Carving Up the Mountain

I am not coordinated like my friends Lindsay and Andrea who caught on to skiing quickly. I am a slow learner (think tortoise and the hare) and that is OK.  But, this is my year to learn to carve.  I can feel it!  New skis, great conditions (even without any fresh snow–thanks to Sundance’s great groomers), and fabulous Sundance Ladies Day instructors.

This week, we worked on carving again.  Of course, Lindsay gets it because she is a snowboarder and that is the natural state of the snowboarder.  For me, the idea of leaning in to the mountain and being on the thin edge of the ski seems ridiculous.  But, I trust Cody, my super instructor and the man who got me up on skis and down the bunny hill 3 seasons ago.  So, I am trying to defy my body’s sense of right and Carving Turn_13001230500wrong and throw myself down the mountain while laying into it at the same time.  Is that a good way to describe carving?  This is what it is supposed to look like.  Well, some day I will get there.

The point of Sundance Ladies Day is that I can keep going each season until I get it.  And maybe I will never get to this point but I enjoy the process of learning to ski so much.  Don’t tell my kids, but I actually enjoy skiing with Ladies Day more than skiing with them right now.  I get to concentrate on my own skiing and have fun with my friends rather than focusing on my kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love being with them but I LOVE Ladies Day.  I feel safe and secure and also I feel stretched.  This week, I stretched in ways that I haven’t stretched all year and I have muscles that hurt from trying to carve.  But I slept last night so deep that my kids had to wake me up in the morning.  That is what a good day on the mountain will do for you.

AndreaBearClawPinThis was the last lesson in this session and I am so proud of Andrea that she was able to learn to ski Bearclaw in 3 weeks and get more comfortable in 4.  Anna also learned to ski Bearclaw this session so as as family we can all ski Bearclaw now.  That means we no longer have to split up so the boys can have fun and I stay with Anna on the front mountain.  Thanks to Anna’s instructor Caleb who has faithfully helped her everAnnaBearClawy season, she has conquered the mountain.Check out Andrea and Anna getting their Bearclaw pins!

I am beyond proud of this first session and am heading back for more skiing and more lessons!  I started the seasons out on a toboggan and in the back of an ambulance having lost my confidence worried that I did not have the ability to do anything physical (you can read about that in Back on the Horse).  But, skiing has taught me that I can.  I may be a bit slower than my friends, but this tortoise is going to carve up the mountain at her own pace. Watch out you hares because I am on my way!

 

Top of the Mountain in Three Easy Lessons

My friend Andrea had “skied” three times in her life.  You know that kind of skiing:  someone who can’t remember how hard it is to stand on the side of a snow-covered mountain on waxed ironing boards (skis) takes you to the top and says, “Meet you at the bottom!

Well, after years of therapy, I convinced Andrea that I would NOT do that to her and that she would LOVE skiing.  Thanks to Sundance Ladies Day, I was proven right.  Andrea started skiing three weeks ago with Steve, her incredible instructor.  On Day 1, she made it off the bunny hill and on to the lift for 5 (count ‘em 5) runs down mid mountain!

But that is not all folks!  On Week 3, I got the surprise of a lifetime when I heard Andrea calling my name on the TOP of the mountain!  Can you believe it? Here’s a picture to prove it.AndreaTop

Needless to say, Andrea learned to ski WAY faster than me (come to think of it, so did Lindsay—I need to get less athletic friends so I don’t feel like such a schmuck). It took me 10 lessons to get to the top.  Maybe it helps that she knows how to water ski and I don’t.

The best thing is that I now have another buddy to ski with. And, since our husbands both ski, we have a new date opportunity.  We can play hooky during the week and ski. We have traveled around the world together and now we can have fun in our own backyard!

I am doing great at my lessons and my slow pace too.  I am working on carving (still) and feeling that graceful ski position and not the upper body twist I sometimes do.  This may take me a while and I am sure I will need a lot of practice. So since we haven’t had snow the entire month of January, I will be sacrificing something to the snow gods and praying for more snow in February when I take more Sundance Ladies Day lessons.  Despite the lack of precipitation, the snow machines at Sundance have made the absolute best of the snow they have and the conditions have been great. But fresh powder would be very welcome.  So, if you see me doing a ritual dance around my skis this week, you will know what I am doing!

Back On the Horse

Jan14Nancy Here!  I have been looking forward to Sundance Ladies Day since the last day of skiing in April 2013.  We purchased season passes and Sundance was blessed with enough snow to open early in December 2013 so we were able to ski several times before Sundance Ladies Day.  On my last ski day with my son, I took a nasty fall and could not make it down myself.  I had the joyous experience of taking a ride in a toboggan to the bottom of the mountain with Ski Patrol (Thanks Devon) where I was checked out by paramedics and declared physically OK.

However, I was not mentally OK. I was shaken to the core.  I began to doubt my skiing skills and whether or not I was ever cut out to ski.   The problem was that I have been the biggest cheerleader for Ladies Day and had invited 15 people to ski with me at Ladies Day.  Among those skiing with me this year is my dear friend Andrea who has only skied 3 times in her life and had given it up because she thought it was too hard and too cold.  So, despite my own doubts and fears, Andrea and I headed up to Sundance Ladies Day today.

To say I was worried, is an understatement.  I was fearful that I could not ski (even though I had been several times this season already).  Thank goodness I had Andrea to make me go.  Since it was her first time, she had a fabulous instructor named Scott assigned to her and they took off.  I was put in the Intermediate class with Lindsay and two other ladies (see Lindsay’s post Just Like Riding a Bike (Or Speeding Down the Mountain)! about her first day).  And thank goodness Cody Hale was my instructor again,  Cody had taught me to ski and had been there with me on the bunny hill.  He listened to my description of my fall, but years of teaching made him confident I would be fine.

So, up we went to the Back Mountain and BearClaw were I had fallen two weeks ago.  All the way up, I was thinking, “Can I even get off the lift?”  “What if I fall again and hit my head again?”  Well, the breathtaking beauty of the top of Sundance  began to calm my fears.  The day I had fallen was an icy day.  Today was wonderful!  I decided to just go for it and see what happened.

MAGIC!  I had not forgotten anything!  I was able to ski everything I had skied last season and do it with confidence.  This doesn’t mean I did not have some bad habits creep in that need some work and that I don’t have a lot to learn (A LOT), but I was able to conquer my fears and get back on the horse!  PHEW!  The day was a great milestone in my life because I was able to overcome my fears and see myself in a new light!

My friend Andrea did amazing and was able to get off the bunny hill and ski the first stop (mid mountain) 5 times!  WOOOOOO HOOOOO!  And even better than that, she loved it!  She is so excited to come back for more and have more experiences!  Now I have added one more great friend to ski with.  When we got home, Andrea said that she realized the wisdom of starting an activity like skiing with an instructor.  It got her farther in 2 hours than in the three times she had tried to ski before.

So, if you thought you were too old, had had a bad experience in the past, or just have not skied in years, this is the call to action!  Get out there and do it!  Sundance Ladies Day is an excellent place to do it but if you don’t live near Sundance, find the best ski instructors near you.  If you can come to Utah, Sundance is such a great place to learn because it has the right terrain for learning and superb instructors.  It is amazing.   And if you need to come down with Ski Patrol, Sundance is the best place to do that too.  Just make sure you get back on the horse because the ride is so worth it!

Ladies Day Jan 2014 – Just Like Riding a Bike (or Speeding Down a Mountain)!

This is Lindsay, here to fill in for Nancy and share my first Sundance Ladies Day experience of 2014 (Nancy will pphoto 2ost next week).

I am excited to be participating in Ladies Day for the third time.  I have been snowboarding for about 9 years and really love it.   However, my children (ages 4 and 6) are learning to ski and I want to be able to ski along with them and help them to progress, which is hard to do on a snowboard.  I also like the versatility of being able to choose my sport based on weather and conditions.  My family has been coming to Sundance regularly since moving to Utah 5 years ago and I love everything about the beauty and peace of the land.  I had a wonderful experience learning to cross-country ski at the Sundance Nordic Center Ladies Day a few years ago, so when Nancy suggested that I join her for downhill ski lessons, it didn’t take much to convince me.

Last winter I had a great time learning to ski and found that my downhill experience, combined with the great learning environment of Ladies Day, made it easy to progress in my skiing ability.  After a month of lessons, I skied a few times on my own, then signed up for another month of Ladies Day instruction to advance my skills.  However, a fall on an icy patch in the second week resulted in a knee injury that cut my ski season short.

So, it was with some nervousness that I approached my first ski day of 2014.  I was not afraid of an injury, but I was worried that after going 9 ½ months without practicing my newfound skills, they would be lost.  Utah was treated with some great early season snow, but each time I went to pack up my gear I regarded the skis with wariness (do I even remember how to put those on?!) and instead chose my old standby, the snowboard.  I remembered that I liked skiing and it felt very natural to learn, but that seemed so long ago.  My snowboarding skills are much stronger than my skiing abilities.  I thought, “What if I get up there and forget everything and waste a great snow day?”  Thus, the skis stayed packed away.

The morning of the first Ladies Day arrived and after the usual frenzy of getting my kids to school, I began the 30 minute drive to Sundance Resort.  As I entered the gorgeous Provo Canyon, my nervousness began to dissipate as I let myself be calmed by the natural beauty.  The drive to Sundance is lovely in any season, but in winter the snow on Mount Timpanogos and the surrounding peaks make it difficult not to feel at peace.  But, the butterflies returned when I struggled getting into my boots and tried to remember the right way to carry my skis and poles through the parking lot (one board is so much easier to manage!).  By the time I got to check-in I was unsure how to identify my skills to the Ski School staff since I had convinced myself that I was likely a Beginner again even though I ended last season in the Advanced group.  I settled on Intermediate, hoping not to embarrass myself too badly if I was wrong.

As I checked in with the Ladies Day staff, I was greeted by the friendly face of Kelly.  Kelly introduced me to my instructor, Cody Hale, who is the husband of the awesome Linda Hale.  Nancy and I had the pleasure of being in Linda’s class for Ladies Day last season and had a wonderful time.  I also heard great things about Cody from Nancy, who was in his class during her first experience with Ladies Day, so I was excited to get to work with him, as well.  Also in my group were two other women, Gayelynn and Becca.  I expressed my concern to the group about not remembering all that I learned last season and Cody gave me a reassuring smile, saying it was just like riding a bike.  I wasn’t convinced, but I was committed.

To my delight, I did remember how to put on my skis and made it onto the lift without falling.  The time on the lift was used to talk about our skiing experience, but for Cody the best assessment was to watch us ski.  We got off the lift at Mid-Mountain and he allowed us to ski for a bit without interruption so that he could determine our individual skill level.  He quickly noted our strengths and weaknesses and we began to work on edging and turning.  With some new techniques from Cody and echoes in my head of Linda’s past advice, it did not take long for me to feel the confidence return to my body as I made my way down the mountain.  Even though it had been many months since making the same movements, the skills came quickly back to me and it felt GREAT!

After making our way to the base, we rode Ray’s Lift to the top and worked on some different techniques while heading over to Jake’s.  We were happy to find that the conditions near Jake’s lift were great; the sun was shining and the trails were perfectly groomed for working on our turns.  The pitch of the hill allowed for us to work on our edges and practice using our speed, which the speed-demon in me loved.  After a few runs at Jake’s, I was really happy when Cody said we should go to the Back Mountain, via Flathead Lift.

One of the great perks of Ladies Day is riding the lifts with the other women in the group.  I enjoy getting to know them and finding out what has motivated them to learn to ski.  For Becca, it was to catch up to her 5 children who have all learned to ski at Sundance and are each becoming very skilled.  She wants to be able to ski with them and feels she needs to improve her skills to match theirs.  Becca’s 4 year old son was taking a lesson that day with the same instructor, Rebecca, that my son worked with a few weeks before.  Rebecca is a new instructor to Sundance and Becca was happy to hear that my son had a great experience with her.  She was glad to be able to bring him to a lesson while she was enjoying hers, which is another benefit of Ladies Day.

photo 1 The view from the top of Bearclaw is one of my favorite spots on earth.  This was the first time for Gayelynn to be there and she seemed very open and relaxed, which was inspiring to see.  We took advantage of the crystal clear view and took a photo from the top.  After the photo, we put together all of the skills we had been working on throughout the morning for the last run from the top of the mountain to the base, taking Bearclaw to Round Up, a diverse and scenic trail which is a family favorite.

We made it to the base exhilarated but disappointed that the lesson had come to an end.  It had been a great lesson to review and to build on my previous skills.  It was hard to recall the doubts I had just a few hours before.  Cody’s easy reassurance was right.  Once you learn to ride a bike, you cannot un-know it.  Now that I have learned to ski, I am a skier.  Though I cannot change that my first love was snowboarding, I’m grateful for the experiences at Sundance Ladies Day that have provided me with yet another way to speed down a mountain.

 

Skiing as a Family

Nancy and Lindsay discuss how to get the entire family into winter sports like skiing–both downhill and cross country.  Don’t stay locked inside the house this winter–get out together and enjoy an amazing, healthy time together.

Learn more about skiing lessons at Sundance Resort on our Sundance Ladies Day page. Learn about the 5th and 6th Grade Ski and Snowboard Passport.

Check out Lindsay and Nancy conquering the mountain!LadiesDayGroup

Reaching the Top

TopThe Last Day of my 2013 Sundance Ladies Day  classes was everything I could have hoped for.  Utah was caught in a crazy snowstorm and my husband did not want me to go up the mountain.  But how could I miss out on fresh powder?  I checked the road conditions in the canyon and got a call from someone who had already reached Sundance and knew the roads were better in the canyon than in town so I went for it.

The kids and I crept up canyon.  It took us twice as long to get there–but I cannot complain because that is all of 30 minutes.  When we reach Sundance, the sky is almost clear and everything seems perfect.  I realize that we have forgotten my helmet and goggles. I know it will be snowing up top so they are a must.  At the Sundance Outfitters, I am quickly helped by a rental helmet and a generous 40% off on a pair of goggles (didn’t know I needed new ones, but Hey–can’t miss this day).

Problem solved we head to Ski School.  The kids quickly find their instructors and head out happy for a day of skiing.  Lindsay has brought her daughter for her first downhill ski lesson.  Her daughter has skied cross country, but never downhill.  As always, Sundance is ready for anything and has an instructor waiting for her.

Our first activity is to try out the pole plant.  Linda is a bit worried that we are not ready, but she is such a great teacher that we quickly get a handle on it (or at least a basic understanding of what we are supposed to do–I don’t get it each time but I can see how it is helpful).

With the first lesson of the day under our belt, we decide that we had better tackle the top of the mountain today.  When I started Sundance Ladies Day this year, I thought MAYBE we would get to the top, but I wasn’t sure that I would be ready.  I find myself totally excited and ready to do it.  Something about being with Linda, one of the great instructors, and with other ladies makes it seem natural.

TopNancyLindsayRachelWe head up to find that the storm brewing in the valley is also at the top of the mountain.  So there is no clear view of the valleys below.  But here is the proof that we made it to the top!  I am so excited that I made it there.  It is my first time EVER making it to this point.  But now, we have to ski down (and remember that pole plant technique too!).  I was a bit nervous and I think all of us were a bit unsure since we could not see too many feet in front of us with the blowing snow, but we trusted Linda and headed out.

Amy’s Ridge is beautiful even in a snowstorm and so easy to ski.  LOVED IT!  I even got some pole planting done.  The powder snow was amazing! Wow is all I can say.  I had often thought people who ski are sadistic–who would want to hurdle themselves down a mountain on slippery wooden planks?  Now I get it.  So much fun!

On our way down, I am able to practice pole planting and also a bit of deep powder skiing.  On one of the runs (Roundabout), we get into some deep stuff.  I took two spills, but thanks to my protection pants, nothing hurts.  I love these pants created by Demon Sports.  Check out my post about equipment here.   I don’t fear falling anymore and I am even able to get up myself so I have made great progress since last year.

We are able to get in another fabulous run on Jake’s Lift and even though I still have tons of things to work on, skiing is getting to be just fun and exhilarating.  We are   doing more straight down the hill skiing and feeling how to control our speed and have fun with the turns. We are also able to see Lindsay’s daughter skiing down the first stop and even jumping on her skis for us.  She has learned to ski in one lesson!  She is as cool as her mommy!

LindaNancyI can’t tell you how sad I am that next week, I don’t have a lesson.  I can’t take in February or I would.  I will be back in March because it is so much fun.  I have loved Sundance Ladies Day this year even more than last year and can see why ladies come back year after year and bring their friends.  I have two other friends who will be coming in March and Rachel and Lindsay have sworn that they are coming too!  So, start in February and then join us in March!  We would love to see you on the mountain!

For more information on my experience this year and last, check out my Sundance Ladies Day  page.

Crunchy Ladies Day on the Mountain

IMG_0676  Day 3 of my 2013 Sundance Ladies Day was bitterly cold!  REALLY.  But the sky was bluebird blue and the air was clear.  This winter, that is a huge plus since the air in the valley has been very unhealthy.

IMG_0673One of the best things about Sundance Ladies Day is that you can bring your kids and they can take ski lessons for only $120.  The lessons are semi-private, but most of my childrens’ lessons were one-on-one.  We have participated in other Sundance Ski School lessons and I find that these are the best ones.  Check out these happy smiles!

IMG_0672Another thing that is great about Sundance Ladies Day is the opportunity to ski and meet with other women.   First thing in the morning, we gather together and chat as we get ready to ski.  I have met some great women and made some new friendships.

On to my lessons: The snow was reminiscent of last season when the snow was icy and crunchy.  A lot of my old habits began to appear.  I was tense and struggled to learn the nw skills.  But Linda is such a good teacher that she helped me over the hump.  Not everyday is going to be easy and Linda was able to fine tune her teaching to help me.  We spent the lesson learning how to get our bodies into the C shape needed to ski correctly and getting the parallel turns correct.

IMG_0680Again, Linda took me to places that I have never been on the mountain!  We had so much fun trying new places and working on our skills.  Even though the day was COLD, the scenery is amazing so it was totally enjoyable.

Additionally, something I really cherish about my Sundance Ladies Day classes is how much space there is on the mountains.  We practically have the mountain to ourselves.  I get angry on the weekends when I have to share the mountain with others.  Check out this video of us doing a first run of the day.  Not my best skiing (blame it on the ice), but not too bad for a beginner.  First Pass of the Day

Thanks to Linda, I was able to get past some of my bad habits from last season and get better at skiing on not-so-perfect snow.

Ladies Day Conquering the Back Mountain

LadiesDayNancyMy second day of Sundance Ladies Day started out SO wrong. In short, I found out we had purchased the wrong size ski poles for my son and was late because the school could not find my daughter for 20 minutes and then after rushing up the mountain to be on time,  I realized that I had forgotten our ski passes, lost my ID, credit cards and money. I burst into tears when I figured this out.

But, as always, Sundance took care of everything–their staff is superb.  I was able to get replacement passes, gather my whits and focus on a great day on the slopes.  My son’s pole issue was taken care of by his instructor (thank you!) and my stress was taken away when I shared my difficult morning with my instructor and fellow Ladies Day participants.  Nothing clears your mind like a 5 degree sunny morning on the lift and a quick warm up run down the mountain.

LadiesDayLindsayI was impressed to see how much I had remembered and how good it felt to ski.  I had been up on Saturday and maybe because it was crowded and maybe because I was skiing with my husband and wanted to keep up with him, I had not felt as confident.  Something about being with other women on a quiet run and in Linda’s capable teaching hands, relaxes me and makes it much easier for me to ski my best.  I even got to make First Tracks in one section of the mountain!  That is a treat.

BackMountainAs we worked on our issues and getting better at parallel skiing, we had a great time talking with each other, learning from each other and seeing each other’s progress.  That is one of the joys of Sundance Ladies Day–you don’t do it alone and working together, you learn more than you do by yourself.  For example, Lindsay was able to catch up to me and Rachel and she is skiing great on her second time on skis (she has snow boarded and nordic skied before).

Since we were all doing so well, Linda decided to take us to the new lift–Jake’s lift and then on to Flathead on the Back Mountain.  I have NEVER been to Back Mountain before.  But I was not worried at all.  I would have been freaked out if I had been with anyone else.  But, with my Ladies Day crew, I was very calm.  And boy, was I rewarded.  The day was the most beautiful day ever.  We had diamond dust falling as we looked across the beautiful scene of the Wasatch Mountains.  Stunning.  The sky was so blue and the mountains rose out of the mist of a slight fog.  WOW!

LadiesDayGroupLinda easily guided us down the mountain.  I had always thought that the Back Mountain meant all Black Diamonds, but there are ways for everyone to get down.  We took the Blue Square route and had a wonderful run down the mountain.  I am so proud of myself!  And I am not only getting down the mountain, I am skiing well.  I met my son on the mountain and he commented that I was looking good.  If you can impress your kids with your skiing, you are doing something right (you are either skiing well or you raised a kid who knows how to butter you up).

We ended the day on the mountain with a beautiful ski down the front of the mountain.  I found my inner peace on the mountain and I found my ID, credit card and money (in a pocket that I could not find when I was frenzied) and got the right sized poles for my son.  Sundance Ladies Day is an amazing experience!

(Note: Check out the frost on my hair in the first picture–it was COLD but amazing!)

For more information on Nancy’s entire Sundance Ladies Day experience, check out her Ladies Day Page.

 

The BEST Day Ever! Skiing in 2013

Today was the start of Sundance Ladies Day and I can’t say enough about what an amazing day it was!  The snow is SO much better than last year and skiing on snow instead of ice is really amazing.

But, I get ahead of myself.  I checked my kids out of school and we headed up the mountain.  Living 20 minutes from Sundance is really a blessing.  When we got there, we found that my neighbor had come up for her very first time on skis in her life!  We had not expected to see her there, but it was fabulous that she is starting–and can I tell you–she did way better than moi on my first day.  I did not get off the bunny hill and she made it to the first stop (and down safely)!

The excitement continued to build as we headed for Ski School.  My kids went to meet their teachers and I greeted my friends Cody and Linda Hale and saw a few familiar faces from last season.  But, I did not see Lindsay, our co-host, who was supposed to be at the class and learning to ski for the first time (she snowboards so I was hoping she would be in the same group as me).

We took the lift up to the first stop so the instructors could see our skiing levels and divide us into groups by abilities and desires.  Of course, I knew I would be in the beginning group (not the new skier group, but one step up).  I did not embarrass myself, but I could see that the other ladies were much better than me.  But that is OK because this is my second season!

I was so excited to find out that Linda Hale would be my instructor for Ladies Day.  We were joined by Rachel, a mom from Australia who had not skied in 10 years and wanted to get her technique better.  We started our class by discussing what our goals were for the season and where we feel we were at.   I wanted to get myself out of the wedge and into parallel skiing with more ease.

Linda is an Amazing instructor (as they all are) and she quickly knew what skill drills we needed to start with.  At first, it was a bit difficult, but soon all those skills I tried to learn last year came back to me and they were actually working on REAL snow.

I can’t say enough about the day.  It really was my best skiing day EVER so far.  I started out hoping that by the end of the 4 weeks, I would be parallel skiing to actually being able to parallel ski on the first day!  Working with other women is fabulous because we all support each other.  I could see what Rachel was doing that I had done previously and I could quickly give her a pointer that I had learned.  She could help me and was patient when I was having issues.  Of course working with Linda made it so easy too because she knows how to teach other women to ski.  Like she told me 6 years ago–she has never lost a student!

Closer to the end of the day, we found Lindsay and my friend skiing with their instructor.  Since Lindsay had snowboarded before, she was more comfortable with skiing and she joined us in our beginner class.  It was so much fun to ski with her.  Something about skiing together with other women makes skiing more fun and easier to learn–I am not sure why but it is better than a 1 on 1 lesson by far.

I was able to see my kids enjoying themselves and I even saw Alex skiing backwards!  He really rocked the mountain!  The kids had a fabulous day and loved everything.  Their instructors were both fabulous and I am excited to get them up on the mountain again!

LOVED LOVED LOVED everything about today’s Ladies Day!  It feels so good to conqueror the mountain! I promise to post a video next week.  I was so nervous that I forgot.  But I did get a picture!  Check our smiles out!

For more information on my experience this year and last, check out my Sundance Ladies Day  page.

The Hardest Thing about Learning to Ski

The hardest thing about learning to ski is the GROUND! I learned January 2012–the worst snow season in many years so it was very painful. I came home week after week with bruises on my bruises. The pain almost kept me from completing my lessons but I saw all those people having fun and decided to continue.

I don’t subscribe to the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy and have been looking for ways to lessen the power of the ground.  Of course I have a helmet—that is why I can still string sentences together. But, I recently found a company that creates protective gear for hips, tailbones, and ribs as well as wrists, elbows and knees and it happens to be 4.7 miles away from my house. COOL!

Before my first trip down the mountain, I took a detour to DEMON Sports. They specialize in  “Keeping You from an Early Grave.” Sounds like my kind of place. After chatting with Brent about my painful months on the slopes, here is what I tested today:

  • Demon Flexforce X D3O Women’s Long Pants: long johns on steroids with pads at the hips, thighs, tailbone and knees. They are lightweight and did not feel any heavier than my regular base layer but provided great warmth and protection. They were comfortable on the drive up to the resort and on the lift. Nothing was binding or tight on the way down–I actually forgot I was wearing them. If you are hoping to look svelte on the slopes, they do add a bit to your profile, but that is a small price to pay for protection. Just channel your inner Lindsay Vonn–she doesn’t seem to mind the look of padded thighs.

UPDATE:  I took my first spill today and thanks to the Flexforce Pants, no pain and no bruises!

  • Demon Vest X D3O: protects your back and your inners from attacks by those who can’t stop with stealth back protection technology and padding on the ribs. The belt even helped keep my back warm so my back didn’t tighten up. It was comfortable all day.  I am NOT looking forward to the situation where I will be glad I am wearing this, but I know it will be much less painful than without it.
  • Flexmeter Single Sided Gloves. These gloves have a great range of motion while still having a wrist guard built right in them–no need for a separate piece of equipment and are made to distribute the impact of a fall. Having taken a trip over the front of my mountain bike (broke my elbow) a few years ago, I have been protective of my wrists and arms but worried that wrist guards would impede my range of motion. These don’t. If you already have gloves you love or just want to get wrist guards, Demon also has wrist guards made specifically for ladies. But these are great gloves all around and the wrist guards make them superb!

DEMON Sports has tons of other protective gear for skiing at all price points: protection shorts that could work for other sports, knee pads, shin guards, wrist guards and padded compression shirts.  I’ll be making a trip back to the store. Their protection gear for bikers may even get me back on my mountain bike again. I don’t think their gear for boarders will get me on a long board but that is OK.

Check them out at demonsnow.com. Our listeners and readers get a 25% discount (take25).  They are happy help protect your tuckus.

Sundance Ladies Day: Can’t Stop Now

After 4 lessons at Sundance Ladies Day, I decided that I needed to keep going and I signed up for another 4 lessons.  The experience was different the second time around.  I did not take my daughter (how much school can one kid miss?), I already knew what I was getting in to, I had a different experience with the instructors and I had some actual snow to ski on for one of the days.

Sundance Ladies Day Lesson 4

When I started this Sundance Ladies Day skiing journey 4 weeks ago, I was tackling something that I thought I would NEVER do in my life.  I was happy to be the hot chocolate mama and sit in the lodge waiting for everyone else to ski down to me.  I was willing to be on the sidelines because I thought it was too hard to learn as an adult. I thought that after having kids and medical and health issues that there was no way I could learn to ski.  Luckily, Linda Hale never gave up asking me to learn to ski because today, I did it! I made it safely down Sundance 5 times (yes, that is a FIVE) today and have video to prove it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puiQz3dh8cw

How did I do it?  I have to thank Sundance Ladies Day and Cody Hale.  Sundance has been teaching women to ski for years and they know how to create the right atmosphere.  The price is so right and the teachers are so great that it really is the best deal around! The cost of the 4 weeks of lessons is about what it would have cost for lift tickets.  How could I pass that up?

Now, if I could just feel comfortable going up alone with my kids . . . So . . . . I think I am going to take another 4 weeks of Ladies Day!  I want to feel comfortable with myself on the mountain.

Sundance Ladies Day Lesson 3 Getting the Hang of This

This time at Sundance Ladies Day, I actually did something closer to skiing.  Don’t pay too much attention to the flailing arms, but look what I did on my second day actually getting off the lift at the first stop.  Can you believe it?  I could not. In only three lessons, I am going down the mountain! Even though I fell quite a bit, I am so glad to be up on skis instead of down on the snow.  I think I am getting the hang of this skiing thing. I can’t wait to come back next week!  Cody has been such a great teacher and it has been so wonderful to get to know him as we have been sitting on the lift.

My daughter smoked down Sundance–she even went to the second stop. Oh how I wish I had learned as a kid. http://youtu.be/zy37GLuYYpg

Such a wonderful experience and now I can ski a bit! I am looking forward to learning more and getting better.  I don’t have any illusion that I am done learning, but I am on my way!  No more bunny hill for me.

Sundance Ladies Day Lesson 2 Got On The Lift

This week’s Sundance Ladies Day lesson was not half as bad as last week’s.  My daughter and I had an easier time walking to the lessons in our boots and our angels were there to help again. Thank goodness those lovely ladies are there to help the stranded.

Once we got to the Ski School, my daughter took off happily with her instructor.  I met up with Cody with a bit of fear in my heart. He had told me last week that we would be taking the lift up for sure today. I cannot even imagine the idea of getting on the lift, not to mention getting off the lift.  It is one of my greatest fears.

Cody and I took off to the bunny hill and after several semi-successful runs (with fewer falls), Cody said I was ready to take the lift.  However, I first had to make it down from the bunny hill to the lift–a very daunting task for someone on her first lesson on a day when there is very little snow to soften the fall.  Thanks to Cody and his patience, we made it down to the lift.  I was so scared.  I have been on the lift in the summer with a mountain bike, but that is one thing–no storm trooper boots with sticks strapped to your legs to get in the way of getting off.  How was I supposed to get off and not fall off?

Cody promised me that I would be able to get off successfully.  He has this ability to make me feel calm and trust him.  So, I went with him.  We chatted for the few minutes it took to get to the first stop–not long enough for me.  When the first stop came, he guided my elbow and somehow, I got off the lift without falling.  It was a great achievement for me.

And then I saw it–the mountain!  It was the bunny hill on steroids.  How was I supposed to get down from there?  People were swishing around me with smiles on their faces, enjoying themselves.  But I was stunned by the task that was ahead of me.

I really don’t know how I made it down.  I fell a few times and it took us about 30 minutes to get down, but I made it.  I actually skied down the first stop!  My daughter passed me several times while I was trying to get down.  She was so happy.  Oh, to be small!  I am proud that I made it.  Even if I never go up again, I made it down!