Tag Archives: Sundance Ladies Day

Mama Got Her Mojo Back

January 2017 has been an out-of-the-comfort-zone Ladies Day season. Deep powder, ice, high winds snow storms, white-knuckle driving. We joke that If it is Thursday and if it is Ladies Day, there must be a storm. Today was supposed to be sunny but I woke to 2 inches of snow to shovel at my house.  Four for Four.

I had begun to doubt my skiing abilities even wondering if I lost my mojo after a skiing accident last season. I spent this week working on my motivation doing soul searching and asking friends to suggest motivational videos to watch, hoping to get inspired.  My concerns even worked their way into a deeply spiritual conversation with my boss about what we are able to do with God’s help.  I don’t even know my boss’s religious affiliation and never expected such a conversation by Skype while listening to an online webinar.  It was kind of surreal.

But God moves in mysterious ways. And something in that conversation clicked inside of me.  God uses things that are tough to do to teach us that we can move beyond our limits.  When we trust in Him and ourselves, we are unstoppable. I felt God telling me, “Get out of your own way.  You got this one.  You are powerful.” I began to see a way back to my mojo.

So I looked forward to today with new hope,  encouraged by my recent insights into my potential inner strength.  When I woke to 2 inches of new snow, I bucked up my courage, thanked myself for buying a 4×4 and headed out with the girls.  I made sure my chick-power songs were playing: Unstoppable, Woman Up, Fight Song, you know the types of songs.

But, when Sadie said her goal was to get us skiing a Black Diamond today, I was a bit overwhelmed. She sensed my concerns and asked what I felt like I wanted to do.  I wanted to have a confidence day—I wanted to get back my mojo.  She agreed and said we’d work on that.

Conditions were not perfect.  We still could not see the valley from the top and the winds whipped while the snow fell. But something clicked.  I could feel it.  I could feel my mojo was back.  This was not a bluebird-groomer day but it was a kick-butt day with my snow sisters.  We skied with confidence and worked on getting ourselves in better form.   I felt so happy and exhilarated!

To top off a great day, Sadie suggested we take a black diamond on our way back to the base.  After having an amazing day of confidence, I worried that this would end badly.  The run was connected to a run where I had taken a huge fall my second year (almost ending with me going off a cliff).  But with my Snow Sisters, I wasn’t going to say no.

It was definitely not the most beautiful run I have ever taken. I fell twice in the chopped-up powder, but I made it in one piece.  Being the last one of the group, I was cheered at the bottom by my friends.  They encouraged me to take the chance even when the run was incredibly scary and steep.

To celebrate conquering the black, we synchro skied all the way down to the base. We must have been a site.  Esther Williams on snow (It was Sadie’s dream).

So, the moral is you are going to get knocked down in life.  Conditions are not going to be sunshine and rainbows every day.  You are going to face things that scare the absolute crap out of you.  That’s OK.  You’ve got this.  If you lost your mojo, it’s not the end.  Don’t quit.  Maybe you will get your inspiration from a middle-aged bald guy chatting with you via Skype when you are supposed to be paying attention to work, but take your inspiration where it comes.

My mojo is back! And Ladies Day, I am coming for you in February—even if you are snowy every week.  I got this!  Come ski with me!

#sundance #sundanceladiesday #chicksonsticks

Amanda shares skiing with her daughter!

 

 

 

Melissa shares skiing with her son

Neighbors skiing together!

Sticks Where the Sun Don’t Shine

It’s Thursday.  It’s Ladies Day. So, it’s snowing at Sundance. We can’t catch a tiny patch of blue sky on a Thursday this season.  The sun shines most other days. As we line up for class, we all joke that it’s Thursday so another monumental storm has to hit the mountain.  Today is slated for 4-7 more inches.  I am thinking of renaming Chicks on Sticks to Sticks Where the Sun Don’t Shine.  

But, it’s all good.  Why?  Because Snow Sisters can do anything.

It’s snowing sideways. I never would have gone up the mountain today without my clan and our fearless leader. Sadie looks like she is 19 (btw: she has 19-year old twins).  But somehow when she says, “We’ve got this,” I believe her.  She’s one of us—a mom with the same life stressors and challenges, a mom with other things to do, a mom who knows how to conquer her fears.  She’s a woman who has done what we want to do.  So, we put our faith in Sadie and head up to the Back Mountain through the powder I respect now, but am not sure I want a long-term relationship with.   Remember, Nancy, it is just snow.

Was it a glorious ski day?  No and Yes.  I am still a groomer girl at heart so being pelted with snow isn’t my first choice. I long for the sun and pristine conditions.  On the other hand, this season has been all about challenging myself and bonding with my Snow Sisters.  Nothing like pelting snow to get four women on a lift to get closer.

Take a look at us.  We are standing at the top of the mountain at the point that usually has an amazing view of the Valley below.  Nothing like that today.  BTW: Sadie is the one in Red and Black–the right colors since we keep losing her in the low visibility.

Can you see the Valley?

So, I remind myself that I want to be an active verb. I heard this phrase when I was a teen.  Hypatia, a female character in George Bernard Shaw’s play Misalliance says: “I don’t want to be good; and I don’t want to be bad: I just don’t want to be bothered about either good or bad: I want to be an active verb.”

To which her male counterpart, Lord Summerhays, retorts: “An active verb? Oh, I see. An active verb signifies to be, to do or to suffer.”

Hypatia answers: “Just so; how clever of you! I want to be; I want to do; and I’m game to suffer if it costs that. But stick here doing nothing but being good and nice and ladylike I simply won’t.”

Stick here doing nothing, I simply won’t.  I am going to put my Sticks where the Sun Don’t Shine (Sundance on Thursdays) and be an active verb!  Remember, Nancy, it’s just snow. OK, a lot of snow.  But, it’s just snow. 

P.S  Look at this totally awesome Sundance Swag! Got to love the retro hats.  They were supposed to be for me, but they got absconded the minute I came in the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.P.S. If this post reminds you of the post I wrote about my daughter and wanting her to be an active verb, you are right—it is repetitive.  I guess it has been on my mind.  If you haven’t read it, here it is.

 

 

Float Not Carve

There are actually skis somewhere under there

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.

We look nervous

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.

Lisa after 25 years! She looks great!

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!

#sundanceresort #sundanceladiesday #chicksonsticks

Unstoppable Today

Have you heard the song by Sia called Unstoppable? On my way up to Sundance Ladies Day today, I head this song for the first time.  Call it fate, but that prepared me for something big.  In the words of the song, I put my armor on, I’m unstoppable today.

Sundance ‘s longest Black Diamond is called Bishop’s Bowl.  It is intimidating because when you start at the top, you can’t see the bottom.  It’s not the length, but the slope of the mountain that is intimidating.

But thanks to my totally awesome Sundance Ladies Day instructor Lisa who would not listen to our whines of “I can’t do that,” our entire group of ladies conquered our fear and were unstoppable today! She let us know that we would be doing Bishop’s early on in the lesson and some of us were hesitant, others were down-right against it.

Before the run of our lives, we had some good runs working on our technique and we had almost forgotten about Bishops. Sitting on a lift, we passed over an extremely scary track only wide enough for 2 skis (if you fall, you fall down a double black diamond run). Several of us said out loud, “I am NEVER doing that.” Lisa just smiled.  Then when we got to the summit, she announced we were skiing Bishops.  Two ladies were excited and two ladies were terrified (guess which group I was in with my leg in a brace still from my daughter’s panic attack getting off a lift a month ago)?

As we were skiing over to the top of Bishop’s, one of the other ladies said, “I’ll just go over and look at the run with you and then I am walking back.  You can ski it and I will meet you at the bottom.”  She was determined that there was no way she was going to ski this monster.

So in typical Sundance Ladies Day fashion, we all grouped together to help her overcome her fears.  And, believe me, it is intimidating to look over the side of a mountain and see nothing below you and THEN decide you will ski off of it. Lisa explained that we did not need to ski the entire thing at once–just a bit at a time like eating an elephant.  That got me down past the slope of no return.  Then we waited for the other ladies.

IMG_0765The woman who was determined to walk back, was stuck at the top.  Another woman said to her, “I’ll stay behind you because if I go and you are last, you will walk back and you can’t do that.”  She sacrificed her first run of Bishop’s to help her Ladies Day friend.  The rest of us stood clinging to the side of Bishop’s cheering her on.

We made it to the bottom and then we had to traverse a section of the run on a track–the same one we had seen from the lift and had said we would never ski.  Together, we all conquered our fears and made it through the track.

The track runs into another black diamond run actually steeper than Bishop’s (but shorter and you can see the end).  By that time, I figured I had survived the worst,I could complete the run.  The woman who had encouraged our struggling friend had her own issues on this run.  But we all encouraged her and helped her and we all did something amazing! We were Unstoppable Today!

That’s the magic of Sundance Ladies Day .  It can’t be duplicated with private or group lessons.  When we came together in January, we were a group of women who didn’t know each other.  Our skiing abilities were similar with each of us having strengths and weaknesses.  But over the course of Ladies Day, we bonded and we were able to help each other.  When our greatest fear faced us, we were unstoppable because we trusted our instructor and we trusted each other. Lisa christened us The Bishop’s Bowl Babes!  We took this picture AFTER the run and see we are all smiling!

So in the words of Sia: I put my Ladies Day armor on, show you how strong how I am, I’ll show you that I am Unstoppable today!  Chicks on Sticks Rock!  I feel powerful and invincible and ready for the next life challenge on or off the slope.

#chicksonsticks  #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort

Back to Black

Top GunI missed three weeks of amazing snow, but today, I was up there again!  I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for Sundance Ladies Day , so I went up to try my knee and meet the Ladies after Ladies Day for a few runs.

The knee happily held with the brace on, so I decided to try and find the ladies.  Sundance is on a mountain that was named after a native American princess called Timpanogos.  Today, the Princess helped me find my fellow Snow Sisters.  I was led by her spirit right to their location on the mountain (if you have ever searched for someone at a ski resort, you know it is almost impossible to find them while they are skiing).

When I found them, the ladies excitedly told me that they had done 2 black diamonds.  I was so impressed.  Then Lisa, our instructor, looked at me and said, “Now it’s your turn.  We are going again and you are coming.”  So I went.  Who can deny Princess Timpanogos or Instructor Lisa. IMG_0392

AND . . . it was amazing!  It was actually easier than I had imagined.  I had Black Diamonds hyped in my head as one of the runs in a Warren Miller movie.  Don’t know what a Warren Miller movie is?  Check this out.  As a woman, it is way easier to ski with other ladies.  It was so clear to me today that I tried the run because my friends were with me (sorry hubby).

The black run I skied is called Top Gun.  I could hear the Top Gun music in my head. So glad no one had to say “Speak to me Goose.”

I made it!  And now I am Back in Black!

P.S.  That is not a low-lying cloud.  That is the valley inversion. YUCK. IMG_0396 copySo glad I got fresh air in my lungs, Vitamin D in my body and natural Prozac for the soul!

#chicksonsticks  #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort

It Finally Happened

Since I began to ski, my biggest fear hasn’t been tumbling head-long down the mountain.  It has been falling off the lift.  Well, it finally happened after 5 years.  But it wasn’t my fault.

My daughter has a wicked sense of self-preservation.  I guess that’s what kept this 4 pound preemie alive.  We got on to Flathead lift–the small one and I sensed she was nervous so I tried to calm her fears.  I guess I had not done a good job. When we went to get off the lift, she put out both arms in fear.  I did not see her and I tried to stand up.  Next thing I knew, I had landed hard on the packed snow with one knee twisted the wrong way.  UGH!

With some cursing, I got up and asked her what she was thinking.  She just shrugged.  So we skied off.  My bum and my knee hurt a bit but it wasn’t too bad.  The day was not a stellar ski day and conditions were very windy so after 4 runs, we left.

By the time I got home, the adrenaline had worn off.  Coming out of the shower, I almost collapsed when my knee gave way.  To make a painful story short–a strained MCL and a bruised tailbone.  No last Ladies Day class for me.  BUMMER.

But I am going to be back on the mountain at Sundance in a few weeks if I take good care of the knee.  Got my brace on and my smile in tact.  Can’t miss the most EPIC ski season ever. I’ll see you on the mountain!  #sundanceresort #sundancelaidesday #chicksonsticks

 

Seeing the Fruits

Today was one of those days when everything comes together. After a week of being sick and having to help a family member having surgery, I was worried that I had nothing left in the tank. But the day dawned beautiful and clear—one of those days that groomer girls love.

So we packed up the car and the kids (my daughter and her best friend) and we headed up to Sundance.   I left my cares back in the valley. My fears about skiing are almost all gone (except thinking about moguls, deep powder, and black diamonds). This is my season to cement the skills I have been gaining over the past few years.

IMG_0647-1Today, I could feel the rails, feel the movement, feel the groove. It felt good. Class, as always, was uplifting and educational. Lisa gave great feedback and it was fun to see the other women progress so quickly. Watching them ski helps me understand the theory I have been learning all these years and why we should not do something (like drop our pole behind us).   I am now reaping the fruits of the seeds planted during previous classes.

And the fruit is tasty. Look at those smiling faces. Can’t you just see what a great time we are having?

And then the day got even better! My dear friend Kristi took my challenge this year and decided to learn to ski. But I haven’t been able to ski a run with her yet. We hooked up and headed up to the first stop to ski together. Then, she introduced me to Margaret, a woman from her Never Ever class.

Margaret, it turns out, learned about Ladies Day from my blog! She had googled ladies ski classes and found my story and a bit of inspiration. WHOO HOO! I’ve had other people tell me that they read the blog and it influenced them to ski but it was so much fun to have my Never Ever Kristi introduce me to Never Ever Margaret who read my blog. And boy could these ladies ski. We didn’t go down the easy front mountain run. No, these ladies took me to a back trail that I have been on several times. It was a bit torn up and challenging but they did great and we had so much fun skiing together!

Thanks Margaret for reminding me why I blog and podcast about Sundance Ladies Day and skiing in general. It’s time to get out and do something that challenges you and gets you moving. Take the chance and you will see the fruits of your labors too! And maybe you will be lucky like I was to be able to share those fruits with amazing ladies. They sure taste better when they are shared together.

#chicksonsticks #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort

Gaining Confidence in Myself

ChicksOnSticksThis is my fifth year skiing and the snow is incredible.  You know it is Epic when Sundance has more snow than Snowbird.  It really has been amazing.  But that is not the only reason this is an Epic season.  As always, Sundance Ladies Day is incredible.  It is fun to ski with my friends and learn.  But this is the first year I feel confident in my skiing.  I see a huge improvement in my confidence.  I know what I can do and I trust my skis.  Some real learning is happening because I trust myself and my skis this season.

What I am learning is that skiing is 90% in your head and 10% in your body.  OK, I have been told this many times, but I think it is sinking in.  At least a bit.  I’m hard headed it may take more time, but for now, I am beginning to understand that the key to a good ski day is confidence in myself.

Isn’t that the way it is with everything in life?  It’s 90% confidence and 10% ability.  Not to discount ability and a good teacher, but it takes confidence to implement what you learn.   That is where Ladies Day is incredibly helpful.  When I ski with my family, I am worried about my kids, about the mountain, about what my husband thinks of my skiing, and so on.  At Ladies Day, I am not thinking about anyone else but myself.  I can concentrate on my skills, my reactions, and my friends (we laugh all class long and that eliminates a lot of stress too).   I have a chance to try my skills in a controlled environment with a teacher who helps me understand a better way to ski.

This season, our teacher Lisa has helped me with my confidence and has let me know what is going right.  I did not realize how much that would help my skills.   After 5 years of learning, just having someone who is not related to me tell me I am doing things well has really helped.

Today was a wonderful day.  Conditions were just right and so was my attitude.  Each run was fun–even the tougher ones.  This was a great gift because I need confidence.  I can feel the confidence in skiing translating into other areas of my life.  There is something about standing at the edge of a mountain and looking down at it and knowing you can ski it that translates into confidence in other areas.

I can’t wait to strengthen my confidence this season along with my abilities.  Come join us and strengthen your confidence! Chicks on Sticks RULE!

#chicksonsticks  #sundanceladiesday #sundanceresort

Epic Start to an Epic Season

The year I learned to ski had to be one of the worst snow years on record. I learned on sheer ice. Every lesson, I wondered to myself “Why do people like this so much?” But then, I realized that an entire industry could not be built if the activity was not fun. So I plodded along. The first day of actual powder was like a revelation. I finally understood why people traveled great distances and spent so much money to throw themselves down a mountain.

Well, if that year was the worst snow year on record, this year is the most epic snow year ever. With more snow in one week than in that entire first year, this has been amazing. And that makes learning to ski for the first time so much easier. And it makes learning to ski powder a must.

Chicks2016This year for Ladies Day, I brought a few more Never Evers. One of them, my dear friend Kristi has lived in Utah her whole life and had had one ski experience as a teen. It was one of those “dates” where the young man takes the girl to the top of the mountain and says “I’ll see you at the bottom.” Kristi ended up walking down the mountain and she never went back up (or out with that guy).

After 2 months of convincing her, she finally gave in and came with me to Ladies Day. Today, she had her first experience on skis.   And it was glorious! She loved it so much! Class wasn’t enough. She wanted to ski more and longer. WOOO HOOO! Just the experience I wanted her to have. Check out those smiles!

As for me, this is probably the season I learn to powder ski. Until now, I have been a groomer girl. I love my corduroy groom tracks with a tiny dusting of powder on the top. But the deep stuff has always scared me. Thinking about trying to turn in that powder has made me cringe. The few times I have tried powder have left me wiped out. Today was no different. 12 inches of snow and my first Ladies Day of the season wiped me out. However, I learned a few things:

  • I need to relax in powder and not let it get to my head
  • When you ski powder, you have to ski like you are on a glass table and not press down into it but rather ski on top of it

I’ll get there this season since there is so much powder. This is my year to learn.

The Epic Season is off to an Epic Start. Contact me if you want to ski with us in February or March. It is not too late because with a 60 inch base and counting, this looks to be the best ski season ever.

Chicks on Sticks–Join Us!

KipperNancyUber ski instructor Kipper Warren Cluff explains Sundance Ladies Day to Tricia and why skiing is an excellent option for women–even those who have had a bad experience in the past or don’t like cold.

Long time listeners know that Nancy took on the challenge 4 years ago and you can read about her exploits on her Sundance Ladies Day page.  But in this podcast, Tricia talks to Kipper and decides if skiing is right for her.   Once she joins us, she will be a member of our group called Chicks on Sticks.

Don’t be deterred from listening if you don’t live in Utah or you think you will never ski because you live in the Bahamas.  There are lots of lessons to learn about taking on a challenge that is both physical and mental.  Maybe you want to run a marathon and this will inspire you.  I don’t know why you would ever want to run a marathon, but you  may be thinking that I am crazy for throwing myself down a mountain on sticks.

Interested in learning more? Contact me directly at nancy@babiesandmomsradio.com and I’ll let you know how to join Chicks on Sticks.  You can also read my recent guest blog post on the Sundance blog. If you live in another state, look for a ladies program at your local resort.  If all else fails, take a lesson.  It really makes all the difference and will get you enjoying both a mental and physical challenge (mostly mental) that will invigorate the long winter months.

See me getting my Bearclaw pin from Kipper?  They usually give the pin to little kids when they learn to ski the mountain, so Kipper thought it was appropriate for me.  I treasure that pin and the friendships I have made on the mountain.   CHICKS ON STICKS RULE!

#prayforsnow
#sundanceresort

Snow Sisters

I so look forward to January because of Sundance Ladies Day.  It truly is the highlight of my winter.  Today was the last day of the January Session and I will miss it.   I can definitely use more ski lessons before I ski as beautifully as I want to, so maybe I will come back in March (February is WAY too busy and my boss wants me back at work). But, this session included some of my favorite women AND the best instructor on the mountain! How do you top that?

There is just something about Sundance that seems tailor-made for women hanging out together.  As I sat at the bottom of Jake’s lift waiting for my daughter and her friends to finish skiing today (they had enough energy to do several additional runs after I was finished), I saw so many women skiing.  Friends who came up to enjoy the day together or moms with their kids.  Skiing seems like an aggressive sport that intimidates women, but the environment at Sundance is so laid back and inviting that it is the perfect place for us.  I have been to other resorts that remind me of a snow-covered Disneyland–way too many people, way too long to get to where you want to be, way too much distraction.  Sundance is calm, nurturing and natural.

This year, will be remembered as one of the best with several of my friends and my daughter’s friends getting on the slopes for the first time ever or in a long time.  Some of these women I only met on the mountain but they now are my Snow Sisters! We have stories to tell, experiences to remember and better skiing skills.

If you have ever thought about getting back into skiing or starting to ski, Sundance Ladies Day is the way to do it.  The supportive learning environment makes it easy to learn, the instructors are top-notch, and getting to know the other women is so dang fun.  Come be a Snow Sister with us! 20150127_111406

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!

 

Ski the Pow and the Clouds

20150113_092416 Last night, it snowed 23 inches at Sundance!  Look at the amazing view as we drove up the Sundance road.  It’s a winter wonderland. My 13 year old was so jealous that I was going skiing.

Unlike our typical Tuesdays where we have the mountain to ourselves, we had to share it with a lot of people suffering Powder Flu.  But, even with the extra people, we had a wonderful (but tough) time on the mountain.  Skiing powder is not a skill any of us have mastered and it is intimidating and tough when you are not used to it.  And by the time we got there, all the runs had been chopped up by the Powder Hounds who were lined up at 9am to get on the lift.

So, what we thought was going to be a day of fun in the snow turned into a day of pushing ourselves to learn some new skills.  But with Kipper as our guide, we embraced the challenge.  Ladies shuffled around a bit in the classes to the levels they felt comfortable with (or uncomfortable with as my friend Laura found out when she moved up to our class).  That’s not uncommon.  Sundance Ladies Day is focused on getting each woman in the right group and learning something that stretches her.  We were ALL stretched today by the conditions and the concepts.  But that is what it’s all about, right?

PowCloudsLet me say that skiing the choppy stuff is not my favorite–especially when you are skiing in fog and can’t see where you are going (and you hit a mogul made by someone when you think you are on a groomed run).  But today, we focused on being less stiff in our legs and allowing our lower body to go with the terrain and be light on our feet.  Easier said than done when you are terrified you will run into someone since you can’t see them in front of you.  But, Kipper made us feel at ease and gave us fabulous instructions on what to do.

So, even Laura who had not skied the Back Mountain EVER was able to get it.  Of course there was a lot of falling today, but the powder makes it so much easier when you do fall. On one run, Andrea fell 3 times in less than 3 minutes.  We just laughed and enjoyed ourselves (I should have gotten a picture but I was trying not to fall myself).

20150113_100253My Newbie Friends Chandani and Shannon had a great day falling too. That’s all a part of learning but is much easier when you fall on powder instead of packed snow.  Shannon has decided that she doesn’t hate me for bringing her and looks forward to our next two classes (last week, she was unsure if she wanted to be my friend anymore).  Chandani was so excited that she wanted to stay and ski longer.  Sadly, our kids had to get back to school so Shannon and I had to decline the offer.  Being 20 years older than Chandani also probably had something to do with it but I won’t tell her that if you don’t.  My legs are sore and I was glad that class ended when it did.

One of the best kept secrets at Sundance is that their instructors are led by Jerry Warren, an amazing ski instructor who literally wrote the book on how to ski.  Today, I got my own copy of the Home Base Ski Program he designed (and the one that all instructors at Sundance use).  It is simple and focused and gets you from where you are to where you want to be in skiing quickly.  Thanks Jerry for the manual and the one-on-one tips today.  It is a bonus to have you on the mountain checking to see that we are having fun while learning and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.  My C Shape improved based on your tips!  And thanks Kipper for the Bearclaw pin!  Feels good to earn it!

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2015 Day 1: Getting Back on The Mountain

AnNaThis year, I convinced several friends who haven’t skied for years (and decades) to get back into skiing.  If you haven’t noticed, I LOVE Ladies Day.  These women had skied with husbands and boyfriends and some with other women, but that was YEARS ago and they had never experienced the comradery of working on a skill with other women.  There isn’t a feeling like this.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband and my kids, but skiing in Ladies Day is my time to focus on me and what I can do and spend time with my friends while doing it. And besides, look at the INCREDIBLE view we have.

There is no competition and no frustration.  We all are working together to improve ourselves and we celebrate the successes of the women we ski with.  There really isn’t anything like it.  Today was no exception!  With my band of Merry Friends, we headed up to Sundance for a wonderful experience.  The day did not disappoint!

This year, I’m in Kipper’s class (my dream instructor) with my friend Andrea who learned to ski LAST year (this is my 4th year and she is in the same class–can you say someone is an over-achiever) along with Emily (I met her through her husband who bought skis from me) and my friend Lindsay (who had to postpone today because of a sick kiddo).  We met some other great ladies in our group and had a wonderful ski day.  It was a time to remember all those skills I have learned before and work on my form.  I was pleased that this was the first year, I don’t feel like the worst in my class.  Practice makes you better (not perfect).

One of the nice things about skiing with other women, is you can express how you feel.  All of us had some level of terror about being up on the mountain again. It is a safe place to express that fear and get support.  We all had things to work on and fears to overcome.  Since I have been up several times before Ladies Day, I was probably the most comfortable of the bunch.  That felt good because I could concentrate on having a good time while learning.

I also convinced my neighbor Chandani who has never skied before to ski with us.  She came today and started.  It was a bunny hill day for her but she is ready for another lesson! Seeing all of us having such a good time convinced my friend Shannon who was kind of on the fence to start too!  Since she was there dropping of her girls, she has decided to come on Thursday to catch up to Chandani!  Two Never Evers this year!  WHOOOO HOOOO!

Even though the snow was not perfect and there were a few rocks showing through, Ladies Day was fabulous and warm and wonderful!  I look forward to next week. If you are thinking about coming up, all I can say is that it is the best thing to do to help your skiing!

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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!