Lessons in Skiing

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When it comes to skiing, there's a difference between what you think it's going to be like, what it's really like, and what you tell your friends it was like.  ~Author Unknown

The second time I got on skis was at 19. I was a freshman at Saint Michael’s College and the Wilderness Program director told me that since I knew how to Nordic ski I should learn tele ski, over alpine skiing: “It’s like getting back on a bike after not riding for a while, but slightly different.”

I had only skied one other time, in fourth grade, and had a terrible experience that involved falling on a towrope and not being able to get back up again. Traumatizing. Riding the chair lift at Smugglers Notch,  my friend, also on telemark gear for the first time ever, shoved me when we were standing to get off the lift. I fell and she somehow skied away... but the lift had to embarrassingly stop.  I should have given up there but I kept after it- I was determined. With 3 very patient friends I spent 2 seasons trying to get good at tele skiing. By my third season, I traveled abroad and didn’t get to practice so by my senior year I was hell bent on getting better at skiing in general. SO I rented alpine gear for the season, and went every single week at least twice a week with my schedule to practice. I just wanted to be a good skier. I was tired of feeling embarrassed skiing with others and slowing people down- but skiing gave me a fire in my eyes.

By the end of the season I was feeling more confident and one Friday afternoon ran into a friend- it had just snowed and he was planning to ski “the back bowls” and offered to take me along. I was so excited and nervous but I didn’t want to let on to the fact that I had never really done anything like that before. He took me down a “trial run” I was slow but came out fine, alive and laughing so the next run we began the trek into the woods. I was still slower- but survived was the only thought in my mind. By the time we got back to the parking lot I was both ecstatic and exhausted. And so my addiction became full force.

I have been working now in the Outdoor/ Action Sports Industry for the last five years and through every aspect skiing remains pure bliss and enjoyment. I get out at least 5 days per week whether riding lifts or skinning for a single run. The more time I spend skiing, the happier I am. If I can’t ski, I almost get a nervous energy twitch.

IMG_2604The addiction is full force- it drives all of my plans in the winter and I am always fearful I will schedule something on what turns out to be a powder day and that makes me nervous deep down. But what is more important than than skiing itself is the community of friends that I have built up. We are all addicted in some fashion to the same thing- sliding on snow. Whether skiing or snowboarding there is no better feeling than sliding on snow. Hot, cold, windy, sunny or snow globe days I can’t help but laugh while I ski. It brings me back to my childhood and I love every minute I have skiing either by myself or with friends both old and new. I love the feeling of meeting people, riding a lift and sharing the same joys for snow sliding.

Every time I go I learn something new- it never gets old to me. I am always learning and pushing myself physically and mentally while skiing. Today I had the pleasure with skiing with a group of new friends on a surprise of a day and  tomorrow I am leading a women's specific alpine touring clinic and then going out for my longest ski tour to date- its always exciting and never a dull moment when on skis.