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Transferring Your Skills from SNÖBAHN to the Slopes

The beginning of ski season is upon us. With resorts opening their slopes each weekend, gone are the days of hiking in the mountains. It’s time to wax up the skis and dust off the equipment.

But for those who have never skied on snow before, the first time can be scary - filled with some uncertainty and pre-slopes anxiety. To help make this ski season more enjoyable, skier and SNÖBAHN Technical Director, Matt Appleford, gives some tips on a successful transition from the SNÖBAHN slopes to the real ones.

Matt Appleford, Founder of The Adventure Project

How can people prepare before hitting the ski slopes after skiing on the SNÖBAHN carpet?

Matt Appleford: If they are relatively new to skiing and have only done lessons on our slopes at SNÖBAHN then we would definitely recommend signing up for one lesson on snow. It will be a gentler introduction to the snow. Make sure you have the right clothing for skiing on the mountain. Warm, waterproof and breathable outerwear with layers underneath, will help you to stay warm and dry. Good goggles and gloves also really help and we strongly recommend the use of a helmet. Drink plenty of water and have some snacks in your pockets, to stay hydrated and fueled up for the day. If you want to save some time getting onto the snow, then we do have seasonal rentals now if people do want to already have their own ski gear and avoid going into the rental shop and having to set that up.

What are some things for people to keep in mind their first time on the slopes after practicing at SNÖBAHN?

MA: The big difference will be the change in the environment, but all of the skills they will have learned in their first time lessons will be of great benefit. Obviously real snow is going to slide easier and slightly faster than the carpet, so you might need to take those wedge turns a little more across the hill to slow down, otherwise the skills you will have initially learned should set you up for success. You’ll have a lot more room to move around on the mountain (and plenty of awesome views to look at) 

Can people expect it to be harder or easier their first time skiing on a mountain after SNÖBAHN?

MA: The short answer is much easier! It normally takes one or two 30 minute lessons to get the hang of wedge turning as a beginner [at SNÖBAHN] , but that should get them confidently down the easier green runs on the mountain. That will make life so much easier when you then take it onto the mountain. It might not be a bad idea to take another lesson that first time on snow, just to make sure the first time skiing on snow is as positive as possible, but learning how to balance and then turn on our carpets, will give you a big head-start when you get on snow.

Should people continue to practice on SNÖBAHN throughout the ski season?

MA: Definitely, the more you come in and practice, the better you will get in a shorter amount of time. Our instructors can help you to continuously improve your technique which will help with confidence, your legs will get stronger and skiing and snowboarding will get easier and you’ll have more fun. A win-win! If you then head back onto the mountain, you will definitely feel the benefits.

What are the benefits of mixing the SNÖBAHN slopes with the mountains throughout ski season?

MA: The ability to constantly refine and dial in technique, added fitness, confidence and the understanding of efficient mechanics, are the main benefits of continued sessions at SNÖBAHN, throughout the season. For more experienced skiers and boarders, the carpets are less forgiving than snow, in terms of being lazy with technique. The carpets are great for bringing out weaknesses that can then be worked on, with our instructors. If you have been skiing for a while without much progress in your skiing, then SNOBAHN is a great place to work on more efficient technique and take the skills to the next level.

Why are the slopes at SNÖBAHN better for a skier to practice on — especially in the beginning?

MA: For beginner skiers, SNÖBAHN is a great environment for learning. The instructor has complete control of the carpets and can change the pitch and the speed to suit the needs of the customer. The rate of learning is a lot quicker than on the mountain, with the chance to get a lot of mileage in a short amount of time, all in a small group focus. There is a mirror that you will ski in front of, so visual learners will get instantaneous feedback and there is an adjustable bar that beginner skiers can use for extra balance when gaining confidence in trying new movements. All of the necessary equipment is included in the price and our instructors are well-trained, friendly and very patient.