most people hunker down when the weather report forecasts a blizzard,
a growing number of folks are grabbing their gear.
Once the pastime of only the wealthy and athletic, snow sports
are now at the fingertips of anyone with an inclination to have
fun. New incarnations of skiing and snowboarding, modern gear
and advanced teaching methods practically guarantee you'll
be giddily making turns regardless of your slope-side expertise
(or lack thereof).
programs and beginner's gear make learning easier than ever,
clinics and performance products help intermediates break through
plateaus, and telemark skiing, freeskiing, freestyle snowboarding and expanding terrain challenge experts in all disciplines.
Often people are afraid of not having what it takes or that
learning to ski or snowboard will be difficult. In fact, all it
takes is balance while sliding on snow, and this can be easily
learned with guidance, says Earl Saline, adult director
of Winter Park's Ski and Snowboard School and an American
Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI)-certified instructor.
There is no right or wrong as long as you are safely having
is no right or wrong as long as you are safely having fun."
was once a terrified wanna-be skier looking to ski with her daughter
and friends. I tried skiing in my youth and was a hurtling
mess. I tried once more in my 30s and ended up flailing backwards
and yelling at the feet of my husband's friends. At age 40,
I decided to try again -- with a lesson, says Kay. The
instructor was wonderful. She had me start on a bunny slope instead
of a beginner run, and kindly took me step-by-step through what
I needed to do. It was a completely different experience. Now
I love skiing!
Taking a lesson
from a qualified professional reduces anxiety as well as accidents.
More than simply teaching mechanics, instructors tune into your
needs, be they technical or experiential. Camaraderie, history
and learning about nature and the outdoors are as much a part
of the experience as improving snow-sliding techniques.
PSIA-certified ski instructor Jack Sciacca had a large family
from Oklahoma with people of all ages and abilities show up for
ski lessons. Some made it off the lift and down the hill;
others built a snowman. It's not all about making Olympic
skiers. It's helping people enjoy their own experience on
are no boundaries and it's never too late, says Sciacca,
now director of Monarch Ski and Snowboard School.
aren't the only skiers and riders who benefit from professional
instruction. Skiing and snowboarding are more passion than sport.
Shaped skis and advanced snowboard designs, new teaching methods
that cater to the individual and the experience rather than mechanics,
and increasingly varied terrain at resorts all aid terminal
intermediates in breaking through to new levels.
old perception was take one ski lesson and you're good to
go, says Sciacca. But lessons enhance your experience
at all levels, especially breaking through to new levels.
only will a pro share favorite stashes, but they can help your
skills and confidence skyrocket so you can ski or ride more challenging
terrain than you thought, says Scott McGee, a PSIA Nordic
Team member and chief trainer at Jackson Hole Mountain Sports
Center. Particularly at new and challenging mountains or
in venturing into new tricks or terrain, with a guide, advanced
skiers and riders can master areas they wouldn't have otherwise
been able to or even known about.
With the proliferation
of inbound and lift-access extreme terrain -- Telluride,
Aspen Highlands, Jackson Hole, Mt. Hood Meadows and Keystone all
recently expanded adventure terrain -- a guide can safely open
skiers and riders to entirely new mountain experiences.
At all levels,
from novice through expert, ski and snowboard camps enhance confidence
and capability, as well as immerse attendees in the mountain experience
and introduce them to new friends. A multi-day camp with intimate
attention on individual needs is one of the most successful ways
to overcome fears and blocks.
methods are so much more advanced than they have been in the past,
whether you're new to the sport or ready for more advanced
terrain, says Mark Dorsey, assistant executive director
of PSIA. They're going to give you what you want.