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"Ski Instructors Confidential" - Many Thanks!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I just sent a Letter to the Editor of the Vail Daily expressing my thanks to all of the people that helped make my new book, "Ski Instructors Confidential" a success this winter. Through published articles and word of mouth, it was the #1 selling book in the Vail Valley for over 6 weeks straight. But I would be remiss if I forgot my good friends at Epicski: the masters of the ski industry who provided me with such great material. Many thanks to all of you. You've proven that humor is still alive and well in the ski industry. Here's the letter:

Before everyone packs up and leaves town for their summer retreats, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people that helped make my new book, “Ski Instructors Confidential: The Stories Ski Instructors Swap Back at the Lodge” a rousing success: the contributing authors, locals, out of town guests, resort employees, retailers and in particular, the staff at the Vail Daily.

Eighteen months ago, I had what I thought was a good idea for a book about skiing and some of the people that made the sport great. In the beginning, I was going to focus entirely on our local talent, but as the book began to take shape, I realized that a collection of humorous ski adventures wouldn’t be complete unless I heard from instructors from all over the country. So, off I went in search of the tall tale. What resulted was not only a humorous look at the sport of alpine skiing, but a documentary on the changing face of the industry.

A lot has changed over the years in alpine skiing: equipment, clothing, ski lifts, lift ticket prices and a booming real estate market. In the 1960’s, ‘70’s and 80’s, big business in the ski industry was still a few years away and the air of political correctness was almost unheard of. As a result, the ski industry enjoyed a relaxed time of almost “anything goes.” Dozens of smaller resorts could afford to offer the opportunity for nearly anyone to slide down a hill or ride a rope tow driven by a Jeep with the rear wheel off. All that was asked of the guest was to drop a quarter in the cigar box at the bottom of the hill to help cover the costs of keeping the place running. And at every one of these resorts, was a ski instructor who was available to share their enthusiasm with people who had never experienced the thrill sliding down a hill on frozen water.

The people who have elected to make ski teaching their profession and life are extraordinary individuals. They are some of the most highly educated and best-trained workers in the service industry. Yet, they’ve made a conscious decision to eschew many of the benefits that other professionals enjoy for the opportunity to follow their hearts, work outdoors and share their passion with the guests that visit our resorts.

During my research, I interviewed nearly 300 men and women from all over the country. Joy Lucas, who now lives in Edmonds, Washington, was the first woman ever to be certified as a professional ski instructor, three months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Eric Windisch, who at 87 and still teaching at Vail, was the first person to launch himself off a ski jump in the “arms to the side,” aerodynamic position due to a shoulder injury incurred the night before a big competition. Chuck Coiner, from Sun Valley, is now an Idaho state Senator. And finally, Pattie Grady, my cover girl in red, was voted one of the “Top 100 Ski Instructors of North America for 2004” by the editors of SKI magazine.

Many of the instructors that I interviewed are getting on in years. While most are still teaching at their respective resorts, a number of them have had to quit teaching and give up the sport due to illness and other age-related causes. For this reason, I felt that I had to share their stories with the rest of the skiing world, before time ran out; before we lost these great adventures forever.

The stories that I included in “Ski Instructors Confidential” are timeless. Unlike the rest of us, they will never grow old. I hope that all of you have enjoyed reading about the funny escapades of your ski professionals in the Vail Daily this winter. I want to thank each and every one of you who have purchased a copy of my book and hope that you’ll share the stories with your friends. “Ski Instructors Confidential” will continue to be on sale through the summer at Verbatim Booksellers in Vail, the Bookworm of Edwards, the Colorado Ski Museum, the Rucksack in Vail village and the General Store in Lionshead. And for those outside the area, you can purchase copies of the book through my website at www.snowwriter.com. Thanks again and enjoy your summer!
post #2 of 3
Thanks for sharing all these stories, I greatly enjoyed them and I'm sure the edition will sell out.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

The "Hands Down Favorite"


Your story about "teaching with your hands" was by far one of my favorites. And a certain anonymous story about skiing "on your balls" still has me rolling. Thanks again for your contributions!
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