Beginner’s Guide to Skiing

It’s fun and easy to learn how to ski. In this Beginner’s Guide to Skiing video series, get simple tips from professional ski instructor Eric Lipton as he explains what to expect before you, your children, or friends ski for the first time. Be sure to watch all the videos. Share them on your social channels and tag people you know who want to learn to ski!


  • Part 1: Understanding Ski Gear
  • Part 2: How to Move Around on the Snow
  • Part 3: Basic Movements on the Snow

Part 1: Ski Gear, Using Your Bindings, and Carry Your Skis


There are several things beginner skiers can learn before they even set foot on snow. In the first section of our beginner's guide to skiing, we will cover:

  • How to properly put on your ski boots.
  • The basic parts of your skis.
  • How to get in and out of your skis.
  • How to carry your skis.

To get skiing, you will need the basic gear: skis, boots, and poles. Eric Lipton suggests that you politely decline if a family member or friends offers to lend you some because resorts today are equipped with the best rental equipment. They will also make sure you get the right size and style of gear to ensure the best possible learning experience.

The boots are the first thing you'll try on, they are also the most important piece of equipment. To properly fit your ski boots, start with one pair of thin socks pulled up over your calves. Slide your feet into the boot and press your heel towards the back of the boot. Start by tightening the buckles on the upper cuff to ensure your heels are all the way back and all the way down. The boot should feel snug (but not painful) around your foot and lower leg. If you can slide your foot back and forth inside the boot, chances are the boot is too big. If your toes are squished or curled, you might need a bigger size. Try on a few different sizes to make sure you have the best possible fit.

Next up, let's talk about your skis. The front of the ski is called the tip and the back of the ski is called the tail. Somewhere between the tip and the tail you'll find the ski binding; bindings are what connects your boot to the ski.When your boot is not pressed into the binding, you'll notice the ski brake preventing your skis from sliding. Unlike boots, there is no right or left ski, they are interchangeable. 


Part 2: First Movements on Snow, Side Stepping, and How to Get Up After a Fall

Now that you understand your gear, it's time to get moving. In this section, we will cover:

  • Gliding on snow.
  • Duck walking and side stepping.
  • Getting up from the ground.

Before you head to the top of a hill, start with pushing your way around on the flats. Start with your shins pressed against the front of your boots to stay forward and to stay balanced. This will also get you used to the sensation of gliding around on snow.

But what do you do when you can't glide? That is where duck walking and side-stepping come into play.

Side-stepping is when you move with your skis perpendicular to the slope (meaning your skis pointed across the hill instead of down the hill) and navigate up the hill. When you are in position, lean your knees uphill and take small steps sideways. This can be useful when you have to get up a small incline or if you drop a pole uphill and have to retrieve it.

The other way to move uphill is the herringbone or duck walk. For this move, make a V-shape with the tails of your skis closer together than the tips. Flex your ankles forward and sink your knees inward, this will create a wedge so you don't slide backwards. From there, you can walk around almost anywhere. Just make sure the tails of your skis don't cross.

The next thing you'll want to learn is how to get up when you fall. There are a few different ways to get up easily.

The first way is to place your skis parallel and across the slope. Make sure they are downhill (so your head is closer to the top of the hill and your feet are closer to the bottom of the hill. From there, use your hands to slowing push your way up.

Another way is to roll onto your stomach and bend your knees so your skis are in the air. Now, put your feet sideways so that the insides of your feet are touching the snow. From there, navigate into a duck walking position and push yourself up like you would if you are doing a pushup.

And for a last resort, take off one of your skis to make standing up even easier.

Part 3: How to Turn, How to Stop, and How to Get on a Chairlift

In the third part of our series, we're going to talk about the basic movements on snow.

Turning and stopping are one in the same when skiing. In order to stop, you will first need to learn how to turn.

To turn your skis, start in a slight wedge position. To make a turn to the right, your left leg will actually do most of the work. Turn your left leg more and put more weight on your left work. It's the opposite for a left turn. As always, keep your shins on pressed against the front of your boots. 

To stop, do an exaggerated turn until you are completely perpendicular.

Getting on a chairlift is easy. Ski up to the line that usually says "Wait Here." Once the chair in front of you passes, follow that chair to the line that says "Load Here." Wait for the chair to come around, sit down, scoot all the way back, put the safety bar down and enjoy the ride!

When you're nearing the top, raise the safety bar, keep your tips up, and stand up when the chair reaches the unloading area.

Taking a lesson is the best way to learn how to ski, so go with a pro! Visit the Take a Lesson page for more tips or watch more videos

Have fun, and see you on the slopes!