Everyone who is considering skiing for the first time, young or not-so-young, has to start somewhere. Located in the Enchanted Circle, beginners, avid skiers and professionals of all ages will find the slopes around Red River, N.M. to be perfect. No matter your skill level, there’s lots of snow to get your heart racing and feet gliding down the slopes. But before you start, some basic equipment will help you have a more enjoyable skiing event.
For the Body – There are NO Unimportant Parts!
Some basic gear IS necessary. Don’t be intimidated by other skiers and feel like you “need” the fancy outfits. As a beginner myself in North Carolina, I wore a work coverall! I looked ridiculous compared to others, (or maybe I just looked ridiculous), but it worked well enough for the man-made snow and 29 degrees I was in at the time. However, good equipment will work best to keep you warm and safe from the dangers of frostbite. The average low temp in the area from October to March is in the low teens or single digits. Before you invest a lot of money, why not start small. You can always add to your gear over time. Flexibility is important, but protection from the elements is critical. Thermal underwear will help keep your natural body temp to a maximum. Waterproof gear over your thermals will prevent damage to skin while skiing in the temperatures you are likely to encounter in the Red River area. Once you are comfortable that skiing is something you can enjoy and will do often, then invest in equipment that suits your budget and performs the way you like.
Protecting your Extremities
Now that your body is covered, you also need to protect your feet, hands and head. Since those are the areas that are most susceptible to colder temps, socks, boots, face cover and gloves will provide adequate protection. It should be pointed out that the ears are likely to be frostbitten as well as the nose, fingers, and toes. It is possible that you are having so much fun you won’t notice it happening. Protective face gear, goggles, and, of course, a nice warm toboggan for your head underneath the helmet for those “we-hope-they-never-happen” falls. And, by the way, did I mention you should use a helmet?
Ski Poles are necessary as well. Used for balance as well as helping control your speed, they are a great way to gain control. When the momentum of your upper body causes you to lose balance, the ski poles can help right that. You really want to avoid “Gluteus Maximus meeting Terra Ferma”. Poles can help you maintain a comfortable speed that won’t end in a fall. (Helmet needed if you do fall. Remember how I mention you should use a helmet?). However, poles are optional if skier is under 48” tall.
The local Red River Ski Area as well as Sitzmark Sports offer ski rentals, equipment and have staff that can help with proper fitting. If you are cross-country skiing or hitting the bunny slopes for the first time; amateur or professional, the ski areas are there to help you make the most of your time on the slopes.
Finally, a nice warm bed at night, dinner, perhaps a hot tub or a hot drink, will help you relax, reminisce about your day, and rest for the next invigorating day on the slopes. Enjoy!