Other great highlights:
Skiing with all the bears at Alta and the good fortune of getting on the lift with Ryan and Utah49 when I slipped into the singles line then began to tell them about this great web site. Ryan informed me that they were there for the Gathering and about to hike into Catherine's. Talk about luck! Glad I met yunz guys and Catherine’s was so fine I did it 2 more times despite my 'rubber legs'.
The Academy, by far the best learning experience I ever had. Oboe, Fox, Ziggy, Bob the Builder and 'head sherpa' Snomore are all great, enthusiastic people, excellent skiing chums. They really made it fun. To be coached by Nolo was a real thrill, chasing her down the hill when she would cut lose a bit was but a taste of the flow and grace that is her skiing. Last but not least, the last day with Bob Barnes and the 'White Pass Turn', his communication and presentation, wow, what a treat. In fact all the coaches are such excellent skiers that they have earned the right to walk with a swagger and even be condescending, but the opposite was true. They were fun, open, enlightening and made you feel comfortable from the get go. They are indeed teachers as much as skiers. Forgive my gushing but it leads me to my next highlight.
This year I reached a level of confidence and comfort in my ski coaching to really make a difference to many of my clients. It was a rewarding year teaching. I had my low points and outright failures but, on the whole, I did well. The Academy's coaches and my own school's staff had a lot to do with that. In fact, one of the surprises for me was that the Academy coaches inadvertently inspired in me a greater respect for my school staff. Our staff has many great skiers but when the Academy coach's feedback on my skiing matched my directors and training staff, I knew, without a doubt, ours were the real deal also. I was not seeking validation, I knew and understood the certification process and I know our people worked hard to get where they are. It was just reassuring to me that the L 3s here and the Examiners in the Academy are on the same page. So am I now a great 'expert' skier? Well, hardly. My skiing has improved but it took a lot of falls and some frustration to move ahead a little.
I know I have gone on a bit but I must also gush over my family. First, my 5 year old son now skis without aids of any kind and can make wide parallel turns on easy greens even though his anatomy and strength still keeps him in a 'sit back' position. He has mastered the chair lift and handle tow. We were afraid he would straight line the blues but, to our relief, knows his limitations and skis cautiously when it gets steeper. He'd rather be on the greens where he can ski fast with confidence. My 13 year old daughter is making dynamic turns on expert terrain proving to me that she does listen to my advice even though she claims not to. Skiing for her is a recreation, not a passion and I try not to push her. As for my wife, she has skied more this year than any year since starting our family and we have had more time together without kids since then also. I hope she will be interested in the Academy next season. I am eager to get her skills and confidence up so she can share my favorite terrain, trees.
Still, Jay was THE highlight because we finally had a chance to ski with our oldest ski buddies and best friends. They started their family about the same time and those obligations and geographic distance prevented us from doing so in over a decade. On the same day, a mutual friend also arrived and his love of the sport and pure joy was infectious. We had a riotous time. The trees were great too. Now if only I had been able to hook up with Oboe (failed communication) that would have made for perfection.
Now, are you sorry you asked? I could go on about the best snow year in a decade here or any number of escapades with Marcus. Let's just say, the best damn ski year in the last decade and a half. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]