Returning to Skiing After a Season-long Hiatus? Follow These Tips

Posted November 02, 2021

By Bonnie MacPherson 

Legendary ski and snowboard filmmaker Warren Miller said, “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.”  

After a months-long break from skiing (or maybe longer if you’re recovering from an injury or skipped the slopes last year), now is the time to start prepping for a new season.  

Whether you’re new to the sport or have years under your belt, Vail Resorts’ Ski and Ride School instructors are here to help, and if you’re feeling a little rusty, it’s not a bad idea to consider hitting the slopes with an instructor. 

“The longer you have been away, the more important it is to go out with a professional instructor,” says Nate Gardner, Stowe Mountain Resort Ski and Ride School Training Manager. “Even the World Cup athletes go out for their first days on snow under the watchful eye of their coaches. A professional ski instructor can look for little hiccups.” 

Here are a few tips from the pros on how to get ready for the season and why hitting the slopes with an instructor might not be a bad idea – regardless of skill level. 

Ease Into It 

“The key to a long and enjoyable winter is to ease your body into it.  It’s far too easy to ski and snowboard hard on those first few days of the season, possibly leading to sore muscles and stiff joints. It’s a good idea to take an early season ski or snowboard lesson to work with one of the pros to knock the rust off and to mentally and physically jump back into winter.” – Brian Donovan, Mount Snow Director of Skier Services  

Face Your Pre-Season Jitters 

“Often fear starts before we even get to the slopes; just the thought of getting on the hill can be a huge emotional hurdle. Skiing or riding with a pro can address many factors that cause stress. An instructor can help skiers and riders with technique to make them more proficient. And an instructor can show them the best ways around the mountain, providing tactical choices and a calm environment.” – Chris Saylor, Okemo Ski and Ride School Senior Manager  

 Make the Most of your Time on the Hill 

"Be willing to talk about your concerns with the instructor; they are there to help you get the most out of your time on snow. They can help build your skills and confidence and allow you to push beyond things that may be holding you back. Be prepared to practice what your instructor has given you to work on outside of the lesson time. As you get more comfortable, the goals will change and so will the instructor’s guidance. The best skiers and riders continue to develop by using an instructor or coach to help reach their goals or push past barriers.” – Nate Waterhouse, Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain Ski and Snowboard School Director

Bonnie MacPherson is a native New Englander who learned to ski in Vermont. She abandoned the bright lights of Boston and the routine weekend-warrior exodus northward in exchange for a ski-town lifestyle in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. She eventually succumbed to the allure of the West, crossing the mighty Connecticut River to settle in Vermont where she shares her 1834 farmhouse and garden with her dog, Wellington, and a small flock of winter-hardy laying hens.