Black Friday and You: Beginner Skiier/Rider Edition

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Ahh..who doesn’t love the snowboarders’ scramble at the top of green runs?

Yes, it’s almost Black Friday and things are going to be crazy. So many things that you don’t need will be on sale. And then you will buy them. For sure. Now let me help: Admittedly, I’m broke, but there’s still something valid to say about purchasing gear anyways, and I’m here to talk about buying stuff to get you started in skiing or snowboarding if you’ve never done it. Though I haven’t got much authority, I’ve seen enough for my third year being a shitty snowboarder. And there’s a part of me that now goes: you don’t need that to do X (death defying, don’t try this at home extreme outdoor) activity!

If you want to get started skiing and snowboarding on Black Friday because of the sport’s exorbitant cost has kept you at bay, great.

But do you really need that as an excuse?
Not necessary.

Let me explain.

THE EQUIPMENT

Scenario one: Person has no ski or board equipment and either buys $XXX set up or is too poor

Results: Person spends a lot of money and tries the sport (Yay) or person believes the cost is too high and never tries to ski or ride.

In this case, skis and boards are pretty expensive equipment but if one is willing to ask around, they will surely find some cheap used skis or boards for sale, or some to borrow. No huge $$$ is dropped, allowing those who can’t afford to plunk down the green for gear tearing down the slopes.

Verdict: You don’t need new gear or expensive gear to get started.

THE CLOTHING

Scenario Two: Person believes they don’t have proper clothing to do skiing or snowboarding and again does not participate.

Results: Person who has money drops $$$ for jackets far above their needs and might even sacrifice looks to do it ($$$ jackets aren’t necessarily filled with flashy graphics; they’re usually monotone and not fun anyways) Or person drops $$$ for nice looking graphics, but only because they think they need that expensive of a jacket anyways to stay warm and decided what the heck, they might as well take fashion into account.

Meanwhile, the person who doesn’t seem it worthy to drop cash on outerwear that costs as much as your hardware again vetos the sport with the reason: I’ll die from frostbite.

Reality: You COULD ski in jeans. It’s really not advisable and I’ve never tried it, but technically, you could. You won’t die. And in fact, even with things that seem to require more strategy (ie, camping), you can get away with lots in many situations. I’m just a beginner at camping, but I can tell you that most people I camp with don’t have expensive gear, and moreover, they do just fine with what they have. Pile on 5 sweaters. Wear that 1980’s heavy ski jacket. These things will not prevent you from going out and getting a learning experience; in fact, you could learn to use them just fine. Until you outgrow this advice – then good on you, you’ve gone out meagrely prepared and come back with more knowledge than you would have in your armchair.

Verdict: Go ski in jeans and a raincoat and shitty ass skis/board.

THE PASS

This is a sore point with me, so I’m not going to go into great detail. Do your research well. Believe what seasoned skiers and riders say to you because they will most definitely give you their most honest, heartfelt opinion on what ski resorts are the best fit, their favourite, or the best deal. Not listening them will result in disappointment. True story. Not really – there’s always next season. And trust me, they’ll be bad snow seasons. The naive “all snow is great snow” attitude you had coming in will disappear fast.

Scenario Three: Person can’t decide between paying per lift ticket or buying season’s pass, or can only justify paying a few lift tickets a year, and decides not to pick up something else.

Results: Person with $$$ does whatever they want. But the person who is not so financially blessed will either likely buy the cheapest season’s pass they can find, or pay per ticket, which gets harder and harder to justify. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Paying per ticket could end up costing more than a season’s pass. On the other hand, there are usually lots of discounts on single or multiple tickets. Do your research. Sometimes it could be cheaper to just pay per ticket rather than buy a season’s pass due to midday or afternoon discount tickets. Maybe purchasing tickets with a group will lead to a coveted group discount. Maybe you even know some employees that could lend you their employee discount. I’ve gotten free tickets just for volunteering (Though, mind you, I’ll probably never use them: snowfall is bad and smaller resorts are more likely to reward you, whereas big money making resorts are more intent on convincing you to reward yourself.) Most of all, make the most out of whatever you choose. Don’t spend time thinking about what you could or should or would have done, just enjoy the moment and ski and ride

Verdict: Get yourself on a mountain.

 

The days of the mythical uber thick and waterproof expensive winter onesie are over. Hand me downs, cheap thrills, and my-neighbour-lent-it-to-me-permanently are in. Though being flashy is awesome, it’s not a requirement to ski or ride. You could wear a trashbag and ski or ride just fine (just don’t do this without clothes underneath). No googles? No problem: sunglasses work just as well. No waterproof layers? Well, just wear enough not to freeze. And don’t fall. If you plan to do that a lot, and don’t have waterproof layers, check the forecast to make sure you won’t freeze to death. You’ll have so much fun you won’t notice. Yes, there are lots of situations where you’ll need waterproof everything, but don’t sweat the beginner stuff.

If you do, you might just end up sweating  lot more under that -35 degree, quadruple layer onesie.

Go seek the mountains.

 

 

 

 

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