First Timers Guide
Tips for You
Everyone learns at different paces. It is important to keep your expectations reasonable. This way both you and your children will have a successful and rewarding on the snow experience. Some factors that can affect learning to ski or snowboard include your temperament (how open you are to new things), age, and physical ability. Both skiing and snowboarding take specialized skills that improve with practice over time. Ultimately, your expectation's for you or your kids should focus on the fun and excitement of the overall experience.
Things to Bring
Well, no surprise here but clothes that will keep you warm and dry. And that's really important if you end up falling a couple of times. We do not recommend cotton clothing (jeans and a sweatshirt) it becomes wet, then cold. What's great is that you probably have most of what you need. If you don't, just borrow some from friends.
The best way to dress for winter is to wear layers. This gives you more flexibility to add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity. Turtleneck shirts, sweaters, long underwear and footless tights work well as under-layers. Avoid wearing cotton next to your skin, it will absorb sweat and snow and make you shiver. For that same reason, wool or acrylic socks are better than cotton athletic socks. Wear one, thin pair. Ski and snowboard boots are designed to be warm. Thick socks, or multiple layers of socks, will only give you blisters. If you buy anything, it should be a pair of waterproof shell pants and warm long underwear. You probably have a winter sports jacket already.
But, Not too Much
You may not need as many layers of clothing as you think. On a sunny day, you may only need two layers - the waterproof outer layer and the turtleneck/long underwear first layer. But bring a middle layer (fleece or wool sweater) just in case. You can always take off clothes as you get warmer. Interested in more info, check this out: In general, the three main layers are wicking (worn next to your skin), insulating (middle layer that keeps the cold out) and weather protection (exterior layer or guard against the elements).
What do beginners forget to bring the first day?
Sunglasses, goggles and sunscreen. The sun is very strong at high altitudes and against a snow-white background. Also remember to bring water-resistant gloves or mittens and a hat. Future snowboarders, wear wrist guards if you have them. If you already have knee pads, they will help cushion snowboard falls.
What to Expect
Top 10 Questions asked about the "First Day"
1. Is skiing and boarding (riding) safe?
Riding has an inherent risk which is part of what makes the sport exciting. With today's modern equipment such as shaped skis, wood core boards, high-support composite boots and release bindings, many related injuries have been greatly reduced.
2. What will it cost?
Riding is not as expensive as you think. You can ride 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 resort vacation. Riding equipment can be rented, and as for clothing, you probably already have clothes which could double as a riding outfit. Most areas offer seasonal programs or daily packages to cut costs...and, if you're staying overnight, many areas offer a variety of prices for lodging and food. Snow Creek is a day resort and does not offer overnight accommodations. We do however have great "starter" packages to help you learn and save money. Check out our lesson section for more details.
3. How long will it take to be able to ski or ride?
Just in your first day, if you take a lesson, you will be shown how to turn, slow down, stop and ride the lifts. Generally, if you are trying skiing for the first time and you have determination, you should be able to learn 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 and your commitment, you could be moving towards the type 2 stage after four or five lessons, which means you should be able to ski 50% of the trails in the United States and possibly 100% at Snow Creek.
4. Do I have to be in shape?
You don't have to be an athlete to ride. Today, modern equipment makes it much easier to learn. If you do some exercises before your first 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?
Every area, whether a day (no lodging) or destination (lodging) area, has the same basic facilities:
- A mountain with lifts to transport riders to the top.
- Trails of varying difficulty to ride back to the bottom.
- A base lodge with food service, restrooms, ticket window, snowsports school, and patrol.
- Parking lot.
- At the mountain or nearby are ski and board rental shops, and, if it is a resort area, lodging, restaurants, bars, shops and services.
6. How should I dress for different temperatures? How can I find out the conditions before I go?
Most resorts publish a "conditions" report. Usually it's done daily and gives you a summary of the temperatures, trails open, lifts running, weather conditions, and more. Snow Creek tries to update reports every morning by first light. We put a conditions report on the website, phone systems, and publish it to all the major news agencies that report national ski conditions.
Here is some clothing tips to keep in mind for different temperatures:
40° AND ABOVE - 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.
5° AND BELOW - 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 gaiter 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 your responsibilities on the slopes. Most areas have a green slope (easiest) area with a wide, gentle slope and a beginner lift. At the bottom of the slope, your Snow Pros will introduce themselves and familiarize you with your equipment. During the first lesson you will learn how to walk, maneuver and control your skis and boards by turning, slowing down and stopping. When you are ready, a Snow Pro will show you how to load, ride and unload a lift and will ski down an easier slope with you. After your lesson you can continue practicing what you've already been shown.
After you have mastered the fundamental skills of riding (turning, slowing down, stopping and riding a lift), you'll be able to explore other trails while you practice what you were taught. Keep to the "easier"' trails which are marked with green circles. There will be difficulty signs at the beginning of the trail.
8. Is there a Glossary of industry related terms that would be helpful to know?
Yes indeed there is.
Alpine skiing: Downhill skiing.
Apres-ski: The night life following a day on the slopes.
Base: The bottom of the mountain where the lodge is situated, or the average depth of snow on a mountain.
Base snow: That cumulative depth of snow (old snow or snow pack) that resides on the ground excluding new surface cover. It usually is measured following snowfalls and thaws at the base and near the summit. Base depths and new snow measurements are usually given in a range, with the first figure representing average depths or accumulation at the base and the second figure indicating measurements at the summit.
Bindings: hold your boots to the skis and are designed to release when you need them to during a fall. Many bindings also have vibration-reducing features that allow you to ski more smoothly. Your ability and weight will determine the binding you choose.
Bunny slope: The most gently sloping hill on the mountain, usually used to teach beginners.
Carving: Making turns on the ski or snowboard with the edges cutting into the hill.
Catching an edge: Not so good. A fall or near-fall where the edge of your ski or snowboard digs into the snow, usually catching an indentation made by another skier.
Catching some air: Going fast enough to have both skis or the snowboard off the snow after riding over a small hill or mogul.
Corn snow: Loose ice-like granules the size of corn kernels which are usually the product of the above/below freezing cycle of temperatures typical of Spring days.
Cruising: Making a long run at an easy speed.
"DIN": The retention setting on bindings are measured in "DIN," which stands for Deutsche Industrie Norm. In general, the higher your weight and skiing ability, the higher the DIN setting. Have a ski shop technician determine and set your DIN for you.
Fall line: The straightest and steepest line down any slope. One you'll likely take if you fall.
Freezing rain: Rain which does not freeze until it makes contact with the ground. Ground temperatures are sufficiently cold enough to freeze the falling rain on contact.
Frostbite: Extremely cold temperatures reduce the blood flow to body extremities and surface tissue resulting in a lack of feeling (numbness) and epidermal tissues turning white.
Frozen granular: A hard surface of old snow formed by granules freezing together after warm temperatures or by the granules freezing together after a rain. A surface that is less hard than ice and which will support a ski pole stick into it.
Gaper: A skier who pauses to take in the scenery.
Granular surface: Snow that has been groomed and is not fresh powder. The surface looks like millions of little, snow pellets.
Slope Difficulty signs: The markings used to indicate the difficulty of a mountain's slopes. Greens are easiest, blues are more difficult and blacks are most difficult. A double black diamond indicates and expert run and an orange oval is used in terrain parks. Be aware that designations are for that particular mountain; a blue run at Aspen is not necessary as easy or as tough as a blue run at Snow Creek. Slope designations are subjective.
Hypothermia: A serious, potentially fatal condition that occurs when a person has been cold for so long that he has lost the ability to rewarm himself. This happens when all the "stored energy" is used up with nothing left to keep body temperature at a safe level. A person becomes unable to take care of himself properly and frequently does not even know that he is in trouble. Symptoms: violent shivering, loss of coordination, speech garbled, general appearance of being "out of it."
Ice: A hard, glazed surface usually created by freezing rain or large quantities of rain or old surface snow melting and quickly refreezing again. Also a very wet surface skied into a smooth surface while above-freezing temperatures are existent and then rapidly dropping temperatures occur. When broken it breaks into chunks rather than granules.
Loose granular: Loose granules formed after powder snow thaws, refreezes and crystallizes; or, an accumulation of sleet. Also may be produced by machine grooming of frozen granular or icy surfaces.
Machine snow: Very fine crystals of snow produced when atomized water, which is sprayed into the air by a snowmaking 'gun', freezes and falls to the ground as snow. Depending on temperature, humidity, type of snowmaking system and type of snow desired, machine snow can be either dry or wet.
Mashed potatoes: Wet, heavy snow.
Measure up:Skis and boards are measured in centimeters (cm). Your recommended length will depend on your ability, height and weight. A shop employee will help you decide on the appropriate length.
Milk run: The first run of the day.
Moguls: The mounding of snow into multiple bumps all over the trails by continuous rhythmic turns made in the same spot over a period of time.
New Snow: The new fallen snow which has not yet settled into the existing snow base. It is measured at the base and near the summit.
Off-trails: In most cases, probably where you shouldn't be.
Packed powder: Loose powder snow compacted by skier traffic or mechanical apparatus to a state which leaves little air space between particles. Also may be produced by dry machine-made snow.
Poles: are used to help you with your balance and rhythm while skiing. Poles can be made from fiberglass, aluminum, graphite or some combination of these materials. Poles are measured in inches.
Powder: New snow generally of a dry and fluffy consistency. (Will not make a snowball easily.)
Schussing: Skiing straight downhill, often in a full tuck position. Not permitted.
Shaped skis, also known as super-sidecut and hourglass skis, have narrow waists and wide tips and tails. These skis are designed for use in shorter lengths than the old straight models and make it easier to carve turns and stop.
Ski boots: come in traditional American sizes and also "mondo point," which is simply the length of the boot in centimeters.
- When trying on boots, wear one pair of medium-weight or light-weight socks.
- The fit should be snug and your heel should remain in place when you flex your knee and ankle forward into the boot.
- Your toes should barely touch the inside of the boot and then, when you bend your knee forward, your toes should slide back slightly.
- Make sure there aren't any pressure points or spots that pinch your feet and legs.
- Remember, the boots will stiffen in the cold.
Sleet: Solid, crystallized pellets with angular or round surfaces (as opposed to soft flakes of snow) which often fall when warm and cold air collide.
Snowplow: Often the first technique a beginner learns. The front tips of the skies are almost touching as the back tips are bowed outward, creating friction and helping with balance and control. Even advanced skiers use the technique at the beginning of runs while they put on gloves or adjust goggles.
Wet granular: Loose or frozen granular snow which has become wet and soft from a thaw or from rainfall. Provides a delightful skiing surface.
Wet snow: Powder snow that is wet when it falls (you can easily make a snowball) or dry powder or packed powder that becomes wet because the temperature rises above freezing or is dampened by rain.
White-out: A sudden gust of wind kicking up the snow's surface. A gust so dense as to obscure vision.
Wind Chill: The cooling power of the wind and temperature on exposed flesh expressed as an equivalent of temperature in still air.
Windpack: Dry powder snow driven and packed hard by the wind so that it becomes hard enough to partially support a skier.
Yard sale: A wipeout fall in which skis, poles, hat, etc. end up strewn along the mountainside.
9. What are the basics I need to know before using a Lift?
It is recommended that you take a lesson or get help from a Snow Pro Resort associate before attempting to ride one for the first time. The majority of lifts in this country are chairlifts (2,3 or more passengers) with the remainder comprising of gondolas, trams and surface lifts (T-bars, Pomalifts, J-bars, and rope tows).
Here are some basic rules for riding all lifts:
- Obey all loading and other instructions on lifts.
- Do not use a lift until you are familiar with its operation. Read the instruction signs. Watch and learn. Ask if you are in doubt.
- Slow down before approaching the entrance to a lift.
- Load and unload only at designated areas.
- Be polite and courteous at the loading area. Wait your turn, try to keep off other people's skis or boards, and join up to maximize the use of the lift.
- Have your lift ticket or season pass visible to the ticket checker or lift operator so you do not hold up the line.
- On chairlifts, keep your ski tips or snowboard up as you leave the loading area and upon approaching the unloading ramp.
- If you fall while getting on or off the lift, keep your head down and crawl quickly out of the way.
- Do not bounce, ski out of the track, or otherwise abuse lift equipment. You may cause injury to yourself or others.
- Make sure no loose clothing or long hair is caught in lift when unloading.
- Move quickly away from unload areas to make room for the next riders.
- If a lift stops, do not attempt to get off. Remember, if there is a mechanical problem, area personnel will provide assistance.
- Take special precautions to help small children load and unload. Do not allow them to ride a lift alone until they can do so properly. You are responsible for your children and their actions.
10. What suggestions can you give me to get on or off a lift?
- Straps off wrists.
- Hold poles in inside hand.
- Step quickly into position.
- Look over outside shoulder, grasp bar as chair approaches and sit down gently. ON TRIPLE AND QUAD CHAIRS: middle skiers should grasp back of chair as it approaches. Sit down gently.
- Do not bounce or swing.
- Stand up at designated point and ski down the incline.
- Move quickly away from moving chair and keep unloading area clear.
- Remove straps from wrists.
- Hold poles in outside hand.
- Step quickly into position.
- Look over inside shoulder, grasp tow and hold on.
- Do not sit down or lean back!
- Flex knees.
- Keep skis in the track.
- Do not sit down or lean back!
- Get off only at designated area.
- Drop the rope and ski away from the unloading area.
WHERE TO GO
The snowpass windows are located outside the lodge on the side of the parking lot. You must have a snowpass to have slope access and rent equipment. The snowpass will also be coded with your rental information. After receiving your snowpass, place it on your jacket. Metal wire first, then label.
Head over to the Rental Building, which is to the left of the ticket windows that are under the red awning.
- Step 1. Pick up your boots, sizes generally match foot in a dress shoe.
- Step 2. Find a spot on the benches and try them on. We recommend only one pair of socks, otherwise the boots may be too tight. Adjust all the buckles, make sure they are snug, but not too tight, that they hurt your feet.
- Step 3. Lockers are available to store your shoes.
- Step 4. Proceed to the counter to pick up your skis or snowboard. Let the technician know you are a beginner. You will be asked your height and weight so the equipment will be properly fitted to you.
Take A Lesson:
Head over to the lesson meeting area. Located on your right when you come out of the lodge. Whether you chose to ski or snowboard, we have the lesson for you! The beginner lesson will teach you how to turn, stop, how and when to use the lifts at Snow Creek.
What to do if you:
Need a restroom? Restrooms are located in the center of the Main Lodge and in the rental building. Changing areas are located in the Rental Building.
Need First Aid? Report accidents to any uniformed Patroller (red jacket), or lift attendant, or at the First Aid station at the West end of the Lodge, near the tubing area.
Need lunch? Our cafeteria is located on the main level, for the over 21 crowd a bar & lounge is upstairs.