This season, Sundance Resort has been blessed with crazy amounts of snow. Every day, it seems that there is another 6-10 inches of powder. For a self-professed Groomer Girl, this is a challenge I wasn’t sure I was ready to face.
But, you can’t disappoint the ladies. So, I put on my big girl snow pants, braved the nasty roads, thanked myself for buying a 4×4 and headed up the mountain. As a girl who grew up in Las Vegas, weather and road conditions like yesterday can really put the fear of God in me. A personal triumph even before I got to the resort.
When we gathered for class, I could see the fear in my snow sisters’ eyes. Those of us in the intermediate groups (there are 4 groups this time) were visibly worried. Most of us ski only on Bluebird Days and pristine conditions and leave the resort at the smallest hint of a challenge. Only the advanced black diamond ladies group was excited about the powder. But, since we were all there together under the watchful eyes of amazing instructors, we took the plunge (literally) into the powder.
Powder is different than groomed snow. You can’t dig in like you do on packed conditions. You have to float on top of the snow. Everything I have learned is counter-intuitive to powder skiing. It’s a good metaphor for life: when the conditions are right, sometimes you just need to float, not carve. Go with the flow, work with the snow. Don’t get too aggressive and let the snow guide you. For a control freak, that’s hard.
Of course, I fell (doesn’t hurt in powder) when I tried to control the snow and carve. Then I had to try to get a ski back on (impossible in powder) while my class watched me from 100 yards down the mountain. Of course, my thighs burn today because I didn’t stay in Home Base well enough (a term from Sundance’s award-winning ski program). Of course, I had a hard time getting over my need to control. But, I am proud I got out of my comfort zone and tried something I never would have on my own.
Being with other women really motivates you to try something new—try something that makes you stretch. And that is the only way to make progress and learn. Sometimes floating teaches you more than you expected. Our instructor, Sadie, is a mom like us with kids ranging from 19 to 13. She understands us and pushes us just enough where we are learning but not endangering ourselves. We trust her and that is what we need to conqueror our fears and try something new.
Yesterday, I experienced a different kind of floating. Each Ladies Day session, I am amazed at the women I meet and how much our lives mirror each other’s. The group is very cohesive and we become instant friends. We see friends from past years who float back into our lives even if only for a few weeks. I saw Rachel from Australia yesterday—she’s in the black diamond group now. I saw my friend Amanda with her daughter. I saw other ladies that I don’t remember their names but we are Snow Sisters so who cares.
But yesterday was special. I met a woman named Lisa who I had met 25 years ago in Moscow, Russia. How amazing is that? To sit on a lift and discuss your life only to find that you had known each other in another time, another, country, another hair color. We floated back into each other’s lives after so many years. In Moscow, we shared living in a country in a time of great transition in moving from Communism to a free market Socialism. And now we share a transition that is maybe not as radical, but sure feels like it: moving from groomer girls to powder princesses (almost).
To all you ladies who are hesitant to ski powder or get back on skis after your child-bearing hiatus, I say “Come Join the Snow Sisters! Be a Chick on Sticks! Be a Groomer Girl or a Powder Princess!” The mountain is your oyster. Sundance is the place. Ladies Day is the way. Can you tell I love it?
Float not Carve, Float not Carve. The mantra for the week!
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