Let’s face it, when you’re spending half the time on your bum and being overtaken by someone half your height every two seconds, you’re not going to look that slick as a beginner.
But while your skiing skills might be letting you down, there are some things you can do to preserve a bit of dignity, no matter how bad you are on skis.
We’ve created this guide for any beginner rider who wants to look as good as possible on the slopes. Because believe it or not, it’s not all about skill – it’s also style that gives you your rider rep.
So listen carefully, make some notes, and, whatever you do, do not wear a onesie.
Confidence is key
You hear it off the slopes and guess what – you hear it on the slopes too. Be confident and your abilities will follow. Looking timid and nervous only gives it away that you are a beginner. At least if you act confident people will have to actually watch you to realise you haven’t got a clue. But if in that split second where they come bombing down the slopes you look like you know what you’re doing, likelihood is they’ll believe it in that quick moment of looking at you.
There’s also a more practical benefit to being confident, because half the battle when learning to ski is building confidence. Once you’re able to ignore your natural instincts and look past the fact that you’re literally standing on two pieces of wood about to slide down a super slippery slope with trees and cliffs on either side, you’ll become a better skier much quicker!
But of course don’t take confidence to the extreme. If you head straight to the snow park and boldly throw yourself over a jump only to land flat on your face, you’re not only going to look stupid but you will also likely end up hurting yourself. Steady confidence wins the race, not being plain idiotic.
Also don’t be ashamed to get ski lessons – these can be hugely beneficial and will get you looking good on the slopes much quicker than if you self-teach.
Wear the right clothes
When you’re a beginner you have to find the right balance when it comes to what you wear. You want to be wearing nice garms but without being too individual or alternative as you’ll just stick out like a sore thumb and right now it’s best just to blend in.
Make sure you have the right gear – skiing in jeans is not cool. Safety, warmth, and practicality is respected on the slopes.
If in doubt, wear black, with maybe a bit of added colour if you like. This makes you look more slick and streamlined on the slopes, and also helps you blend in. There’s no problem with wanting to be a bit more colourful or showing a bit of personality, but anything overly bold needs some good riding abilities to back it up.
Always wear a helmet. Everyone who is smart wears a helmet so don’t ever believe you are more powerful than the dangers of the mountain.
But when wearing a helmet, beware of the gorby-gap. This is a common crime many unknowing soles commit every year. This is when your goggles and helmet don’t touch, leaving a gap on your forehead which inevitably ends up getting tanned or burnt, leaving the dreaded mark of disgrace on your head. Everyone will see it and therefore everyone will know that you’re a gorpy gap guy or gal.
Don’t wear Red Bull stickers unless you’re sponsored by Red Bull. Considering the fact that your riding skills are far from anything that any company would actually want to sponsor, we know you’re not sponsored by them so don’t wear the stickers as if you are. This applies to other merchandise too, and any company (apart from Chardons – we support all forms of Chardons merch or stickers 😉).
Don’t wear an all-in-one, or a ‘onesie’, unless you have the skills to defend it. Ski gear onesies can look cool when done right, but when done wrong by a beginner who is skiing at 2 miles per hour, it does not. And what never looks good is fancy dress onesies – these are super impractical and just a bit overdone so please avoid at all costs.
Apres like an A-pro
Everyone has come to ski, and many have also come to party. And while you may be off the slopes so no longer revealing your questionable ski skills, the regular apres-skier will still be able to tell which of the revellers in the crowd are new to the scene.
Being new is not a bad thing – everyone is very
welcoming. But just make sure you’re not one of the annoying newbies or holidaymakers who ruin the vibe for the rest of us.
There are some tell-tale signs of an annoying newby which you’ll want to avoid in order to look cool in the apres-ski scene. First, getting stupidly drunk is a clear sign that you are new here and a little over-excited. While having a few drinks is encouraged, just don’t end up being annoyingly drunk and doing stupid things. Also don’t keep your skis on – you do see this sometimes, for god-knows what reason.
To blend in with the apres-ski crowd, be nice to all your fellow partiers, don’t get aggressive if drunk, and don’t dance on the tables if you’re so drunk that you’ll only end up falling off. Apres-skiers are not a tough crowd and are super lovely and inclusive as long as you are respectful and come with a good attitude.
And finally, skiing home drunk is highly dangerous, so get a taxi home if you have had one too many.
Listen to the rules of the mountain
There are certain unwritten rules of the mountain. Some more official, but some which are more like social standards accepted by the in-the-know riding community. So read the following and act accordingly, and you’ll be respected by your fellow riders.
• Don’t stop in the middle of the slope
• Don’t litter
• Don’t gather in a big group at a thin point on a slope
• Don’t play blaring music out of speakers while on the slopes
• Be nice to your fellow skiers
• Respect the locals and at least try to speak a bit of French out of respect
• Don’t ski when drunk
• Don’t ski over someone’s skis/board – not everyone has cheap hire skis which they don’t care about; some have actually spent good money on their skis and don’t want them scratched or broken
• Don’t wait in the ski lift gate for your friends, wait on the side – others are needing to get past
• Don’t take drones on the mountain because you’ll just end up crashing it or annoying other riders
• Don’t use a go-pro on every single ride because it’s boring and no one wants to watch it
• Don’t be grumpy, it just brings the mood down
As a new skier, the above lessons should become your new bible. Take this advice and you’ll rock the slopes and be respected as a fellow rider.
Now get practising and sooner or later you won’t even have to fake it!