[R498R, Whitetail Resort] in Pennsylvania has a First Timer's Guide to take beginners through the experience of arriving at the ski area for their first-ever ski or snowboard lesson. The Guide is brilliant, given the importance of bringing new skiers and riders into the sport. Many resorts have similar guides, but not all are as thorough and friendly in their step-by-step wisdom.

The Guide describes the lesson after discussing what to wear, where to go, and how to choose a lesson/rential package.

"Now is when the fun really starts. In the next hour or so, you'll learn all of the basic skills that you need to get started with a lifetime of skiing or snowboarding.

"The first thing you will learn is how to put on your skis or snowboard and how to move around on the flat. This will give you a chance to get to know your equipment and get the feel for sliding around. You will also learn how to climb up the hill and turn yourself around while standing still," the Guide says.

"Next you will learn to slide straight down the hill. Unless you are an ice skater or in-line skater, your brain has been programmed to believe that sliding across the ground while standing up is, as a rule, something to be avoided. It takes a few runs down the hill before your brain figures out that it is not only OK, but a lot of fun."

From there it's the carpet lift, and then the chairlift, and on to a lifetime of fun.