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Downhill Skiing

The ski resorts local to the Upper Valley are beginner-friendly and have some hidden challenges for experts. While ski equipment is expensive, there are also options to rent and buy used gear locally.


What to Know

Downhill skiing and snowboarding isn't an easy skill to pick up alone, lessons from professionals or having friends to help learn are important and will help keep everyone safe.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding - Key Tips:

  • Take a lesson! Lessons are a great way to learn to enjoy the sport and stay safe.

  • Do some strength work. Getting your legs and core in shape will help you be a stronger and safer skier or boarder.

  • Check the weather: snow is more likely on mountain tops and wind speeds are higher above treeline.

  • Dress in layers to stay warm (but avoid overheating).

  • Ski with a buddy.

  • Don't go outside of the ski area boundaries at a ski resort.

  • Get your equipment checked and tuned up by a professional at the beginning of each ski season.

  • If you need help while on the slopes, ask Ski Patrol.

Gear Overview:

  • Key pieces of gear for downhill skiing include skis, bindings, boots, poles, helmet, and goggles. Take time to educate yourself on the use and importance of these items.

  • Boots are the most important piece of equipment for skiers. Getting a proper boot fitting at a ski shop will help you have a safe and comfortable day on the mountain.

  • Be aware of used ski bindings - if they are too old, they may be unsafe and ski shops may refuse to work on them.

  • Snowboarders should use an approved leash to secure their snowboard to their ankle or boot.

  • Many local ski mountains and ski shops can provide rental gear if you aren't ready to fully purchase your own gear.

A Note on Backcountry Skiing:

  • Skiing in the backcountry (i.e., skiing outside of maintained & patrolled ski areas) has gained in popularity in recent years. There are many additional hazards associated with backcountry skiing, such as hidden terrain obstacles, getting lost, and lack of patrols/emergency services. Avalanches are possible in backcountry areas as well, and have claimed many lives on New England mountains. Backcountry skiing should only be attempted by experienced skiers traveling in groups of at least 2 with the proper experience, training, and safety equipment for the terrain.

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Want to Learn More?

Downhill Skiing Tips for Beginners

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Downhill Ski Areas in the Upper Valley

The Upper Valley has excellent ski areas that entertain experts and beginners alike. Check out the websites below for more information on ski passes, rental options, and COVID ski guidelines.

Not quite ready to hit the slopes? Snow tubing is a fun and easy alternative offered at a few Upper Valley ski areas:

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