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Learning How to Ski
Many people feel that they face a chicken and egg situation with ski vacations: they don't want to go on a skiing vacation until they know how to ski, but they can't learn how to ski without going on a ski vacation.
However, it doesn't have to be like that: even if you are your family know absolutely nothing about skiing, it's okay to go ahead and book a ski vacation. In fact, learning to ski together can be a great family experience and a lot of fun too! You may not realize it, but getting started is a lot easier than you might think, and with just a very little bit of instruction, you could be skiing down a mountain soon after your arrival in the ski resort.
Many ski resorts have their own associated on-site ski school, so when planning your family ski vacation, you simply need to choose a resort which has one. Ski lessons are usually reasonably priced, and group and private lessons are also generally available if you want that option. The main thing that you need to remember, is that the ski instructor may get busy, so if you want to start skiing as soon as you arrive, you should schedule an appointment in advance.
During a typical first ski lesson, the instructor wll begin by familiarizing you with the ski equipment, and getting you used to moving around while wearing it. In particular, it may take some time to get used to your ski boots - this is because they are inclined slightly forward, which is in fact the ideal position when skiing down a mountain. Walking in ski boots tends to easiest if you keep you knees slightly bent, but don't worry, before too long, it will seem completely natural.
The first maneuver that the instructor will teach you is called "the snow plow", or simply "the plow". This is a simple technique that you can probably learn in about an hour. The purpose of the snow plow is that it allows you to control your movement, and, most importantly, to stop! To perform this maneuver you simply position your skis as if they were a snow plow, and slowly move the backs of your skis outwards, away from your body. After a short period of practice, you soon learn to stop yourself using this simple technique. Additionally, you also can control your direction of movement by simply bending your knees and leaning to one side or the other.
Once you're able to move around a bit, how to guide yourself, and how to stop yourself using the snow plow, you're finally ready to start skiing! It really is that simple. Take the lift up the mountain and give it a go: You can control your speed using the snow plow technique, although obviously you will want to start slowly.
Most ski resorts have a variety of trails suitable for beginners, intermediate, and expert, skiers. These are usually marked with green emblems (for beginners), blue (for intermediates) and black (for expert skiers). When starting out, you'll want to stick with the green trails, but once you've progressed and gained some confidence, you'll eventually be ready to move up to the blue trails. You should however be aware that black trails really are for experts: they can be dangerous until you've gained both the experience and had sufficient instruction to be able handle them.
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