Professional skier Burke, 28, is a three-time X Games gold medalist in the superpipe. Look for her in the new women-only ski film Say My Name.
1. NEVER RENT BOOTS: You can get second-hand skis, but if there's one thing to splurge on, it's boots: See a boot fitter if they don't fit right. And always take them with you. It's OK to rent skis, but not boots. They likely won't fit you well, so you won't have good edge control. Plus they're nasty and they stink. There's nothing good about rental boots.
2. FOLLOW YOUR NOSE: I don't look at a map all that often. If I see terrain that looks interesting, I just head that way. And because you don't always have cell service at most resorts, I always bring my Spot [$150; findmespot.com], a little GPS device that sends out a signal and an e-mail with your exact coordinates. If you get injured or lost, you can send friends and family a message that you're OK or need help.
3. TRY THE PARK: Everyone I take into the park has a great time. Boxes are good for beginners: You have a lot more control, and they're more friendly than rails if you split or fall back. Start on the small ones and work your way up.
4. NEXT, SHOOT FOR THE PIPE: You can slowly work your way up the walls until you're comfortable actually getting air out of the pipe. Work on getting higher and higher every time. And don't cut anybody off. Putting your pole up just before you go is a good way to let everybody know you're dropping in.
5. AND DON'T FORGET TO POP: Wherever you are, the park, pipe, or just exploring the mountain, you won't get better at tricks—or simply get more air or land more easily—if you don't know how to properly pop off kickers. You want to have your arms in front of you, with forward pressure on your boots, and then keep that forward momentum through the transition. As soon as you get to the takeoff, extend your legs and really explode!