How Long Does It Take to Learn How to Ski?

Skiing is one of the great classic outdoor winter sports and for those who have never tried it, I would highly recommend it if you ever get a chance. If you are a new skier, you probably wonder: how long does it take to learn how to ski?

Well, the simple answer is:

Learning to ski will take around 1 to 3 days to pick up the basics skills, and about 1 to 2.5 weeks to become a comfortable and confident skier.

There are a few different factors that will determine the time frame and we will take a look at some of them in this post.

My Personal Experience

I learned to ski at a young age, I was probably around 8 years old. There are positives and negatives to learning at a young age and it can be different for everyone.

I feel like when I learned how to ski, it was so exciting that I really did not have a lot of fear, I just wanted to get out there and do it.

On the other hand, at that age, I probably did not yet have the ability to focus and concentrate for long periods of time so I probably was not able to hone my skills as quickly as an older student.

Either way, I think I was able to get the basics down after a couple of days. One day of lessons and then one day just skiing around with my parents and my sister.

I still had a long way to go to become a skilled skier but I was off and running after a couple of days.

Watching others learn to ski, whether they are children or adults, I have noticed similar learning times. About 1 to 3 days to get the basics. After that, it seems there are a lot of factors that can determine how far and how quickly a new skier advances.

I have seen quite a few of my friends and family members learn to ski and there has been quite a variation after those first 1 to 3 days of initial learning.

Factors That Affects The Time It Takes to Learn Skiing

As mentioned above, it usually takes the average person 1 to 3 days to really get the basics of skiing down to where they can go out and start having fun on some of the more advanced slopes.

At that point, they may still be skiing on green runs, but they are able to start having fun. From there on they will start gaining more and more experience and become more advanced.

So, what factors determine how long it takes to learn those initial basic skills and then continue advancing to become a confident skier out on the slopes? Let’s take a quick look at some of them.

1. Age

Almost anyone at any age (as long as you can stand up) can learn to ski, but age will be a factor in how long it takes. In some regards, the younger you are the better. You may have less fear of getting hurt and less fear of failure.

The excitement of doing something as cool as skiing will really overcome fear at young ages which will allow a young person to jump right in, try things and quickly gain experience.

On the other hand, if you are too young you will not yet have the ability to focus and concentrate on learning the technical skills needed to advance quickly.

At too young of an age you also may not have completely developed the strength and motor skills to quickly advance. The same can be true for an older person who has begun to lose strength and motor skills.

In the end, age can be a factor, but everyone is different and there is probably an optimum age range in which some skiers can learn all of the basics in one day and then quickly advance to learning more advanced skills.

2. Athletic Experience

Previous athletic experience in almost any sport can be a big plus. Most sports require balance, strength, agility, quick reactions, and many other physical qualities that can help you to learn to ski much faster than the average person who does not have athletic experience.

3. Balance and Coordination

These are two factors that are very important for skiing. If you already have good balance and coordination it will help you to quickly adapt to the movements you need to make when skiing.

4. Health

If you are in good health it will be easier for you to withstand the physical demands of skiing which will, in turn, allow you to put more physical effort into learning and trying the new physical challenges

5. Fear

The less fear you have the quicker you will try different techniques and the quicker you will be willing to try more challenging hills, which will allow you to learn more quickly.

6. Determination

The stronger your determination, the more focused you will be on learning and completing the challenges of learning to ski. The more determined you are to learn how to ski, the less likely you will be to give up when you fail.

7. Instructor or No Instructor

I have seen some debate about this with more and more people learning from things like Youtube and other online sources.

But in my opinion, there is no substitute for having an expert or even just a good experienced skier to show you in real time what you need to be doing and how to correct the problems you are having.

Whether it is a paid instructor, a family member, or a friend, there’s a great advantage in having a real person there to guide you. This will surely speed up the learning process.

Bottom line: you can learn to ski without lessons, but skiing lessons are worth it for beginners.

How Long Will It Take to Learn How to Ski?

With all of the different factors described above, it really can be hard to tell, but an average person will take about 1 to 3 days to get the basics down. After about 1 to 2 weeks a skier should be able to make parallel turns and be confidently skiing on the blue runs.

So, overall for an average person, it should take somewhere between 1 to 2.5 weeks total to become a comfortable and confident skier.

Further advances in a person’s skiing skills may take years of experience and that all depends on how often you are skiing. The more you ski the better you will get.

While you can also take more advanced lessons, there is nothing like the actual experience. Not just more skiing time, but also trying a variety of terrain and conditions.

Additional Resources

Skiing is one of the great outdoor winter sports and can be lots of fun as well as a great way to stay healthy. If you have never been skiing before and are wondering what it will take to get started learning to ski, check out this video:

Final Words

Some of the biggest factors holding people back from trying out such a wonderful sport are the fear of getting injured and the fear of not being able to learn how to ski confidently. With the proper instruction, most of that fear can be alleviated and you can be on your way to a season of winter fun.

It’s true, you may be intimidated by those “expert” skiers out on the blue and black runs. They can look like they have the skill to do anything on skis (and some of them do) and you might feel like you would be embarrassed to be out there on the slopes with them.

Don’t worry if you feel this way, you should try to get those thoughts out of your mind and just get out there and have fun. With a little instruction and a good amount of practice you too can learn to ski just like all those others you see out there.

For some, it may seem like a scary and daunting task to learn how to ski, but don’t let your fears overcome you and miss out on all the fun. Take the opportunity while you can and get out there and learn how to ski.

If you are a skier, how long did it take you to learn? Do you have any fun stories about learning to ski? If you are not yet a skier, what is your biggest fear or concern about getting started? I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Eric Thompson

    My sister skied a long time ago. Like back in the 1970s and early 1980s. Then she stopped. She was pretty good at it. She recently retired from her job and wants something to do, especially in the winter. I told her I recently took up skiing, and maybe she could get back into it. She gave me this excuse of being too old,and this and that. I told her with new technology in skiing the equipment is more user-friendly than ever, and with her previous experience she could probably jump right back into it again. Is it like riding a bike? Once you learn it’s easy to get back in the saddle again?

    • Christine

      Hey Eric,

      I would totally encourage your sister to dive back into skiing if she’s interested! I’ve never taken that long of a break (two years I think is my record for not skiing), but in my experience, it is like riding a bike. She might need to take a run or two to get back in the mix and used to being on skis again, but I bet she’d pick it right back up. Taking a lesson might be a good idea for that first time back out, just so she feels comfortable and has some support and guidance. Make sure she gets some comfortable rental boots and a good set of skis! Hope that helps.