ski boots like a pro. Here is a Beginner’s Guide to Ski Rental and Gear and what you need to know to look like a pro.
- Clothing Rental: If you are renting clothing (usually just jackets and pants) from the ski resort, do this first. Clothing rental is likely not in the same place as equipment rental and you’ll want to be dressed for the slopes when you get your boots and skis.
- Rental Boots: If you’ve never worn ski boots, it’s an odd feeling. They are designed with a slant at the back to keep you leaning forward, the stance you’ll need going down the slope. They are also very rigid to protect your ankles. Make sure you get a good fitting boot. Allow extra room for bulky socks and if it doesn’t feel right in the equipment room, it won’t get better on the slopes, so don’t feel bad about requesting a different size or assistance. Most ski boots need to be tight, but you’ll want a little give at the thigh. Make sure the ski pants are on the outside of the boot. This helps to keep snow out of the boot, but also doesn’t add bulk to the thigh.
- Walking in Ski Boots: Ski boots are rigid. Bend your knees slightly and walk heel to toe. When you are going down steps, turn sideways, keep a hold of the railing and walk toe to heel. Walking in ski boots is like walking in heels, once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad.
- Rental Skis: Rental skis must be fitted to the boots. Once you find the right fit for your boots, give one to the ski rental folks so they can adjust the bindings on the skis to fit you. Skis come in different sizes. If you aren’t sure what size is right for you, ask the ski fitter what they think. Shorter skis are better for beginners. They’re easier to keep straight and it’s less likely you’ll cross them (which almost always leads to a fall).
- Walking with Skis: Skis are big, bulky and a little unwieldy. To make it easier to carry, lock them together by the brakes, hoist them up on your shoulder with your shoulder between the bindings and point the tips down slightly. Always remember, your skis are longer than you, so before turning around, make sure you aren’t going to clock someone behind you.
Rental Poles: Poles are based on your height and it really doesn’t matter what type of pole you use. As a beginner, it will mostly be used for getting you back on your feet when you fall.
- What do I do with my shoes? All ski resorts have lockers where you can keep your shoes and valuables while you are out on the slopes. Find out how much the lockers are beforehand so you can have cash on hand. Ski rental areas get real wet as people come off the slopes and the snow melts off their boots. When you return your gear, have your shoes right beside you or bring an extra pair of socks in case you step in a big puddle or just can’t avoid it getting to your locker.
- Timing: Getting fitted for gear can take a while, especially on busy days. Each set of skis has to be calibrated to the individual, so it’s a personalized fit every time. Allow at least an hour to get your gear and get fitted. That means if you plan to be on the slopes skiing at 10 am, you’ll need to arrive at the mountain no later than 9 am to keep your schedule.