The Unexpected Payoff of Private Ski Lessons
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I grew up skiing all over the American West, mostly under the gray skies and heavy, wet snow of Oregon and Washington, but with a few Technicolor trips to Utah and California, where the combination of crazy dust and sunshine threw my teenage mind off. Moving to New York City, my two young children, and, to be honest, a fairly consistent snow mentality on any “hill” east of Mississippi, led to a 20-year hiatus from the sport. After moving to San Francisco three years ago, my husband, who grew up downhill, and I decided it was time to go back to skiing and introduce our now-so-young children to something that was so important to them. our child lives.
During the years I was away from the sport, equipment technology advanced exponentially. That is, the skis were transformed from extremely long, skinny stuck to their current parabolic repetition – wide, short and curved. This change of shape made it much easier to ski and ski, that when I hit the slopes for the first time, I was at the same level I was when I stopped two decades ago. What is surprising about a discovery, but not so much fun, is the fact that, three years ago, skiing more than I did when I was 21, I have a whole plateau (and it could get worse).
My apparent inability to improve appeared last November when I was talking to a friend of a friend who works at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming. I went back to it when I was trying to decide if a family ski trip during the New Year was feasible and safe during COVID-19, and to find the mountain I had never skied, but I knew it had some of the most technical tracks in the USA she gave me her professional opinion on all the COVID-19 precautions the resort had set, as well as the prospect of a local for restaurants that took the pandemic seriously (and had a steady reception). And then he suggested I hire a private guide / trainer to take me to the mountain, who could give me some clues to go beyond what I would see as a year-long skiing case – fearing a pause in improvement.
Initially, I rejected the idea. I grew up in a time, or maybe just a family, where you continued the activities you were good at (the kids didn’t have private pitching coaches, if you were miserable pitchers, you were playing the right field). The idea seemed forgiving. But in the end, I went for it. I made a one-day reservation for myself and then a day where the driver would take my whole family out. This proved to be an amazing decision for many reasons.
For starters, I did not waste a whole precious day skiing Goldilocksing on my way around a new mountain trying to find the slopes that would push me, but probably will not hurt me. My driver was able to do lasers properly for my skill level. He led me to the less crowded parts of the mountain and took me on a short hike to reach fresh dust. a kind of back country skiing, something I was interested in trying, but I really did not know where to start. These were privileges that would be welcome during normal hours, but they were change games during COVID-19, when the more physical distance you have from others and the less time spent with strangers, the better. Even more welcome was the opportunity to skip the lifting line, which put me in more time with tar – and took me out of having to fight the all-human impulse to accumulate the person in front of me.