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.

 

 

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

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!

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.

Crunchy Ladies Day on the Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ladies Day Conquering the Back Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The BEST Day Ever! Skiing in 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.