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First Timer's Guide

Top 7 Questions Asked About the "First Day"

1. How safe is skiing?

Statistically, skiing or snowboarding is no more hazardous than bicycling or tennis. It used to be though, in the days of long, stiff wood skis, non-support boots and non-release bindings. Now, with modern equipment such as fiberglass skis, high-support plastic boots and release bindings, skiing is much safer.

2. What will it cost?

Skiing, snowboarding, and tubing is not as expensive as you think. You can ski on a budget and spend a lot of time on the slopes. Whether it's at a local area for a few hours or longer for a ski vacation. Ski equipment can be rented, and as for clothing, you probably already have clothes which could double as a ski outfit. Shawnee has a great "starter" beginner's packages to help you learn and save money. Click here for details.

3. How long will it take to be able to ski or ride?

Generally just in your first day, you'll learn how to turn, slow down, stop and ride the beginner lifts. Often, if you are trying skiing for the first time, you should be able to do quite a bit on your first day. Snowboarding is a bit more difficult the first time. However, the learning curve is much easier after just a few tries. With today's modern teaching methods, most people can be past the beginner stage after three lessons, which means you can ski 50% of the ski trails in the United States.

4. Do I have to be in shape?

You don't have to be an athlete to ski. Today, modern equipment does most of the work for you. If you do some exercises before your first ski experience, you will enjoy it more. First of all, you'll learn faster, because you won't tire so easily during the learning process. You're going to fall down some while learning so you'll bounce back better if you're in shape. Walking briskly, jogging, jumping rope, or stretching are great ways to prepare for a day on the slopes.

5. What kind of Facilities should I expect at Shawnee Mountain?

Every ski area, whether a day (no lodging) or destination (lodging) area, has the same basic facilities:

  • A mountain with ski lifts to transport skiers to the top.
  • Trails of varying difficulty to ski back to the bottom.
  • A base lodge with food service, restrooms, ticket window, ski school, and Patrol.
  • Parking lot.
  • At the mountain are restaurants, bars, shops and services.

6. How should I dress for different temperatures? How can I find out the conditions before I go?

Click here for latest snow and weather conditions.

Here's some clothing tips to keep in mind for different temperatures:

TORSO: turtleneck or shirt or T-shirt, plus wind shirt or light jacket. LEGS: pants only. HEAD/FACE: light hat or none. HANDS: light gloves or liners. FEET: light socks. Put lift ticket on a garment that will not be removed.

28° TO 40° -
TORSO: turtleneck or shirt plus medium parka or jacket. LEGS: long johns and pants; or pants and warm-ups; or bib ski pants. HEAD/FACE: light or medium hat. HANDS: medium gloves or wool mittens. FEET: light socks.

15° TO 28° -
TORSO: turtleneck, light sweater, and medium to heavy parka or jacket. LEGS: thermal long johns and heavy pants; or medium pants and warm-ups; or long johns and bib ski pants. HEAD/FACE: medium to heavy hat. HANDS: heavy gloves or wool mittens with liners. FEET: medium socks.

5° TO 15° -
TORSO: turtleneck, shirt, medium sweater or vest, plus heavy parka or jacket. LEGS: thermal long johns, pants and warm-ups; or thermal long johns and bib ski pants. HEAD/FACE: heavy tight-knit hat that covers ears and forehead. HANDS: heavy gloves or heavy wool mittens with liners. FEET: wool socks.

TORSO: thermal undershirt, turtleneck, shirt, heavy sweater or vest, plus heavy parka or jacket. LEGS: heavy thermal long johns, heavy pants and warm-ups; or heavy thermal long johns and bib ski pants. HEAD/FACE: salve on face. Face mask or scarf and neck gaitor over mouth and nose. Goggles to cover eyes. Heavy tight-knit hat that covers ears and forehead. HANDS: heavy gloves with liners or heavy wool mittens with liners and windproof shell. FEET: wool socks. Keep boots loose to aid circulation. If windy, add another layer to torso. No exposed flesh on head. Add hood to parka if available.

7. Should I take a Lesson?

Did someone teach you how to drive? Of course, it's the easiest way to learn the "rules of the road." At Shawnee we have a beginner's area with a wide, more gentle slope and beginner's lifts. At the bottom of the slope, your Shawnee Snow Pro will introduce himself and familiarize you with your equipment. During the first lesson you will learn how to walk, maneuver and control your skis by turning, slowing down and stopping. When you are ready, the Snow Pro will show you how to ride the beginner's lifts and will ski down the beginner's slope with you. After your lesson you can continue practicing what you've already learned.

After you have mastered the fundamental skills of skiing (turning, slowing down, stopping and riding a lift), you'll be able to explore other trails while you practice what you've learned. Keep to the "Easiest"' trails which are marked with green circles. There will be signs so marked at the beginning of the trail.