Tag Archives: skiing

Chickadees on Sticks

My mom was one of those women who did not sweat, she glowed. And she never seemed to do that even in 114-degree heat in Las Vegas. So, she never really pushed me into athletics. It wasn’t the lady-like thing and I wasn’t naturally driven to sports. The idea of running appealed to me about as much as getting my teeth drilled at the dentist’s office. I did play a few team sports with my church and I did take a few dance classes (very lady-like). But most of my extracurricular activities were focused on music or theater. I never really saw myself as the athletic type

I didn’t want the same for my daughter. I wanted her to experience the world in all its glory. I wanted her to be an active verb, as George Bernard Shaw said. I especially wanted my daughter to feel the empowerment of her body in action.

Lessons at Sundance have been an integral part of my daughter’s active life. She sees herself as someone who has physical prowess and power. She is active all year around. She participates in a sport that takes guts as well as physical training. She feels her body responding to the challenge. She is an active verb.

But it has done more than get her active—it gets her out of her comfort zone. She feels the aggressive stance needed for skiing and that translates into her everyday life. She can face challenges the way she faces skiing down a black diamond.

It also gives her a chance to bond with other girls who are skiing. She and her best friend take lessons during ski season and it has been a great experience to ski together. Sometimes, I take a group of girls to ski together and they have such a fun time bonding and enjoying the challenge. There is no caddy conversation, no back-biting. The time is filled with encouragement for each other and challenge for each person.

I am lucky enough to be able to take my daughter out of school and have her in ski school during the Sundance Ladies Day that I participate in. Ski lessons are a very educational experience and worth the days she misses at school. We make sure she keeps up with her assignments and tests. But this makes her a more well-rounded person.

Last week, the girls spontaneously made up a song about their wonderful day skiing powder. Take a listen. They are amazingly cute. They are chickadees on sticks!

 

Think you Can’t? Think Again!

I love Sundance Ladies Day so much that I tell every woman I meet about it.  This year, I was joined by 9 other women and three girls (total of 13) who I cajoled and chatted and convinced to come with me.  It has been SO much fun! We have one class left, but I am celebrating today because today was great!

Ever since my first year skiing, I have been talking to my friend Shannon and telling her that she should come with me too.  This year started out about the same way with me telling her she should come and her saying probably next year.  BUT, something amazing happened.  Shannon brought her daughters to ski with Anna in Ladies Day and when she saw us, she changed her mind!  I actually did not believe she would show up for the next lesson.  But she did!

Along with Shannon, my neighbor Chandani agreed to ski this year too! Like Shannon, I thought Chandani would find some reason not to come. Chandani is from India where no one skis.  She had no snow clothes so she borrowed everything from me and headed up the mountain with me and Andrea.

It has been so fun to see two Never Evers ski.  It brings me back to my own experience 4 years ago when I was a Never Ever.  Listening to them talk about how they felt the first day and how hard it was (Shannon told me that she might never forgive me after her first day) to seeing them ski today and how happy they were to ski that they wanted to ski after Ladies Day.  So, we went up to Mid Mountain and I got a chance to film them after three lessons.

Check them out (and the girls).  Yes, it isn’t perfect skiing, but for 3 days on the mountain, it’s pretty darn good! It makes me realize what anyone can do.  Think you can’t ski?  Think Again!

So why are they doing so well?  The great instructors in the Sundance Ladies Day!  Steve was stellar at taking my friend Andrea from 0-100 last year (she is a rock star and was able to get to the back mountain in 4 lessons) and he’s taken Chandani and Shannon from Never Ever to being excited to ski and looking forward to more.   And Eleanor has only skied 4 times with Sundance Instructors.  Look how incredibly great she is doing too!

What about me?  I had a fabulous day working on my carving with Kipper and the ladies in my group.  I am a groomer girl and I loved today.  Perfect Bluebird and warm.  I appreciate so much that Kipper takes the time to talk to each woman in the group and see what her challenges are and help individually.  I have an issue with my legs that makes it difficult to bend as much as others.  Kipper modified what she was teaching me to fit my needs and helped me get better.  That is a great instructor!  Look how happy we all are!  LadiesDay3

So, if you think you can’t be up on the mountain skiing with your family or friends (or even alone in the beauty of nature), think again!  Look what you can do at Sundance Ladies Day!

 

Guy’s Take on Ladies Day

Last Saturday, I went to Sundance for a lesson from the same instructor that Nancy has had during Sundance Ladies Day last season. His name is Jay and he is a regular Ladies Day Instructor. Frankly, I thought it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for a guy who comfortably skis the black runs for almost last twenty years. Maybe he could give me a few pointers, but I know how to get down a mountain fast so what could he teach me?

It was a humbling experience, to say the least. The lesson showed me clearly that I no longer could call myself a decent skier. After the first run, Jay kindly pointed out several areas that I need to work on so that I can improve my skills. Being a car guy, Jay used car analogies to help me understand what I was doing wrong and how to make thing right–this made things clear to me. Jay also did other things with me like drawing the forces that act on a body during the turns on the snow, “playing tug of war” pulling each others’ hand and twisting the body while trying to keep the balance, following Jay’s ski line on the runs, and “waltzing on the snow” drawing the circles with the boots.  All these tips made total sense and helped better embrace the new concepts.

Run after run, we went over things that I needed to pay attention to. Ski lifts quickly became not only a chance to recap the instructions but also increasingly more welcome breaks between the runs. By noon, my mind was overloaded with new information and my legs and back was surely screaming for a break. After the lesson was over, I thought I would take a few more runs to solidify what I had been taught but my body was ready for a hot tub and a long afternoon nap.

The main point learned was that lessons are not easy if you do them right but they can really advance your skills even for tough guys who think that they are awesome on the slopes.

WIFE NOTE: My husband’s experience was so much like my experience with Sundance Ladies Day–it is an incredible learning opportunity and there is so much to be conquered to get better at skiing.  So, even if you are not a beginning skier and have skied for 20 years, come try it.  There is an instructor and a level just for you! And not so secretly, I am glad Jay worked him out because I have had many-a-day when I came home mentally and physically wiped out when my husband wondered why 2 hours of skiing could be so taxing.  Now, he understands!  We learn the same skills and do the same drills he mentioned above.

What I Learned in Sochi and at Sundance

This week, I missed Sundance Ladies Day for the Olympics in Sochi. It was so wonderful to be there next to the Black Sea and to be able to watch the greatest skiers in the world.

I wish!  Actually, I got bronchitis and had to miss Ladies Day. Since I had tons of “quality time” laying in bed, I watched downhill, slalom, freestyle, super combined and so on and sometimes when the coughing woke me up, I got to watch the same events again at 2 am.  I even watched snowboarding (yes, Lindsay, I am sure you are proud of me for not being prejudice).

I always watch the Olympics like a good American cheering on the Home Team.  I worry and fret over races that have already been run 11 hours earlier.  And without my favorite sports broadcaster, Bob Costas, things could have been even more bleak than a Tolystoy Winter and worse than the snow in Sochi.

But, not so. I approached the Olympics like attending the world’s most advanced ski school.  Watching the world’s best skiers and listening to the comments made by the mostly insightful Dan Hicks.  In true American fashion, I have used my ingenuity to learn what I can from the situation I am in and I think I have gained a great deal from my Sochi Olympic Ski School.  Now, it is in no way as good as Sundance Ladies Day and I can’t wait to get back on the slopes, but in the mean time, let me share with you what I learned in Sochi that I also learned at Sundance.

Same Struggles: Last week, Kipper said that there are not a lot of new skills to learn, just degrees of perfecting those skills.  Now, I see what she means because watching the world’s best, I could see the same struggles just in much more refined stages.  Lindsay will be proud to know that Ted Ligity shares her hand dropping problem.  Julia Mancuso got too far in her back seat and lost control like I do sometimes (well a lot of times).  I saw skiers turn their upper bodies (my big mistake).  Others lost focus or tried to push the skies too soon instead of trusting the line they had taken.  Many struggled with conditions, which, to be fair, have been awful.  I thought I was the only person who hated skiing on variable snow conditions but I see that even the world’s best hate it as much as I do.

Same Skills: The skills that Sundance instructors are teaching are the same skills that Olympians need to work on. Of course, they are working on perfecting their skills in millimeters and are working on shaving off milliseconds, but I see them using the same skills my instructors are teaching me.  Watching the mogul skiers I see the value of keeping the upper body pointed down the mountain while keeping the lower body pivoting like a gyroscope.   Seeing the downhill races, I understand the importance of keeping the ski on edge and pushing the ski into the mountain.  I see how much chatter there really is in the ski and how strong you can be (and how much your ski flexes—WOW).  I may not be laying it down like Bode Miller, but I realize my ski can take a more aggressive line than I have given it credit for.  Kipper has been telling me to be a warrior and attack the mountain.  There is nothing dainty in the way Julia Mancuso skis—even if she is girlie with her sequins and her tiara.  She attacks the mountain and goes full force.  Don’t hold back.

Play to Strengths: I noticed that each skier has a different ski personality. Some are the type that just shoot down the mountain like their rear is on fire.  Others plot their way down with more precision.  The successful ones know their strengths and use them to be more successful.   As a new skier, I need to find my own strengths and play to those.  I don’t have the same strengths as Lindsay.  She, by nature, is more aggressive than me and has more athletic experience and snowboarding experience than me.  I think mine is patience.  I am willing to wait for it to come and practice over time—at least I keep telling myself this is true.  Fake it till you make it right?   My husband reminded me the other day that I have only been skiing a total of about 50 hours so I needed to cut myself some slack because expecting anyone to do something well that is not related to anything they have EVER done in 50 hours is probably not very realistic.  True.  I will use my patience strength to be a great skier by the time I am in my 50s! Over time, this will pay of and I am having fun in the mean time.  Ladies Day each year is definitely speeding up my process.  I would never have made it this far without their help.

Nobody Does it Alone: You see one person swooshing down the mountain, but you don’t see the 20 people behind the person who made it possible for that person to be up there: parents, trainers, coaches, and so forth who were there to support, teach, and train that person from a very young age so they could have an Olympic moment.  Same thing for me.  Without Sundance Ladies Day, I would have given up the first season—actually, I never would have tried without Linda Hale.  And then if I had tried and stayed with it, I definitely would have quit this year when I had my ride in the toboggan.  But, great instructors helped me get back up there and are keeping me coming back.  As soon as I am medically cleared, I will be back up on the slopes.

Got to Have Heart: Finally, no Olympian makes it there by giving up. Like the penguins of Madagascar say, it takes spit, grit and a whole lot of duct tape.  Amen!

In Too Deep: Learning to Ski Powder

Last year, I missed the best month of snow so I was determined to ski Sundance Ladies Day this February. Day 1, I was not disappointed: 6 inches of deep powder. WOW! I have never skied that much deep powder. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

In my last post, I discussed being OK as a tortoise who has friends who are all hares when it comes to sports. Well, I took another friend, Marreya, to her first time skiing and once again, she conquered the mountain in one try—all the way to the top of the main lift on Day 1. I am so happy for her.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my tortoise status and talking with my husband and I realized that my friends all have experience in other sports and that translates to success in skiing. Lindsay snowboards, Andrea water skies, Marreya snowboards and ice skated. But me, I am a true couch potato now trying to learn to ski. And when we started counting the hours I have actually skied, it is only about 30 hours total. SOOOOO, I am officially cutting myself some slack and embracing my tortoise status and thanking the instructors at Sundance Ladies Day for getting this TRUE couch potato as far as I have gotten.

This month, I am skiing with Kipper. She has always been the instructor teaching the highest level ladies class. Mary Ann and I are together. Mary Ann has skied since she was 16 but only skies with her kids and is looking to gain confidence and learn skills. Kipper is teaching us this time and giving another instructor a chance with the most advanced skiers. But, even though we are not the most advanced (we are somewhere in the middle), she teaches us with the same intensity she teaches the advanced class—or at least it seems that way.

Kipper is amazing to ski with. She grew up with a dad as the director of the Snowbird Ski School and now he is the Director of Sundance Ski School (Jerry Warren). It is in her blood and she teaches with an intensity that is amazing! Match her intensity with fresh powder conditions (6 inches of deep, ungroomed powder and more coming down) and it was enough to wipe me out for the rest of the day. I literally went home and laid on the couch I was so tired.

The great thing about taking classes from different instructors at Sundance Ladies Day is that each instructor has their own way of talking and their own approach to things. I have been working on the same issue for the several weeks and have seen some improvement. But one issue still baffles me—getting my body position so that my hips are pointing up the mountain and my head and chest are down the mountain in the proper carve position (read my previous posts). Kipper had some ideas to try that seemed to help and thanks to her new approach, I am a bit closer than I was last week. It is a hard skill for me to learn and I am continuing to chip away at it and some day I will get it. Maybe I will finally get a breakthrough this Ladies Day and it will begin to come naturally for me.

Thanks Kipper for an exhausting and wonderful first day! Marreya, I am so glad for you that you are an amazing first time skier. What can I say. You, and all my other friends are hares and can do everything else physical much better than me. I will have to try harder and better and longer. But at this pace, I will have a great group of friends to ski with me by the time we are all ready to go!

Now that I have rested, I am ready to go again! There are 30 inches of new snow waiting for waiting for Kipper, Mary Ann and me for our Three Hour Tour! Thank goodness we don’t have Ginger, the Professor and Mr. and Mrs. Thurstan Howell III skiing with us.  I feel like Gilligan!

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!

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.

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.

Learn to Ski or Take On Any New Challenge

Nancy chose this as the winter to challenge herself and learn to ski.  She and Shelly discuss taking on a new challenge in life and learning how to do something new and exciting.  They discuss the specifics of being successful at skiing but also the general principles of learning anything new or succeeding in life.

Nancy learned to ski at the Sundance Resort Ladies Day.

Here is a video of Nancy skiing–not bad for a true beginner who has only had four lessons.

Shelly suggested the following book: We Can Do, by Moshe Kai Cavalin

Other Post on Skiing

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!

Sundance Ladies Day Lesson 1 The Might Fall Hard

Today was one of the hardest days I have had in a long time–just getting from the car to the Sundance Ladies Day ski school took everything I had.  How do skiers walk in these dumb boots wearing these hot clothes and carrying these heavy skis and poles.  Make this times two since I had my daughter with me and had to carry her stuff and help her walk in the boots. Luckily, no one was filming us because we probably looked very silly.  When we finally tromped to Sundance, we were met by a legion of angels–women there to help lost people find their way around. They helped us find how to finish registration for Ladies Day and Ski School and one lady was even kind enough to walk back to my car and retrieve my poles which I forgot.  Then, these angels helped us walk to the ski school and even gave Anna a certificate for a free hot chocolate at the end of her lesson (I guess I wasn’t fooling anyone that I was ready to be anything than the hot chocolate mama).

My daughter, of course, was ready and excited to learn to ski.  She took off with her teacher, Kaleb, and was happy as a clam.  Never having been to Sundance Ladies Day , I was very pleased to find out that my ski instructor would not be a college-aged kid who does not understand the workings of a older body.  To my great joy, my instructor turned out to be Linda’s husband Cody.  After years of convincing me to learn to ski, Linda could not be my teacher, but Cody stepped in.  The touch of grey in his hair gave me confidence that I was in good hands (along with the fact that everyone kept telling me he was the best instructor around).

That was the best part of the day.  I actually want to forget most of the rest of today.  While my daughter whizzed around me doing everything with ease, I had a hard time doing anything.  I thought it was bad while I was at the bottom of the hill (trying to make small turns and shift my weight and move the skis around), but then, Cody and I went up to the bunny hill. Walking up there in those boots almost put me under!

Surprisingly, I did great at the tow rope–thanks to lots of tubing runs at Soldier’s Hollow. But then, the real test came–getting down the bunny hill.  I have bruises on my bruises.  I fell so many times and I don’t think I will ever get the hang of skiing.  Four lessons is not going to be enough.

All I can say is that I feel bad for Cody who had to hold my skis so I did not fly down to my demise.  Why did I ever think I could do this?  Actually, it was a bit fun and I could see if I can get the hang of this, I will probably enjoy myself.  Well, I guess I will be back next week to try again. Learning something for the first time is always hard.

As an FYI, my daughter conquered the bunny hill before I even got to it and took the lift to the first stop where she skied down with her instructor.  Oh, to be young, foolish and close to the ground! We ended our day with hot chocolate, of course!