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Fantastic experience at Sugarbush, and I don't even work for them.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Back to the slopes after 30 years, and when I did ski (badly) it was telemark and I was never better than a bad blue.

 

Took my 14 year-old athletically-talented son and my 10 year-old athletically-challenged son (who also has sensory and auditory integration issues) to Sugarbush for the long weekend.

 

Did the First Timer to Life Timer package, $230 per person for three days of lessons. Once you're signed off, you get an All Mountain season pass for the remainder of the year. That is a massive incentive.....Jack did riding, I did skiing. My little guy did their SugarBears skiing program.

 

My instructors took my scaredy-cat 51 year-old self from a level one to a level 6 skier in three days. There was only one other person for the first two days of my lessons, and on the third day, I had one-on-one. By the end of day three, I could do an easy green in short radius turns using pole plants and I can do a sweet hockey stop. Like, I can ski. I can drive the ski, I'm parallel, I can do the weight shift, I can control my speed and direction without panic, I can read a line to suit my ability, and use the terrain as a tool. YaHOO! The beginner slope has a section that got really icy from the people ripping over to the next trail, then there was some gorgeous new powder. My instructors even taught me how to manage the snow change to not get bumped out of the powder or skid out on the ice.

 

Best beginner tips from the ski instructors:

1. Boots! If you can move your ankle laterally without touching the side of the boot, you're making your ankle work too hard to

be responsive. Cranking mine down made a big difference.

2. Make your jacket zipper face the line you're skiing. Helps keep your upper body still.

3. Goggles for flat light, so you can SEE what you ski.

4. How to get up for ladies of a certain age, or anyone with not much upper body strength. No, we CAN'T

do the push-up-on-the-ski-pole thing. Flat on your belly, tips splayed, get on your knees, then push up from there.

(just knowing I could get up by myself made me relax).

5. And the snarkiest, but funny and helpful....."This isn't a Catholic mountain. Put some room between your knees."

(Said in jest, after we had both joked about being victims of a Catholic education....)

6. Well-fitted helmets. Said to the nice kid with me the first day..."Okay, first run over to that tree and smack it with your head. No? You don't want to do that? Then put your helmet on properly."

 

Took the 14 year-old (who can ride a Rip-Stick, I guess this was key...) from a level 1 to a level 7. After the first day they had him on the trickier blues and by the end of the third, he was on short blacks and on the intermediate features. First day of lessons he had TWO instructors to himself, was one-on-one for the second day, and only one other girl in his third day.

 

The SugarBear instructors took the little one from totally overwhelmed to a level 4. He does stem christies on the greens and isn't afraid of an easier blue if it's not crowded.

 

What was so impressive was their ability to adapt their teaching style to the learner. Three very different learners. And they turned us all into people who want to get on slippery things and slide down a mountain.

 

Now we just need mileage. And I can't wait to go back for the carving lessons.

 

A great experience, and I wanted to share.

 

For those who know SB, Jack was on HotShot, Waterfall and Jester.

Ryan was on Slowpoke, Pushover and whatever they call the bunny-hill, then did lower HotShot

with his brother.

 

And the instructors are freakish about safety. They don't take you anywhere you're not skilled enough to handle, and they NEVER leave you alone.

 

 

Awesome. If you ever wanted to do this, and had any fear....just do it. Marvelous.

 

Cheers to all.

 

Allison

post #2 of 3

This is absolutely awesome to hear!

 

Your point#5 (about putting some room between your knees) has been discussed here before in a similair vein, although it's been called "The Virgin Clutch" here.  Same concept!

 

Quote:
I can read a line to suit my ability, and use the terrain as a tool. YaHOO!

 

I am not an instructor, but this statement I quoted above is (to me) huge.  Especially the bit about using the terrain as a tool.  I see so many skiers who don't use the mountains features to help them turn and help them slow down.  Can you expand on what your instructor went over with regards to this?

 

Welcome to a great sport!  I'm so glad to hear that you had a good experience.  (And I have absolutely no affiliation with Sugarbush either).

 

 

 

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

This is absolutely awesome to hear!

 

Your point#5 (about putting some room between your knees) has been discussed here before in a similair vein, although it's been called "The Virgin Clutch" here.  Same concept!

 

Quote:
I can read a line to suit my ability, and use the terrain as a tool. YaHOO!

 

I am not an instructor, but this statement I quoted above is (to me) huge.  Especially the bit about using the terrain as a tool.  I see so many skiers who don't use the mountains features to help them turn and help them slow down.  Can you expand on what your instructor went over with regards to this?

 

Welcome to a great sport!  I'm so glad to hear that you had a good experience.  (And I have absolutely no affiliation with Sugarbush either).

 

 

 

 

Terrain change is your friend as a new skier! I think what most new skiers fear is not being able to control

speed and stop. Fear leads to freeze ups which leads to backseating which leads to ass-over-teakettle

which leads to "I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.".

 

Even at the wedge turn stage, they pointed out hills to turn up, and had me practice them.

The run-out down to the BUNNY chair freaked me out, so they taught me how to practice a

double edge release to crunch and slide down the little incline.

Awesome! I wasn't afraid and I got to experience what grabbing edges feels like before I was even parallel.

They were also very adamant that confidence comes from trusting your boots and your skis

to do their job. So lots of gentle baby slope to practice weight shift -> pressure your shin and toe -> see the ski turn.

Turning uphill is braking. And my male instructor made a great analogy. There's "slowing down for a traffic light" braking,

and then there's "stomp and steer". To scrub speed fast, you stomp and steer.

They also talked it out as they demonstrated.

"Watch what happens when I gently press my shin against the boot. Now watch what happens when I press so hard

you can see the boot flex."

 

The first thing my instructor stressed when I was ready to move off the bunny hill

was to get off the lift and just WATCH a few people down the hill.

Ask if anyone knows what the trail condition is.

In flat light, goggles that let you SEE the terrain are imperative for newer skiers. If you can't see it, you don't ski it.

Ski the run in your head. Have a strategy. Long steep flats? Know where and how you could scrub your speed.

Gentle pitch that turns steep fast means you can turn into the hill to dump some speed. (Duh, but new skiers don't know this!)

Take a slow run down a new trail, even if it means kinda stopping every 50 yards or so.

Things look different once you get there....(I love that one).

Moguls? Find another line. (heh)

Rolling big bumps? DON'T ski between them, because that IS probably the fall line.

 

 

But most helpful was having me talk out my strategy.

I'm dropping in there, then letting my skis run until I need to turn there to avoid the ice.

Wide open area, do some big turns, it'll be fun.

Big group of 13 year-old boys on a fairly narrow trail?

I'll take skier's left as short radius turns to stay the hell away from them.

But it gets steep there, so I'll be prepared to scrub after I pass them.

 

 

That sort of thing.

 

What this let me do as a new skier was to not have to think too much as you go down the hill.

If you have to logically process where and how to avoid an epic fail, then you can't get out of your head

enough to let your body fully process the muscle memory. It's like driving in your neighborhood.

You have to know it so well you don't even remember how you got to your driveway.

 

And that muscle memory has to be built over, say it with me....mileage.

 

It is impossible to learn to drive while trying to read a road map.

But once you learn how to control the car in all kinds of weather,

trying to find your way around a new part of town isn't scary.

 

And trees are not on the PSIA list of approved deceleration aids.

 

Cheers!

 

Alli

 

Proud student of Pat Moriarty and Leslie Pinkham

 


 

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