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Ski blog: Today greens, tomorrow heliskiing

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

I was perched with bated breath at the top of Harrier at Beaver Creek.

It would be my first black run ever, and somehow just knowing that psyched me out a bit, even though I’d been working on moguls and carving the last hour and my ski instructor, Kevin, was by my side to pull me out of any snow banks should the need arise.

I couldn’t say I wasn’t ready either, since I’d told Kevin at the beginning of the lesson that my goal was to get onto the blacks by the end of the day.

I know. Harrier is a very short black, small-beans for any competent skier. But I didn’t feel very competent at the moment.

Here goes, I thought, as Kevin took off ahead of me.

And it wasn’t so bad. I did some uncontrolled sliding across several large moguls once or twice that nearly jostled my teeth out, and executed a few sloppy turns, but I did it!

Then we proceeded to do some other “beginner blacks,” like Fool’s Gold, Addy’s, and Double Diamond (a misnomer, don’t you think?).

The lesson was great, and I felt like I improved dramatically in just one day. For someone who has only been out on the slopes a handful of times, and has pretty much been winging it as far as technique, some formal instruction was infinitely helpful.

We worked on my turns, and Kevin taught me how to lean just the right way. I learned that the most efficient turning required a bit of finesse, not just muscling my skis in a certain direction and digging in with all my weight. Imagine that.

We worked on my poling ” anything was probably an improvement from before, when I was going arms akimbo.

We practiced moguls, my favorite kind of terrain so far. It was both fun and challenging to try and keep up with my instructor’s pace and follow his trail.

We ended the lesson with some tree work, and I really pushed my comfort limits busting through some pines and doing a couple drops. The only close call was with this anemic-looking, 2-foot pine that I nearly took out on Sheephorn Escape. If I had hit it, I’m not sure who would have been more badly hurt, the tree or me. It’s a toss up.

A lesson is a great way to get you out of a skiing plateau or hone your skills. Most of these instructors have years and years of experience, both teaching and skiing.

It definitely helped me, and I’m excited to get out, armed with instruction, and improve even more.

Today, blacks, tomorrow heliskiing.

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Want to take a lesson?

Private and group lessons are available. For more information, see http://beavercreek.snow.com/winterhome.asp under ski school or call

(970) 476-9090


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