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First-Timers and Beginners

Welcome to skiing, snowboarding and the wonderful world of winter sports!  Wisp Resort has created a simplified beginner experience to make your skiing and snowboarding learning experience more effective, more successful and more fun!  Follow these easy steps and guidelines and you'll be skimming the slopes in no time! This simple guide will ease your intimidation and take away that “overwhelmed” feeling you might have when you think about taking your family to the slopes for the first time.

Step 1:

Pick a sport.  Pick your date(s). Pick your package.

Pick your sport - Ski or Snowboard?  There's no right or wrong answer and it's a personal choice.  Skiing is done on 2 planks with bindings, hardshell boots and 2 poles.  Snowboarding is done on 1 plank with bindings and soft boots.  You will use different muscle groups and techniques for each sport.  Generally, skiing is easier to get started but harder to master whereas snowboarding typically requires more lessons and time to achieve the fundamentals and once achieved, mastery of the sport isn't far behind.  With a lesson, or two, and a little practice, skiers can often be enjoying the green circle (beginner) trails within their first day at the resort. However, mastery of skiing often requires many lessons and time on the slopes.  With some patience, a positive attitude and guidance from an instructor, snowboarders will go from mastering the bunny trail in a day or two, to mastering much of the mountain by the end of the week.

Pick your date(s).  Resorts do have weekend/holiday time periods that may not follow the exact federally recognized calendar dates. Midweek days generally see less visitation than weekend and holiday periods. 

Pick your package.  Wisp Resort offers all-inclusive packages for beginners.  The Learn to Ski or Snowboard Package includes a Lift Ticket, Ski or Snowboard Sport Equipment Rental and a Group Lesson. Learn-to packages can be purchased at The Learning Center located within Sundown Village at the base of the mountain. Or make a reservation in advance to guarantee availability by calling 800.462.9477.

Step 2:

Dress the part. Be prepared.

Dress the part.  For those not used to it, the cold can be uncomfortable and intimidating but with a few tips you can be protected from the elements and enjoy the outdoors no matter what the weather.

  1. Cover your extremities.  Wear a hat, or better yet, a helmet on your head. Wear waterproof gloves or mittens and some companies even make heated ones!  Keep your feet toasty and dry with proper socks. Whatever you do, loose the cotton socks. And don’t wear multiple pairs!
  2. Wear eye protection (goggles or sunglasses) and sunscreen on the slopes. Snow blindness and sunburn is no fun.
  3. Dress in layers. Two or three layers are warmer and provide more flexibility for changing conditions than a single big jacket. Look for a technical synthetic material (capaline) rather than cotton for your base (long john) layer and wool or fleece for your mid layers. A water resistant, breathable jacket and pant is very desirable (gor-tex®) for your outer-most layer.

Be prepared.  Even the fittest and most athletic beginners in skiing and snowboarding can experience muscle fatigue and soreness because you are using different muscle groups.  We recommend drinking lots of water prior to your on-snow experience and stretching before, during and after.  Take frequent breaks if you feel tired, dizzy or unstable. 

Wisp Resort has several retail stores on-site that sell all the appropriate gear you would need for a day on the slopes. Stop by and our knowledgeable staff will help you get outfitted for the elements. Visit our Shopping pages for details.

Step 3:


Now that you've done all your homework and prep work, loaded up the vehicle and entered the resort - NOW WHAT?!?

Parking.  Beginner and first-time guests are encouraged to park as close to Sundown Village as possible. View resort map here. Leave all non-essential items in your vehicle or rent a locker to stow your shoes (you'll be wearing ski / snowboard boots) and personal items.

Sundown Village.  All beginner and first-time skiers and riders will go to Sundown Village Learning Center and enter the Himalayan Yurt (Rentals Yurt).  You'll begin the check-in process by completing a Rental Release Form then visiting the cashier to purchase your Learn-to Package.  The cashier will inform you of the next step which is the boot room where you'll be fitted for your ski or snowboard boots.  Next room is the rental equipment room where a Ski / Board Tech will set up your equipment bindings to fit your settings.  Finally, you'll stow your shoes in a locker (or return them to your vehicle) then get ready to meet your Professional Instructor on the snow for your lesson.  If you have some downtime, you can grab a bite to eat or drink in the Sundown Cafe located in the yurt next to the Learning Center.

Have fun! Be Safe.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Rent Ski or Snowboard Equipment?

Wisp Resort offers convenient options for renting gear slope-side. Whether you’re just taking a day off of work to unwind on the slopes or you’re taking your entire family skiing or snowboarding, we can set you up with everything you need at the best prices available. Combining state-of-the-art equipment with top-notch service, Wisp Resort offers ski rentals and snowboard rentals to help you make the most of your time on the mountain.

There are several rental shop outlets around the mountain. Give us a call to see what location best suits your needs and ask about the operating schedule for each -

Is A Lesson Right For Me?

Wisp encourages all first-time skiers and boarders to take a lesson from one of our certified instructors to make your on-snow experience more enjoyable and safer. The Sundown Village houses the Adult & Children Learning Centers that offer all inclusive learn-to ski or snowboard package (includes lift ticket, equipment rental and lesson). There are group or private lessons available to fit your needs and budget.

What Can I Expect When I Arrive?

There are 2 options for parking – The base of the mountain where the Main Lodge, Mountain Park and Sundown Village is located or Mountaintop where the Whitewater Lodge is located. If you are a first-time skier or boarder, and need lift tickets, rentals and lessons, you will want to park at the base of the mountain nearest the Sundown Village. If you only need lift tickets and rentals, you can park at the Mountaintop and use the White Water Lodge (check operating schedule prior to arrival).

Purchase a Package
Depending on your needs, you will go to a different location to purchase the product you need for your on-snow experience. There are lift ticket windows located on the lower corner of the Main Lodge if you have your own equipment and do not need a lesson. If you need a lift ticket and equipment rental, you may go directly to the Rental Shop located on the lower level of the Main Lodge or the Whitewater Lodge located Mountaintop (check operating hours). If you are a first-time skier or snowboarder, go directly to the Sundown Yurt Village to purchase an all-inclusive learn-to ski or snowboard package. Don’t forget a locker rental! Or you’ll have to trek back to your vehicle to drop your shoes, purse or other belongings.

Rules & Safety of the Slopes.

Skiing can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Watch the Know The Code Video here!

What Do The Trail Symbols Mean?

It is very important to keep in mind the rating of the trail your preparing to Ski or Snowboard. Ratings can differ between resorts, because resorts individually assign the ratings to a trail. For example, a trail that’s marked for beginners at Wisp Resort may be more difficult than a beginner trail at another resort.

At Wisp Resort & most resorts in the U.S, the slope rating symbols are as follows: 

Green Circle - The easiest trails to ski or snowboard which are generally wide, groomed daily, and with a gentle slope. Green Circle trails are great for beginners.

Blue Square - Considered “intermediate” trails that are steeper than Green Circle or beginner trails yet easy enough for intermediate skiers to ski on, Blue Square trails are not extremely steep. Generally groomed, some Blue Square trails have easy moguls or extremely easy glades.

Black Diamond - Difficult trails that are for advanced skiers. Black Diamond trails can be steep, narrow, or ungroomed. Other challenges ,and obstacles, may cause a trail to be marked as a Black Diamond. Most glades and mogul trails are Black Diamonds.

Double Black Diamond - Extremely difficult trails that are reserved only for expert skiers. Because of hazards such as an extremely steep slope, difficult moguls, glades, or drop offs, Double Black Diamonds should be approached with caution and only be skied on if one is sure they are advanced and experienced enough to handle the challenge.

Terrain Park - While not used at all ski resorts, a terrain park may be marked with an orange oval shape. However, most ski resorts add an official rating, so you'll know how challenging the terrain park is.

Congratulations on your decision to join us on the slopes for an exciting season of winter fun!