Snow Sports

Beginner's Snow Sports Guide

Beginner's Snow Sports Guide

Why should you try skiing or snowboarding?

Because it’s a fun and exciting sport that can be enjoyed with friends and family, young and old! If you have a need for speed, skiing and snowboarding can be an adrenaline rush. But, if you like to stop and smell the roses, no worries! Skiing and snowboarding can also be enjoyed at a slower pace. What’s even better? Skiing and snowboarding are both great ways to get in some physical exercise without even noticing it.

“Snowboarding is a sport my husband and I learned together, through the Pathway Program at Massanutten. It’s given us yet another activity that we can do together during the winter season, and we’ve made tons of friends along the way!”
- Marissa A. (snowboarder since 2011)

“As a child, I looked forward to Christmas every year because I knew my Ski pass was going to be in my stocking! My parents would load me, my brother, my sister, and at least 2-3 of our friends in their van every Friday after school to take us to Massanutten for Ski lessons. Massanutten gave us an opportunity to learn a sport that we’ve all enjoyed through adulthood. Now my nieces and nephews have learned to ski through the Mountain Cruisers program so there’s a new generation making the same great memories at Massanutten!” - Kameron T. (skier since 1990)

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Beginner's Snow Sports Guide

NOW is a great time to learn a lifelong sport to enjoy with friends and family! Everyone remembers who took them skiing/riding the first time. Be forever remembered and introduce your friends to the sport. Our Beginner Program is designed to teach you the skills you need to start enjoying skiing or snowboarding.

It is important to wear the right gear while skiing or snowboarding so that you are comfortable on the slopes. We always recommend checking the weather forecast before heading out on the slopes. Make sure to pay special attention to the high and low temperatures for the day, since they will dictate how many layers to wear on the slopes. That way, you’ll be able to add or remove layers throughout the day when you start to get too hot or too cold.

Below is a list of gear we recommend for skiing and snowboarding:

  • A pair of warm socks (only one pair! – multiple pairs of socks will affect your boot’s fit)
  • Water repellent ski pants (it is important to stay dry while skiing or snowboarding)
  • Water repellent winter jacket
  • Thermal underwear or warm layers to be wore under your ski pants & winter jacket
    (These layers should be made up of wool, fleece, down, or synthetic down. Cotton is not recommended. When cotton gets wet, whether from the elements or perspiration, it will make you cold. It has zero insulating properties when wet. It is also best to have a wicking layer next to the skin to move perspiration away.)
  • Water repellent gloves
  • Winter hat
  • Face mask & goggles (these are especially important if there is snow blowing on the slopes)
  • Helmet (you only get one head – protect it!)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) and lip balm

Did you forget to pack something? Don’t sweat it! Stop by the General Store to pick up the gear you forgot. The General Store has all the winter gear you need, from all the brands you trust. Brands include Columbia, Roxy, Quiksilver, Spyder, Obermeyer, Billabong and more!

Before you hit the slopes, you will need to purchase your slope-use ticket and equipment rentals. To purchase these items, visit our ticket windows located below the General Store, at the base of the Ski Slopes. We also recommend that all first skiers and snowboarders purchase a lesson. Our instructors will help you enjoy your time on skis or a snowboard quicker than teaching yourself or learning from a friend. After purchasing your slope-use ticket, equipment rentals and lesson, you will be directed to our rental shop. Our rental shop will help fit you with boots, ski poles, and skis or a snowboard. If you have any questions about your equipment, please don’t hesitate to ask our knowledgeable rental shop staff. Our staff is here to help you receive the best fitting equipment.

If you have a scheduled lesson, please purchase your slope-use ticket and equipment rentals 30-45 minutes in advance. Getting the right equipment from the rental shop takes time, but don’t worry, we add in extra time to your slope-use ticket!

Make your morning go smoother by purchasing your tickets and pick up your gear the night before!
Advance Slope-Use Tickets and Equipment Rentals can be purchased for the following day between 7 pm - 8:30 pm at the ticket sales window. Advance tickets purchased for the following day start at 9 am.

Yes, if you have never skied or snowboarded before we highly recommend a lesson. Beginners who take a lesson are less likely to get frustrated and have more fun while learning to ski or snowboard. Our Beginner Program lesson is designed with a beginner skier or snowboarder in mind. Participants in the Beginner Program will progress through a 1.5 hour group lesson on our easiest terrain. These lessons focus on the basics of how to turn, stop, and use the lifts safely. This program is ideal for adults and children. Minimum age of 7.

Under the age of 7? Our Mountain Cruisers program is available for skiers ages 4-12 and snowboarders ages 7 - 12 years old. Our Mini Riders program is available for snowboarders ages 4 - 6 years old. Our Private Lessons are available for ages 3 and up. Contact our Learning Center Desk at 540.289.4921 to have our knowledgeable staff assist you.

Riding a ski lift for the first time can be a little intimidating, but with a little bit of practice, you will be a pro in no time! All of Massanutten’s chairlifts that service our easiest terrain are designed with beginners in mind.

Loading into the chairlift

  • While in the lift line, skiers should remove pole straps and use poles to move forward in lift line while keeping skis straight. Snowboarders should remove rear foot from snowboard binding and use rear foot to move the snowboard.
  • Once you get to entrance gate, skiers should put poles in one hand, holding poles approximately half way down shaft.
  • When it is your turn to load, put gentle pressure on the gate using legs, hips, or whatever part of the body contacts the gate first. (try not to use your hands)
  • As gate opens, let your skis or snowboard slide down to moving carpet. You do not need to pole or shuffle; gravity takes care of getting you to the carpet.  Do not wedge, the carpet will stop your skis or snowboard.
  • Keep skis, poles, and snowboard still while on the carpet.
  • Glance over your shoulder for the chair. When the chair bumps your legs, sit down on the chair.
  • Once you are seated on the chairlift, lower the bar.

Unloading the chairlift

  • As you approach the unloading station, keep tips of skis and snowboard up. Keep your skis straight so they do not cross. Keep poles in one hand.
  • Raise bar.
  • Stand up, lean forward, and ski or snowboard off the chairlift

If the chair should stop, sit quietly and wait for restart. Never jump from a chair.

Massanutten uses a system of different color shapes to rate the difficult of trails. A green circle marks the “easiest” trails. A blue square marks the more difficult trails and a black diamond marks the most difficult trails. A green circle, blue square, or black diamond trail at Massanutten is not necessarily the same as a similarly rated trail at another ski resort. This system is a relative system and valid only at Massanutten. Begin with the easiest trail, no matter what your ability level may be and work your way up until you are familiar with the trails at Massanutten. Click here to view the Massanutten Trail Map & Snow Conditions.

Always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing/snowboarding that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other slope users the responsibility for a great skiing/snowboarding 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.
  • Click here for more safety info.

If the idea of skiing or snowboarding is something that has always appealed to you, but you have never quite mustered the courage to try, take the plunge! Your first time skiing or snowboarding might be a little scary, but it will be an amazing experience.

Helpful Videos

Helpful Videos

Trail Map

Trail Map

Trail Map

Trail Ratings

All users should be advised that a green circle, blue square, or black diamond trail at Massanutten is not necessarily the same as a similarly rated trail at another area. This system is a relative system and valid only at Massanutten. You should work your way up, beginning with the easiest trail, no matter what your ability level may be, until you are familiar with the trails at Massanutten.

The above forecast is for the valley floor and temperatures at elevation may vary greatly, please click here to see the current mid mountain temperatures.

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