‘Singing’ is optional | VailDaily.com

‘Singing’ is optional

Veronica Whitney
Shane Macomber Vail Ski and Snowboard Ski School instructor Karen Gallagher coaches students during the Her Turn ski program for women in Vail last weekend.

VAIL – Standing at the top of Zot and looking down the black-diamond line of moguls ahead of her, Jann Tracey hesitated. Then, following her ski instructor, Karen Gallagher, she cleared one mogul at a time. Even when they appeared not too round and friendly, Tracey came down with a smile.”I wouldn’t even have attempted it by myself. It’s scary, but let’s do it again,” said Tracey, a reporter for channel WB2 in Denver said after the run. “I feel good about me because I’m pushing myself and I accomplished it. I did it.”Tracey was among several women on Vai Mountain on a weekend taking the Her Turn clinic, a three-day program meant to help women become better skiers. Though she has taken several women’s ski clinics before, this was the first time that Tracey, whose been skiing for 14 years, took one that lasted three days, she said.”The difference between skiing with men and women is night and day,” she said. “Men tell you, ‘You can do this, you have to do this,’ whereas women are encouraging.” Husbands don’t helpThe Her Turn three-day clinic is instructed by Vail Ski and Snowboard Ski School’s top women’s coaches, said Ingie Franberg, general manager for the Lionshead ski school and Her Turn program coordinator.”Our coaches are chosen for their abilities, passion for skiing and teaching, and skill at facilitating participants to reach their personal goals,” Franberg said. “Your goals are targeted through ski-improvement activities, miles of focused practice and ski time, demo ski opportunities and video analysis.” Rae Moody, of Littleton said it can get tough when you’re skiing with your significant other.

“Your husband might be a good skier, but he isn’t your instructor,” Moody said.In Tracey’s case, skiing caused one of her divorces, she said.”They tell you how to ski and they tell you, ‘You can do it,'” she said. “You have to be somewhat aggressive to be a good skier. Men think we can get out there and do it the way they do it. Well, no, we can’t. We have to learn in a more gentle fashion.”Gallagher, the instructor of the group, has taught for 30 years, 15 of those with Vail Resorts. Men tend to be more outcome oriented, she said, while women tend to be more process oriented.”This program is all about no peer pressure – do what you can,” Gallagher said.Susie Knable, of Owing Mills, Md., 52 , who started skiing at 38, came to Vail specifically for the clinic.”They put you in the right group and usually the girls in the group have the same problems,” Knable said. “Women are afraid to commit to the hill so we tend to stem our skis more.”We also learn basic stuff such as how to put your boots on right,” she added. The key is to practice on terrain that you’re comfortable with, Gallagher said.”When I see positive changes on certain terrain, then let’s go and challenge on a little bit more challenging terrain. If you’re successful, we’ll keep building,” Gallagaher said. “If you don’t have as good a success, we need to go back to the blue terrain and practice a little more so that your body is really learning these new movement patterns.”What Gallagher’s group does is move from a blue groomed trail such as Avanti, to a blue run with moguls, such as Whistle Pig, and then to a black with moguls, like Zot.

“This progression works for me,” Tracey said.Locals do it, tooAt the top of Chair 4 – the Mountaintop Express lift – Gallagher tells her students – even though they’re skiing as a group – that they should have individual goals “You can always learn something and this is the perfect opportunity when it’s safe to make mistakes and go for it,” said Jenny Ricca, a Her Turn first-timer and Vail resident who owns Heaven Massage and Spa.”You can go ski by yourself or with friends, but in a group like this, there’s a camaraderie with different women from different places,” Ricca added. “It’s a learning venue where you’re free to make mistakes and you can work with an instructor. You get one-on-one instruction.”Though she has worked hard on her dancing skills for years, Knable said skiing is more difficult. “It took me years to find my balance on the skis,” she said. “A couple years ago I had a breakthrough. But I worked very hard on skis.”Is it worth it?” she added. “If my husband gave it up I wouldn’t do it again. I do it 80 percent to keep him company. He’ll have to go easy on me when we ski together next week.”After lunch and assessing each participant’s goals, the group tested some skis at the Salomon Demo Center in Vail and skied some bumps in the Northeast Bowl area before heading to the leg-burner Highline bump trail. “We ended our weekend by skiing down Born Free – singing was optional,” Gallagher said.

Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. =======================================Future turnsThe next dates for Her Turn clinics are:• February 4-6 • March 4-6 The cost of the three-day session is $435 – $530, lift ticket included.For reservations and details, call Barbara Harris at the Vail Resort Activities desk at 476-9090 or (800)354-5630, or e-mail her at bharris@vailresorts.com======================================================================================================================Vail Colorado

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