In the 2018 ski season alone, around 12 million people in the US went downhill skiing while 5 million enjoyed the pleasures of cross-country skiing.

That’s a sizeable fraction of the population, so if you’ve ever wanted to pursue skiing yourself, be aware that you’re in good company. Skiing is not only great for relaxation; it can also be an excellent method of exercise, a great family bonding exercise, and even a good way to build trust among work colleagues.

That said, you’re not simply going to learn to ski overnight. It is, after all, an extremely demanding practice, perhaps even more so than other winter sport disciplines. Learning to ski takes a certain kind of person, but the good news is that anyone can become that person.

With the right people around you, the right attitude, and a number of other factors, anyone can become a serious skier. Here are 8 things you’re going to need if you want to learn to ski.

1. Fitness

If you’re serious about skiing, then you should consider your physical fitness. Since skiing is so physically demanding – it’s basically a full-body workout – being fit is important and could prevent accidents. The best exercises for skiing involve making sure every muscle in your body is ready to go out on the slopes. Cross-trainers are excellent machines to work on your ski technique, but you can also work out on treadmills, with free weights, and any other way that gets your whole body working.

2. Determination

As a beginner skier, you are going to fail. It’s going to happen, and coming to terms with that rather than fighting against it is one of the most important aspects of your skiing journey. Your success comes not in being able to replicate professional skiers’ feats on your first try, but in picking yourself up after failure and trying again. Determination is one of the most essential human qualities, and it applies to skiing just as much as it applies to any other discipline.

3. Location

Not all ski resorts are created equal. Some are better than others, and which ones you prefer will depend entirely on your own desires. Do you want a location that offers better summer skiing so you can beat the crowds or would you rather have the powdery slopes of a Swiss winter? Are the surrounding town and its facilities important to you or is it all about the skiing? Before you decide to go skiing, make sure you’ve drawn up a list of everything you want from your break.

4. Patience

This applies not only to yourself but also to others who are learning with you. If you make mistakes and can pick yourself up from them and try again, then that’s great, but if you don’t have tolerance for family members as they do the same thing then you may want to recheck your priorities.

Have patience for those learning around you, because even as you start to become better at the sport, there are people who will be where you once were.

5. Practice

Believe us when we say that in skiing, almost above any other discipline, practice absolutely makes perfect. It’s not a good idea to go straight to an intermediate Swiss ski slope and expect to learn how to ski without first trying out an indoor practice slope. You can learn the ropes in a completely danger-free environment this way. There is absolutely no shame in simply confining yourself to indoor slopes if you don’t feel confident with outdoor skiing.

6. Gear

While you may not always need your own skiing equipment – many resorts and ski schools will provide this for you – that doesn’t mean you won’t need your own cold-weather gear.

Bringing a backpack on a ski break is absolutely essential, as you’ll need to carry more than just your skis. It’s also a good idea to buy your own clothing; again, some resorts will provide this for you, but having your own means you won’t be caught short if you find yourself somewhere that doesn’t offer this service.

7. Money

Unfortunately, skiing can be quite a costly hobby. Before you learn, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the capital to persevere. First, there’s the cost of the lessons themselves, which varies depending on what school you opt for. There’s also the gear, which will mount up as you buy more. Travel is a serious expense too; the UK doesn’t have a huge amount of skiing potential, so you’ll want to travel somewhere with better slopes, like Switzerland or France.

8. Passion

Learning to ski without passion won’t get you anywhere. If you don’t love what you’re doing – or if you don’t think you could love it in time – then you’ll simply end up giving up out of frustration, boredom, or both. Watch YouTube videos about skiing to hype you up, and if you don’t find that they’re making you excited, this may not be the discipline for you. Don’t learn to ski on a whim and don’t make the decision to go on a skiing break spontaneously; make sure it’s what you really want first.

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