Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby ryancrawcour on Thu 14/May/09 1:24pm

'Owdy ...
So for somebody brandnew to snow in general (i have migrated from 20C + winters) wanting to try his hand at some snow fun,
where would be the best place to experience this for the first time?
I am based in Welly, so the obvious choice is up north, but don't mind heading down south to the Southern Alpes if the snow and resorts there are better.

Also what should I buy initially vs what can be rented. I am reluctant to dish out major $$$s on something i have never done before. Do i rent everything for the first trip and then if i like it consider pants, boots, jackets, boards etc.

Any other advice to give a complete newbie?
ryancrawcour
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby j2hyde on Thu 14/May/09 2:35pm

Generally speaking, the snow and resorts are better down south (but it totally depends on the season).

If you just want to give it a go for a day or a weekend it makes sense to go north.

If you really want to learn to ski you'd be better off taking a week off and getting a package deal at, say, Cardrona. Cardrona is nice and flat and has chairlifts (easy to learn on) good learning facilites and a good ski school. It usually has reliable snow, and the snow should in theory stay a bit softer because it's more consistantly cold (totally depends on the weather though). It will also be busy but you can go find better less crowded resorts when you can ski properly. Stay in Wanaka not Qtown cause that place is made of cheese, unless you like cheese.

You should rent/borrow/buy some basic clothing, if you've got tramping gear you can use the jacket and warm stuff, so you only really need goggles, gloves and maybe pants. Sure, you'll look like a douchbag but who really cares. If you decide you like the sport you can buy nice stuff.

Rent some decent boots and skis. Don't borrow your mates stuff unless it fits you well and is good quality. Using old, poorley fitting boots and skis will make your first attempts miserable.

Get lessons. This is quite important if you are a beginner. It will make your life much easier.

If you look around for package deals now you'd be surprised at how cheap some of them are.
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby Yogi on Thu 14/May/09 2:39pm

And don't think about going over the school holiday period. You will cry
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby xcwander on Thu 14/May/09 3:10pm

You can rent boards, boots. skies and even clothing on mountain or off mountain. Advantage of getting it off mountain say in Wgtn, or say Ohakune or Wanaka is you can spend a bit of time getting stuff that fits you well and then you get to hang onto it for the days that you are their. With on mountain its pot luck what you get each day.

And you want your boots to fit WELL. Either snowboarding or skiing, a badly fitting pair of boots can make for a hell day.

A couple days in a row is best for learning too rather than one here, another there, so taking a week off will be great. When I started boarding by the 3rd day I was staying upright on the board pretty well, had to my ass was so bruised I as terrified to land on it again :crazy:
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby radiusq on Thu 14/May/09 3:16pm

...lessons! For boarding it's so obvious who has had lessons and who hasn't. You'll never progress past a certain point if you never got the basics dialled in properly from the go. Get 2 x 1h lessons on day one, practice what you learn on day 2, and take another lesson or two on day 3. If you can stretch the bucks take a private one on one at some point around day 5. You'll progress way faster than any of your peers.

In terms of kit I'd suggest a bit of a spend on good fitting stiff boots first (definitely don't buy freestyle boots to learn on). Don't scrimp on the boots. Buy everything else 2nd hand off trademe - you'll outgrow it quickly enough. Stuff to learn on doesn't need to be great. If you've got a bit of spare cash maybe buy a good pair of pants as you'll be one your arse a lot and a wet cold arse ain't fun. You do not need good kit to learn on. The only reason I'd suggest spending on nice good fitting boots is cheap and/or poorly fitting boots will probably give you zero control if they're too loose/flexi, and will be absolute agony if they are too small. Bad boots will destroy your snowboarding fun.

Cardrona is probably the best resort for learner boarders, but for absolute beginners (<5days boarding) any skifield will do as it really doesn't matter though as you won't be using much terrain, and as far as I'm aware all of the big NZ skifields have at least one easy green run, even Treble Cone.

If you like mountainbiking you should love snowboarding. Very similar skills and smiles IMO.
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby ryancrawcour on Thu 14/May/09 3:18pm

Everyone keeps warning me about the bruise butt issue ...
nice thing about big bulky snow clothing is that i can hide a pair of padded bum protector shorts. :blush:

i plan on doing a long weekend away initially. so two full days on the snow; maybe 3.

Mt Ruapehu is looking quite attractive with a 4 hour drive from Welly for the initial go. After that a week off to the South is definitely on the cards.

I like the idea of off mountain rentals; Where can i get snowboard gear rental in Wllgtn?
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby ryancrawcour on Thu 14/May/09 3:20pm

radiusq wrote:.If you like mountainbiking you should love snowboarding. Very similar skills and smiles IMO.


then i CAN'T wait!

:D
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby radiusq on Thu 14/May/09 3:43pm

ryancrawcour wrote:Everyone keeps warning me about the bruise butt issue ...
nice thing about big bulky snow clothing is that i can hide a pair of padded bum protector shorts. :blush:

i plan on doing a long weekend away initially. so two full days on the snow; maybe 3.

Mt Ruapehu is looking quite attractive with a 4 hour drive from Welly for the initial go. After that a week off to the South is definitely on the cards.

I like the idea of off mountain rentals; Where can i get snowboard gear rental in Wllgtn?


A bit of arse padding may make your first few days easier. If you can help it(and you probably can't<g>) then learn after a bit of fresh snowfall - at least less than 3-4days before your first day (but this is largely dependent on other weather factors wind etc..). There's obviously not a lot you can do about the conditions if you booked a holiday weeks in advance. Your best bet is to plan a road trip to Ohakune and be loose about the schedule, and if conditions look poor, postpone for a week.

You'll find it so so much easier to learn in good snow. Your confidence will be high because it won't really hurt when you fall and you'll really be able to go for it. Conversely, trying to learn on ice is painful and difficult. You won't have any confidence and you' won't have any fun.

It takes a bit of experience to gauge skifield conditions from weather reports, but you can usually tell if it's icy from the ski report published by the skifield itself. The cheeky skifield operators usually refer to ice as 'hardpack on trail". If you see that on the ski report, postpone your trip:)
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby xcwander on Thu 14/May/09 4:25pm

Day one, arrive a ski field car park, collect lift pass and lesson ticket and proceed directly to lesson, do not pass GO do not collect $200. More lessons up front will mean less sore ass latter.....

The lessons really do help...mates will tell you nah you don't need them I can show you its easy...all you'll do is badly learn their badly learnt skills...get frustrated, they'll want to buggar after an hour and do some "real stuff" etc etc. The instructors get paid to put that happy face on, not get pissed off when you face plant on the same bit of snow for the 7,9th 12th time, oh and teach you basics like stance, weight transfer, how to fall, BEND YOUR BLOOODY KNEES (ok they might start yelling that at you )...


As for Turoa or Whakapapa for learning....maybe someone else can comment on that. Might be where the rest of your group wants to be.
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Re: Best Ski / Boarding Place To Learn

Postby Joshguy01 on Thu 14/May/09 4:51pm

Hmm never got the sore ass when I was learning. I found it incredibly easy to pick up how to do it. I basically taught myself, a couple of mates gave me pointers for a couple of hours, then I did my own thing. The instructors at Cardrona are brilliant, and if you don't need the particular lesson you've paid for, tell you so. I borrowed the pants, but had a suitable jacket and bought gloves (which have come in handy on cold commuting days :thumbsup: ). Hiring gear was great, but expensive. Oh and don't go in the school holidays, it gets insanely packed. Though I found that it was the parents who tended to be slow not the little kids. Haha 8y/olds doing snowboard runs on skis without poles was hilarious, but boy could some of them ski :blink:
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