- Start small. Larsen recommends beginning on a flat portion of the hill. Practice sidestepping up the rise a little and then glide down. "The higher you go up a hill, the more gravity's pulling you down, and the faster you'll go," she says.
- Always look ahead. "If you are traveling downhill, you have to realize that the skier or snowboarder in front of you has the right of way," Larsen explains. They can't see you, so keep your eyes up, not on the tips of your skis.
- Skip the pie. Instructors used to tell beginners to place their skis in a wedge position, like a piece of pie, to control speed and direction.
"The skis are differently shaped now," Larsen says. She recommends keeping skis shoulder-width apart and parallel.
- Weave in and out. Imagine yourself as a car cruising down a steep mountain — you wouldn't drive straight down; you'd cut back and forth. Be the car. "The best way to get yourself down the hill is to think about making really wide turns," she says.
- Stand tall. Don't crouch forward. "You want the center of mass to be starting your turn, as opposed to your shoulders," she says.
- Be ready to fall. If you lean back on your skis, "what it does is actually accelerate them." If you're too far forward, it'll be harder to turn. When in doubt, just sit down on your butt and regroup.
Powder CrewNortheast Ohio's slopes cater to families, with rates and difficulty levels that are great for the casual skier. Here are three local favorites.
Northeast Ohio's slopes cater to families, with rates and difficulty levels that are great for the casual skier. Here are three local favorites.
SNOW TRAILS WINTER RESORT
Destination SnowThese nearby resorts will fit you like a glove.
- Fam favorite: The folks at Peek'n Peak Resort & Spa guarantee 100 days of skiing each year. Make the 110-mile drive to New York for a 400-foot vertical drop, snow tubing, a half-pipe, three terrain parks and the Chautauqua Lake snowmobile trail system. "We have an outstanding learn-to-ski program," says president Robert Swenson, "[and] an excellent day care facility." 1405 Olde Road, Clymer, N.Y., 716-355-4141, pknpk.com
- West dressed: Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa offers 45 downhill runs and 24 miles of cross-country skiing. But the Michigan resort, about seven hours away, also has an ice rink, horse-drawn surrey rides and a LEED-certified spa. "[People are surprised] there's a ski village comparable to what you'd find out west, here in the Midwest," says director of public relations Brian Lawson. 12500 Crystal Mountain Drive, Thompsonville, Mich., 800-968-7686, crystalmountain.com
- Tall order The 1,072-foot vertical drop at Blue Knob All Seasons Resort means it towers over the competition. "We have the steepest slopes and the longest runs in the whole mid-Atlantic region," says general manager Doug Houck. You'll find 34 trails, snow tubing and cross-country skiing, just a four-hour drive away. 1424 Overland Pass, Claysburg, Pa., 800-458-3403, blueknob.com