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A powder hound in the making: 4 tips for taking your first ski trip as an adult

March 16, 2022
7 min read
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In February, two fellow TPG staffers and I attempted to ski as beginners — emphasis on the word "attempted," which will be a common theme throughout this story.

While one of my coworkers who went with me, TPG credit cards reporter Chris Dong, had skied once before when he was younger, TPG editor Madison Blancaflor and I had never so much as seen a slope, let alone skied down one.

Eager to spend some quality time together, we decided to strap our millennial selves into a few pairs of skis for an epic couple of days of shredding (I mean, falling into) powder.

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(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Sure, there was the initial fear of possibly getting hurt — a fear I owe to my parents, who never took me skiing as a kid thanks, in part, to a skiing accident my mom had when she was younger that has caused years of knee pain.

But to me, the potential reward of bonding over a new activity far outweighed concerns I had about what might go wrong.

Now that I've had some time to thaw and reflect on the experience, it's safe to say this skiing newbie would do it all again. If you're like me and are looking to try out skiing for the first time, here are a few key tips from my recent experience.

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

Choose a mountain fit for beginners

Throughout the planning process, we considered multiple destinations for our skiing adventure before ultimately settling on Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts. Jiminy Peak was a great choice for first-timers like us for a multitude of reasons.

To start, the mountain caters to beginners with entry-level lessons, rentals kept on site (so you don't have to worry about lugging gear to and from your hotel) and various trails designed for newbies.

At a mountain like this one, you'll have access to top-notch instructors who understand the need to be patient and supportive. Our three instructors at Jiminy Peak were all incredibly kind and helpful, walking us through everything there was to know, from learning how to put on ski boots and tighten our helmets to mastering the art of stepping in and out of skis.

Although there were about 10 of us in each lesson, the instructors were willing to devote extra time to those who needed additional guidance (aka yours truly). Sensing my uneasiness with transitioning from "french frying" and "pizza slicing" down the bunny slope to actually making turns to get down the mountain, the instructors spent some one-on-one time with me to help build up my confidence.

That extremely collegial atmosphere (which was felt outside of lessons, too), was just what I needed to progress in my skills and feel like I was on a level playing field with everyone else on the mountain, a feeling I doubt I would've had at a spot that draws more experienced skiers.

Related: From picking the perfect mountain to renting winter clothes: How I’m prepping for my 1st ski trip

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor /The Points Guy)

Prepare for the most basic of tasks to be difficult at times

It goes without saying that doing anything for the first time likely will result in some challenges, and skiing included some I did not anticipate.

For example, both the act of putting on ski boots and removing them proved incredibly difficult, especially for someone like me with weak ankles. Who knew that so much ankle strength was required for such a seemingly simple task?

Once I got into my boots, I quickly realized that walking in them was just as challenging, especially when stairs were involved.

Similarly, navigating off of the baby ski lift was one of the hardest things I encountered throughout the entire trip. Getting out of a ski lift designed for children is no easy feat for any adult, let alone a tall one like myself. In fact, every time I tried to exit the lift, I fell or flailed, hitting Madison and Chris in the process.

Fortunately, after we advanced to a different easy trail mostly frequented by adults, the chairlift struggle suddenly became a nonissue thanks to it being an appropriate distance from the ground.

(Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)

Give yourself grace, even when you repeatedly fall

By now, you've probably picked up on the fact that I was not a natural at skiing. I fell time and time again, something my body made a point to remind me of well after our time on the mountain.

Yet despite a lot of direct contact with the snow, I was determined to keep picking myself back up and trying again.

This motivation to keep going was put to the test when Chris quickly excelled beyond what Madison and I were capable of at the time, prompting him to go off on his own to attempt a green trail (or one that's a step above a bunny slope but is still made for beginners).

In that moment, it would've been easy for me to compare myself to Chris and question whether I was cut out for skiing. Instead of doubting myself, though, I made a point to keep telling myself that it was OK to advance at a different pace. We all have our own set of strengths and weaknesses, after all.

If we all immediately succeeded at everything we tried, odds are that branching out and attempting new things wouldn't be all that exciting. Not to mention, Madison, Chris and I wouldn't have had our unique experiences to share with each other when we caught up later.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Allot more time than you may think for off-slope activities

While the main reason for this trip obviously was to go skiing, many mountains are in picturesque locations worth exploring and enjoying as well.

Jiminy Peak lacked the lively apres-ski scenes available in skiing hot spots like Aspen and Vail, Colorado, but I loved saving time for checking out the nearby town of Lenox.

In addition to exuding New England charm in everything from its historical architecture to its tree-lined streets, Lenox was home to Haven Cafe and Bakery, a quaint spot that served the best gluten-free granola I've ever tried.

Had Madison, Chris and I not set aside some time for venturing off the mountain, I would've never discovered this life-changing treat I'm already missing. Any future ski vacations I take will undoubtedly include additional time away from the slopes as a result of my experience this time around.

(Photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Skiing can be a mental game, especially for adult newcomers like myself, but with a bit of confidence and a strong support system, you'll quickly realize that like most activities, skiing can be a lot of fun.

Throughout the trip, I found myself laughing harder than I had in a long time thanks to my willingness to make myself vulnerable and see the humor in embarrassing and uncomfortable situations.

(Photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy)

While you'll most certainly fall (unless you're Chris), if you're willing to pick yourself back up time and time again, you're bound to create lifelong memories you'll cherish for years to come. Who would've guessed that such a simple lesson from the slopes could be so applicable to other aspects of my life?

Featured image by (Photo by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases