New to the Sport?
Congrats! You've taken the first step! This page is devoted to answering those questions you might have about taking up skiing or snowboarding - no matter how weird. We've heard it all, I promise.
Taking up skiing or snowboarding can be intimidating. It's out of your element- we get that. Luckily for you- we're all about trying something new. Don't hesitate- jump right in! Any more questions? Give us a shout and let us help you get into this wonderful world in the mountains!
Go Ahead- Ask Away!
This all depends on how “warm” of a person you are. If you wear socks to bed, you’re simply going to need more clothes, or- more layers. There are several important things to remember.
- First, you need to keep the elements out- it’s winter and you’re outside, after all. Both your jacket and your pants need to be waterproof AND windproof. There are lots of “ski and snowboard specific” coats and pants that are specifically designed for this, but they can be expensive. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s going to keep the elements out! Above all, no denim. NO DENIM!
- Second, you’re going to work hard- you’re going to sweat. Make sure the clothes next to your skin aren’t going to get soaked and stay soaked- you’ll freeze. Polyester or polypropylene materials work great. Avoid sweat pants. They're bulky.
- The right socks can make all the difference. I spend more money on socks than sweaters, in fact. Wear clean socks and only wear socks once before washing. Having them come up to your mid-calf, or even knee is beneficial, as your ski boots will come up to mid-calf. You want as little bulk there as possible.
- What goes on your hands is super important. Here’s the double edged sword- you’re going to sweat AND your hands are going to spend some time in the snow (you’re not a rock star yet, young Skywalker). Wear something that is at the very least WATER RESISTENT (no wool!) and that will keep moisture away from your skin when you sweat (some gloves will have fleece or polypropylene linings- these are great)
- Wear a hat. A winter hat. We know you love the Yankees, but wear the hat to the pub, not to the hill.
- Here's a good article on picking clothes for skiing and snowboarding: READ IT
Nope. Just dress how I told you. And if you get cold, go inside. It’s skiing, for god sake- not a war. Go have a cocoa.
I guess that depends on what you’re asking...
What time of the year? Well, here’s the truth- it is much more enjoyable to learn to ski when it’s warmer and sunnier. Sunny days with nice snow are the best and these happen all year round- especially at sunny Red Lodge Mountain Resort.
What time in the day? My first instinct is to tell you to go whenever your lesson tells you to go. An afternoon lesson means a warmer learning experience, but a morning lesson means more bang for your buck- take your lesson, get to practice the rest of the day. Same cost. Red Lodge Mountain Resort offers first timer packages (rental equipment, lift ticket, lesson) at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily. If it were me, I would choose the 1:30 p.m., cause it's warmer and I like to eat pancakes all morning. If you were more price conscious, you might pick the 10:30 a.m. lesson, cause then you'd get more time to ski!
Something else to think about- when it’s SNOWING, and I mean SNOWING, people get here early. It’s like a Springsteen concert. And the parking lot fills up. Consider learning on a non-snowy day (you won’t be skiing this kind of deep powder snow any way on your first day) or in the afternoon. Lifts typically open at 9 a.m., and you should expect some lines and hustle-bustle around this time.
Take a friend. Take a date. Take a sibling. Go with your school. Skiing is a great group activity. When you spend that much time sitting on a chair with someone, it’s nice to have someone to laugh about your learning experience with.
Yeah.There are so many things that we try that we need a lesson for – scuba diving, algebra, alligator-wrestling, etc. This is one of those things. It will go BETTER, FASTER, EASIER and you will LIKE IT MORE. Red Lodge Mountain Resort also employs an incredibly professional and attractive staff of instructors. You WILL enjoy it!
It should also be noted that husbands teaching wives, boyfriends teaching girlfriends and vice versa is the #1 cause of divorce and break-up in North America. Love your significant other- don’t teach them
Leave your Miata with racing tires at home. Just make sure you've got good snow tires on and you'll be fine. The road to the mountain is a dirt road and often snow covered. Just drive smart and keep it under 35 mph. You'll be fine!
Welcome! Park your car and make your way to the Snowsports Desk- it's in the Rental Shop on your left as you walk toward the mountain. There's an extremely pleasant RLMR staff member just waiting for you with a package deal that includes rental equipment, a lesson and a lift ticket. Get dressed in your gear while inside and comfortable. Hardcore people get dressed outside next to their car. Save this feat for year 2.
Not as much as you think. Skiing and snowboarding LOOK intimidating. It's a sport that has its own stores, foreign equipment and holy crap- did you see the price tag on those skis?! $1200?! Well, it’s not going to cost you even close to that.
Give us $49 and we’ll teach you to ski or snowboard. That covers your rentals, a lesson and a lift ticket. You’re welcome. For more information on great packages for New Skiers and Snowboarders, check out our Snowsports Page.
Obviously, it’s your call. Snowboard boots tend to be comfier, if that makes a difference. But here’s a low down. At the end of your first day of snowboarding, you probably still won't be that great. If you can turn both ways without falling, we'll call that a huge success. On your first day of skiing, you’ll be able to turn both ways and ski down an easy slope without falling. HOWEVER, On your fourth day of snowboarding, you’ll be a rock star. On your fourth day of skiing, you’ll still be elevator music.
Let me see if I can sum it up for you:
When you are a rock star skier, you will be happy because:
- You don’t have to take your bindings on and off to get on the chairlift. You can laugh at snowboarders who do.
- You can ski along flat surfaces easier (you can skate along, as opposed to those suckers on snowboards)
- You can get to out-of-bounds areas easier.
When you are a rock star snowboarder, you will be happy because:
- Snowboard boots are WAY more comfortable.
- Snowboarding is essentially cheaper than skiing (midpoint snowboard= $400, midpoint skis= $600)
- Less to carry.
Skis: Your boot is held into the binding at the toe and at the heel. You place your toe in the toe piece and step down straight onto the heel lever and ta-dah! You’re in.
To get out- press on the heel-piece with your pole, hand or other ski/boot and you will pop out. In an emergency (for example, if you twist and fall, your ski will pop off.
Snowboards: Most snowboard bindings work with 2 ratchet latches- one over the toe and one around your ankle. Simply insert the straps into the ratchets and tighten. You will more than likely have to sit down to take them on and off. There are 2 other kinds of bindings- 'step-ins,' which we would advise against (though they are advertised as easier to put on and off like ski bindings, they tend to get clogged with snow and frustrate users), and those that have a back that flaps up and down- you enter through the back and have to fuss less than ratchet bindings. Snowboard binding are typically released by raising the lever ratchets and that’s it! Snowboard bindings DO NOT release in any situation.
Okay, there are plenty of ways to get hurt while skiing. Look them up on the internet. They’re wonderful. However, you don’t have to get hurt if you don’t want to! We know what you're concerned about, so let's address it honestly.
HEAD - Wearing a helmet will prevent the majority of head injuries. They’re warm, stylish and my mom will be proud of you.
KNEES - Skiers love to whine about their knees. Knee injuries typically happen in 2 ways. First- a twisting fall. Your bindings should release you from this type of fall. It’s actually quite rare. Second- several decades of skiing. Nothing we can do about this one. Ski Patrol see few, if any, injuries to knees from first time skiers.
WRISTS - more common in beginner snowboarders who use their wrists to break their falls. You can use wrist braces (think in-line skating) or ask your instructor about the proper way to fall!
BUTT - A bruised behind is pretty common after your first day on a snowboard. It will make Monday at the office a bit uncomfortable, but nothing more!
Let it be said that there are way fewer injuries than you think associated with skiing and snowboarding. If something does happen, RLMR and every other ski resort has a very able, talented and attractive Ski Patrol staff on hand armed with more certifications that you can shake a ski pole at. They will take excellent care of you, or get you to a place that will be able to assist you.
Get up! There are proper ways to get up when you fall, methods that your instructor can relay to you, but easy-peasy ways. Ask them. Practice them. Live them.
Here's a super important one! Carrying skis, poles, boots and your lunch can be a bit arduous. Hold your skis over your shoulder, linked together by the binding brakes. Make sure the tips are toward your front and hold on to your poles in your other hand. It’s easier and you’ll drop less.
No. sunglasses are for the patio. And they break easily. And they don’t keep the wind out, meaning you’ll cry. And that’s sad.
I hope no one kills me for saying this, but no- you don’t need to buy stuff your first time. Okay- buy your own long underwear, but feel free to borrow a jacket or goggles your first time out. And rent your first time- the rock stars in the rental shop will make sure thing fit the way they’re supposed to. Trust them. They’re smart.
So, you went cross country skiing in middle school, eh? Well, the good news is- you’ve got a handle on alpine skiing. Getting used to having long sticks attached to your feet is actually one of the hardest parts. After that, things are pretty much not the same at all. Cross country skis are meant to go straight and on flat ground. They don’t turn well, and your heels aren’t attached. It won’t work well. Come on up to the mountain and sign up for a lesson!
Only in that thousands of people will be cheering for you every step of the way! The Olympics have a couple different types of skiing and snowboarding that are essentially for advanced skiers and riders.
Moguls - the mogul competition is about speed and style. These guys have short skis and poles and do tricks while skiing through a bump course. These bumps, or ‘moguls’ actually form naturally on runs when people move snow around. They are a natural feature that exist at all resorts.
Half Pipe - Half Pipes are man-made structures essentially shaped like half a pipe, the idea being to ride up the side of them and do a trick in the air - spinning, flipping or grabbing your skis/snowboard. This takes a lot of practice - you have to be pretty comfortable as a rider. RLMR does not have a pipe- they're also really expensive to build and maintain!
Racing – it’s essentially just normal skiing, but with a course of red and blue gates that racers must ski/snowboard around. Truth be told, once you feel good on your skis or board, this is a great sport to take up. It will improve your skills and is lots of fun!
Ski/Boarder Cross – this is where 4 people race down a course. It is a fast-paced race where contact is allowed between racers and jumps are involved. Some resorts offer "boardercross courses" that are a fun way to expand your skills, but always wear a helmet!
Aerials(on the right) – this isn’t exactly the easiest thing to take up – it’s hard to find a place to practice! Skiers are judged on form, style and how big they go - like gymnastics on skis in the air! Most resorts do not offer Freestyle Aerial facilities and if they do, they are not for the public.
Ski Jumping(on the left) – requires a lot of guts and big skis. A hard sport to take up, as there are few places to take this activity up. Skiers are judged both on form and distance. Like Aerials, few resorts offer Jumping and those that do, it is strictly a spectator sport or for those with private training!
What’s up with ski boots?
They don’t look comfortable. Will I be able to walk?
Ski boots are made of hard plastic. This is so when you flex your knees, your skis respond. They make skiing easier, but they sure don’t make walking easy. Think of tying a 2x4 to the bottom of your foot. It’s going to require some practice. Boots for new skiers tend to be softer flexing, meaning you’ll be able to walk easier. Take some time to talk to the rental shop folks- they’ll explain how boots should feel. Bottom line- if your boots hurt, something is wrong.
Poles are mostly used for balance when skiing fast. When you first start out, you won’t need them- they’ll get in the way.
No, no no. Ski boots don't flex in the way you need them to in order to do important things, like braking.
If someone calls you a gaper, cut them off in line. A “Gaper” is a newbie skier, characterized by their obvious newness. Follow the instructions on this page and no one will call you a Gaper. They will respect you for learning a new sport!
Picture the “V” on the front of a big snow plow pushing snow out to the sides. Now picture being behind that plow. They’re slow. They don’t slide all over the road. And no one can drive fast unless the snow plow has been there. Now take that pseudo metaphor and imagine your skis in the shape of a snow plow- a “V” with the tips of your skis together. It’s the way you learn to ski by going slow.
If you're not taking a lesson (in which case, they will give you your lift ticket at the Snowsports Desk in the Rental Shop), just walk straight toward the mountain and aim for the ticket windows. Depending on your age and other factors (Military Service? Discount! College Student? Discount!), you can purchase a ticket for a full day or the afternoon. For more information about tickets, visit our tickets page!
Several options First, Red Lodge Mountain Resort has several options for dining- the Bierstube, the Main Lodge Cafeteria or the Midway Chalet. They're all open for lunch hours and have sandwiches, grilled food and soups starting at around $5. Second, you're more than welcome to bring your own lunch. Bagged lunch folks are asked to use the loft in Main Lodge.
These symbols designate the difficulty of each run. A green circle denotes the easiest run, the blue square a more difficult run and the black diamond a most difficult run. The difficulty of a run is based on its pitch and width.
Literally, this is French for “after skiing.” It’s also Montanan for “Can I buy you a beer or 4?”
Excellent question. You’ve waited in line without giving this much though and all of a sudden you’re hanging upside down naked with your pants attached to the chair. Here’s what you do. Wait until you’re at the front of the line. Wait for the chair to go past you- the people in front will sit on it. Move your skis forward- keep them pointed forward at all times- no foolin’ around, suckas! Stop when your feet are on that shiny line next to the lift operator. Look behind you. See the chair?! Grab it with your OUTSIDE hand (not the one next to the person you're sitting with) and sit down. Unlike halfpipe, this is way easier than it looks. Need more instructions? Watch this video!