Learn To Guide (FAQ)
What to expect when you arrive
Time for your Lesson
After your lesson/On your own
What kind of shape do I have to be in?
Skiing and Snowboarding can be very physically demanding sports. If you are an athletic person that plays sports, chances are that you are in pretty good condition for skiing or riding. Just remember to pace yourself. You do not have to push yourself to the limits. If you get tired, take a break and catch your breath, this way you can get your second wind and get out there again and again.
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Should I rent or borrow equipment?
It's tempting to borrow equipment, especially when the boots actually seem to fit your feet. But you're better off renting. Here's why: all of our beginner equipment is designed for beginners or women's specific. They're specifically engineered to turn more easily and are more forgiving than either upper level or budget equipment. Our rental staff will make sure that your boots will properly match your feet; if you need a half size up or down, we can accommodate you. Your first time out should be enjoyable and productive. Our beginner packages include ski or snowboard rental equipment specifically matched to your size and stature. If any of the Camelback rental equipment doesn't fit or feel right come back to the rental shop to exchange to equipment that fits and feels correct.
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What should I wear?
Surprisingly enough, even though you're outside in the winter, you will perspire! Layering is the key. You don't need to invest in specific clothing, but dressing appropriately is important and may be done by selecting items from your existing wardrobe and wearing them in suitable combinations.
- Uninsulated wind or rain pants and sweatpants under them can approximate insulated ski pants. Nylon running pants can break the wind, but sweat pants and/or long underwear under them are essential. By the way, don't tuck your pants into your boots. Ski pants are designed to fit over the tops of your boots. The only things that go inside your boots are your feet and your socks. Good waterproof pants are invaluable!
- A long-sleeved shirt (a turtle neck is a great idea) with a sweater and medium weight jacket offers a variety of options should the temperature change. On very cold days, a layer of long underwear worn on the upper body is a great insulator and may always be removed if conditions warrant. A ski jacket with armpit vents can be very effective at regulating body temperature.
- Cover your head! Your body loses 80% of its heat through your head. A hat is essential! A warm wool or fleece hat is ideal. Don't sweat "hat hair"…you can fix it after the last run and before you head out for drinks and dinner.
- Wear one pair of light to medium weight socks! Your boots are designed to keep you warm. Don't cut off circulation to your toes or start your feet sweating with heavy socks. You may want to bring an extra pair to swap out during the day to keep you comfortable.
- Personal preference rules here. Generally, mittens are warmer but restrict dexterity. Glove liners (available in our shop) are a viable option for some. Boarders tend to prefer long, waterproof mittens. Hand warmers (also available in our shop) are single-use pouches that produce heat for several hours and are used inside gloves or mittens.
- Neck wear:
- Leave the long woolen scarf your grandmother knit for you at home. It's a potential hazard. You're much better off with a neck warmer, a non-allergenic fleece tube that slips over the head and keeps your neck toasty warm. This wonderful, inexpensive piece of apparel is actually long enough to be pulled up to cover your chin, mouth, and nose.
- Extreme Cold:
- Insulated long underwear is priceless. The best ones are made of high-tech synthetic materials, but inexpensive cotton-poly blends work fine as well.
- Goggles protect your eyes from the sun and from the wind. Sunglasses are helpful, but don't block the wind. Tearing eyes and cold temperatures are not a fun mix. On nice days, headbands are less fuss than a hat. Sunscreen and lip balm are recommended.
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What should I not wear?
Clothing that will absorb water. Stay away from the denim jeans and knit gloves. If these articles of clothing get wet they will not dry fast. Just remember Wet = Cold and Cold = No Fun.
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Transporting your equipment
If you are bringing your own gear, making sure you transport them in the proper way will make your trip from the parking lot to the base area that much easier.
- Place the skis base-to-base, with the brakes locked together. If you're outdoors and have plenty of space, carry the skis on a shoulder, with the ski tips in your hand. Your other hand is free to carry your poles (and boots unless you've changed footwear at your car). When indoors or near other people, carry the skis upright, with the tips pointing up and your hand below the binding toe piece.
- Boarders have the advantage of more comfortable boots. Tuck your board under one arm like a stack of books and you're on your way.
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Where to go when you get here
- Ticket Sales/Guest Services:
- This is the first place you will stop. Whether you bought tickets online or still need to purchase them, you will need to get your lift ticket here. Lift tickets allow you access to the lifts and the slopes. Expect to show it to the lift attendant at least every time you board a lift. Attach it to something easily visible, but not someplace right next to your face. Avoid attaching it to your jacket's principal zipper, as when the zipper is pulled up to your neck, the ticket may flap in your face on your way down the hill. Most ski jackets have a lift ticket loop somewhere on the front. A jacket pocket zipper is often a convenient attachment place. Make sure to attach it to something you'll wear all day…not on a glove or a hat. If you have questions or need help assistance look for any of our staff in and Orange Jacket or Blue Jacket with the Camelback Logo and they will be happy to assist you.
- Restrooms are conveniently located in multiple areas around the mountain. The closest restrooms to Ticket Sales/Guest Services Center being to the right in the breezeway by the repair shop.
- Rental Shop:
- After leaving ticket sales, you will proceed to one of our 2 state of the art rental facilities, conveniently located adjacent to ticket sales. On weekends and holidays if you are new to the sport, you will be directed to our Discovery Rental Center
If you are renting equipment at the ski area, you should pre-register prior to your visit. It's free and will make your experience more enjoyable. Learn about becoming a preferred renter.
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Equipment rental suggestions
- Boot fitting:
- Both ski and snowboard boots are designed to hold your foot snugly to the surface of your skis or snowboard. Any movement of the foot within the boot translates into loss of control and lessens performance.
For the best fit, make sure you:
- Wear only one pair of socks
- Pull up your pant gaiter and the cuff of your first layer
- Do not tuck your first layer into your boots
Ski Boots are engineered to fit snugly. The critical area is the heel, which needs to be held tightly into the "heel cup" of the boot. Slide your foot into the boot, making sure that the tongue is pulled forward and out of the way. Push downwards on the heel of the boot to properly set your heel into the cup. Latch the buckles to a comfortable tightness, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Buckles may be readjusted after all have been fastened. Pay particular attention to the buckles on top of the instep of the foot as they hold your heel in place. When you stand up, your toes should have just enough room to wiggle. Press into the front of the boot by bending your knees. If your heel lifts up and out of the heel cup, the boots are too big.
Snowboard boots fit differently than ski boots. First you open the boot bladder wide and slide your foot into the boot. Use the pull loops to get the boot onto your foot. Slide the lace lock down while tightening the inner laces until the fit is snug but comfortable. Now tighten the outer laces as tight as possible. If done properly, your toes will almost be touching the end of the boot. Stand up, bend your knees and make sure your toes are snug, but not cramped. Make sure your heel is being grabbed by the boot bladder and not lifting.
- Ski/Snowboard Length:
- Correct length is a correlation of your height, weight, and ability level. Modern shaped skis and snowboards turn much more easily than those of just a few years ago.
- Are you goofy?:
- Snowboarders have to decide on their stance on the board. Most people are right-foot dominant, meaning their right leg is their "balance" foot. In this case, the right foot goes in the back binding, facing the rider to the right on the board. This is known as a "regular" stance. Some people are left-foot dominant, and ride facing the left side of the board…this is known as "goofy" stance. Here's how to tell which foot is your balance foot. If you run and slide on a linoleum floor in your socks, whichever foot goes second is your balance foot. This is the foot that does most of the work by supporting the majority of your weight.
- Most snowboarders choose to wear helmets for a variety of reasons. Because beginner boarders tend to fall backwards a lot, helmets should be strongly considered. Advanced boarders like to do tricks which greatly increases the level of risk in the sport. Beginner skiers, however, tend to ski at slow speeds, and falls are usually forward or to one side. Pros and cons: Helmets keep you warm, but in warm weather can tend to be hot. Protection is particularly good at low speeds. We suggest that you consider helmet use and make an informed, educated decision.
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What should I expect?
You've made it to the snow! Now the fun begins. Our instructors are trained to do one thing…teach. All of our instructors are trained to teach first-time lessons in a very specific, effective method. You'll start out by doing exercises to develop your balance and get you accustomed to the feeling of sliding, with a focus on teaching you to feel the ski or snowboards "edge." Edge control is what the game is all about. By going through these simple exercises, you will quickly learn how to do the two rudimentary actions needed to progress…stopping when and where you want, and turning when and where you want.
You shouldn't expect miracles your first time out. As we've said earlier, it takes three lessons for most people to reach the point where they can start to explore the mountain a little bit.
It's important that you pay attention to your instructor. While the exercises may seem a bit repetitive, they are important in the big picture. Not everyone learns at the same pace, mostly because some people are naturally more athletic than others. If you enjoy summer activities like surfing, skating or skateboarding, you'll have a distinct edge over those who don't, but you can do it!
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Any tips for when I am in my lesson?
As a beginner, you should have reasonable expectations about your first day out. Hopefully, many of the things below will give you a better idea of what to expect. But there are some important basics to be prepared for.
- Pace yourself and set reasonable expectations, focus on fun.
- Learning something new is not always easy, but it will be rewarding and exciting when you succeed.
- Everyone learns at a different pace.
- Don't be afraid to ask your instructor questions, they are there to help you learn.
The good news is that, after the first day or two, most of these problems go away. Even on the first couple of days, you can still find a lot of space for enjoyment, but that depends on a host of other important details. How good or bad your first day is depends on attitude going into your lesson. If you think its fun it will be. So, HAVE FUN!
Which lesson is right for me?
- Moderate sized group lessons offered for all ability levels focused to hone and polish your skills (Every lesson grouped by age and skill set)
- Private lessons offer one-on-one attention that produces fast, fun results and focuses on what you want to learn
- Serious about making this a life-long sport at your pace give our Explorer Card a shot, click here for more information.
- For more information on getting your kids "Stoked on Snow Sliding" click here.
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The important thing to remember is not to overdo it. We don't recommend a trip to the top of the mountain after your first visit…you probably won't be ready for it. Spend some time on our learning trails practicing the exercises you learned in your lesson. Save the trip to the top for another day, when you're more prepared.
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Where do I go?
Ski resorts across the country use a universal trail rating system. It's your responsibility to stay on terrain that you can handle, and avoid terrain that you cannot handle. The rating system utilizes four shapes to designate trail difficulty:
- Green Circle: Easiest Trails
- Blue Square: More Difficult
- Black Diamond: Most Difficult
- Double Diamond: Extremely Difficult
Keep in mind that these ratings apply to trails only within a particular resort and do not relate to other ski areas; a single diamond here at Camelback may be a bit different than at other resorts you have been at. While trail ratings do not change over the course of a day, the actual difficulty of a particular trail may change, due to skier use, weather, or other variables. Moguls are created naturally by skiers and snowboarders, and can have a major impact on the difficulty of a trail.
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What are my responsibilities?
- Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
At each and every ski resort, this Skier Responsibility Code is taken very seriously. Any failure to ski responsibly, and to use good judgment and common sense, can result in the revocation of skiing privileges. There typically isn't much tolerance for those who disobey the rules. Be aware, that in many cases, state law becomes involved in flagrant violation of boundary restrictions and unreported collisions.
Most importantly, if everyone follows the Responsibility Code and adheres to these basic safety tips, a good, and safe time can be had by everyone on the slopes.
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