We still have a weekend left in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month 2013 and there are a lot of ski areas that are still offering discounted rentals and lessons. I've been asked recently about the value of 'learn to ski books and online aids. Well, my mantra stands - take a lesson, take a lesson, take a lesson and then - pick up a learn to ski better book or search for legitimate internet aids.
The reason I always say - take a lesson - is twofold. First, if you have never tried skiing there are a lot of first time packages available that include skis, boots and poles plus a several hour - or even all day - lesson with a ski instructor. This introduction guarantees that you won't be put in a dangerous situation.
Second, the first lesson you take will make you confident in being able to keep your speed under control and will teach you how to slow down and stop. Being able to go downhill slowly, in control and being able to stop when you want is the best confidence builder that will let you decide if - yes, this is fun and I want to learn more or thanks but it's not for me.
So what about all those "learn to ski (or ski better) books and internet tools" - can they really be helpful? The answer is a qualified yes. 'Qualified yes' because not all the books and online tips are explained well and, of the ones that do explain their content, not all make the effort to ensure that the content can be understood by the improving skier.
I can recommend two books and an internet app series that help skiers of all levels. For beginners and up, Beaver Creek instructor Chalky White's book The 7 Secrets of Skiing offers tips and exercises with photo sequences that, when mastered, will make you a better skier. To be sure, there's no magic bullet in Chalky's 7 secrets and to become that better skier you need to take what you read and apply it on the snow.
Chalky has also put together some very useful skiing tips for About.com Skiing readers - don't miss the $100 Bill Trick!
Martin Heckelman's book The New Guide to Skiing is for anyone with a few basic lessons under their belt, as well as for skiers who have some experience sliding, and can handle blue terrain with confidence in and out of the fall line.
Heckelman is also the producer of the Ski Tips instructional DVD. He also offers a unique and popular SkiTips apps series that is a complete teaching program that you can take right on the snow and use them complement and reinforce your professional ski lessons. Check out Martin Heckelman's video he did for About.com Skiing - 'How To Skate On Skis.'
No matter your current skiing ability, take a lesson from a pro - remember, every World Cup skier has coaches - and then check out the books and apps I mentioned and you will become a better skier.
Group Lesson At Aspen Copyright Mike Doyle