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Discover—or rediscover—alpine skiing with Marie-Claude Perron

If you haven’t skied in years or you’ve never even given it a try, but you’d like to get into it to spend quality time with your family, meet new people or simply enjoy the great outdoors—here’s some good news for you. Skiing is a sport recommended for all ages, and whether you’re three or ninety-nine, it’s never too late to take it up—or get back into it. Plus with terrain-based learning (TBL), there’s a new way to get up to speed on runs that are easier, more fun and safer.

The advantages of alpine skiing

Nearly all skiers share something in common when they take up the sport. They fall in love with winter: the snowy landscapes, nature’s restful slumber and the contrast between cold air and warm sunlight.

Skiing is also a social sport that brings people of all ages and levels together. A day on the slopes means meeting new people and spending time with friends and family. In fact, if you’d like to take up skiing as a family, check out our guide on introducing your child to alpine skiing.

Getting ready

To enjoy a quality experience, you’ll want to be well equipped. Make sure your helmet is comfortable and your goggles are properly adjusted to your face and nose when paired with a helmet. Your skis and poles must be the right length. Your ski tips should reach up to somewhere between your eyes and the top of your head—keeping in mind that the shorter they are, the easier they are to manage. And the baskets on your poles should line up with your elbows when they’re placed upside-down.

When you’re starting out, or starting again after a long break, it’s best to sign up for a short class—it can make a big difference! You’ll integrate the proper technique from the get-go, see results more quickly and avoid getting hurt. Depending on your past experience, you might need no more than a thirty-minute refresher; or a few hour-long courses.

Where to go

Marie-Claude went skiing at the Morin Heights ski resort, a gorgeous ski area located in the Laurentians, one hour from Montreal. On top of alpine skiing, it also offers trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, plus twenty log cabins for rent and a spa nearby. It’s a great choice for a weekend with the family, as everyone can find something to do that they enjoy.

Every ski resort has beginners’ slopes and offers classes. You can find the right ski area for you nearby and check conditions on the maneige.ski site from Quebec’s Ski Resort Association (ASSQ).

What to wear

For comfort while skiing, it’s best to dress in layers: synthetic undergarments to stay dry, then thicker items, like polar fleece, for insulation, and finally, a jacket and pair of snow pants to protect you from the wind and retain heat.

When selecting your jacket and snow pants, consider these four essentials: insulation, waterproofing, breathability and functionality.

A jacket that is both waterproof and breathes easily must have a quality membrane under its outer layer together with sealed seams. Adequate insulation is not a question of thickness, but rather cutting-edge insulating technology, such as Columbia’s Omni-Heat ReflectiveTM and TurboDownTM technology. To be fully functional, the jacket should have a strategically placed zipper for ventilation, plenty of space for movement within the arms and be long enough to cover the bottom of the back. It should also have an ergonomic hood that’s compatible with your helmet and powder skirt.

Check out Marie-Claude during her ski session