First Time Skiing Out West
By. Brigitte Liedke
It’s been a long time since I’ve been skiing. When I started dating my husband, we went up once a year for about 5 years to Northern Michigan at Boyne mountain during their “Crazy Days”. At that time my goal was to get to the top, drink like crazy and somehow make my way down. Skiing was put off for a few years and I had two beautiful children. I took a job with skis.com and Summit Sports, buying all the clothing for the stores and websites. I had been with Nordstrom for almost 9 years so I understood the fashion and buying part of business. The only thing that set me apart from everyone at my company was the ability to ski or snowboard.
I decided to join my colleagues on a trip to Winter Park, Colorado after the SIA show this February. My work friends were going to demo all the new skis and snowboards for 2011 and I decided I would go to ski school. Can a mother of two who has only been skiing a handful of times, conquer the mountain? At 8am we were up and at it and I looked up at the hill that I was going to endeavour. I was nervous, scared and excited at the same time. I was put in a class with 4 other females that started at 9am. My instructor was name Lea and we took a chairlift up to a flat spot. We spent quite a bit of time learning how to posture ourselves. Don’t lean too far back or forward or you will lose control. Keep your knees slightly forward and your waist in the middle. Turn with your legs not your hips. Hold poles out front of you but not too far out. After learning many techniques I was on my way down! We spent a few hours learning more techniques and them trying them out. The only bad thing was the weather was pretty cold. I had on my base layers and a mid layer under my outerwear and even sported a balaclava. Stopping on the hill made my feet and hands cold. I was glad to get in and warm up after my lesson. I spent the rest of the afternoon with my boss Steve. I have to say, having a one on one lesson with someone that is good was very beneficial. He took me down some steeper hills that I would of not tried on my own. I learned that I could control my speed by turning up the hill to slow down. Slowly, doing wide turns I made it down a challenging hill. When I was finished, I felt a sense of accomplishment I haven’t felt in a long time. I looked up at the breathtaking views and instantly I wanted to ski more.
My second day I took another lesson. I thought I was quite clear that I was ready to parallel turn and try something more challenging. I had a nice coach from England that told bad jokes. I soon learned our class of 5 was divided. It was very clear from the beginning that 2 of my classmates should of been in a beginner class. I bonded with a women named Maureen that seemed to be at the same level as me. We went down runs together and waited for the others each time. We gave each other ideas and tips and had fun together. At the end of the lesson, my instructor asked to tell him one good and one bad thing from the lesson. I was honest and said I didn’t learn any much different than the previous day. A couple my other classmates tipped him after and I wasn’t aware we were suppose to do that. Anyway, in the afternoon I went alone on a chairlift that went what seemed like 15 minutes. I met my work friends for lunch at the top and couldn’t believe the view. There was much more to see than where I was before. The sky was clear, sun was out and it was about 40 degrees. It was the perfect day on the mountain. In the end my legs were hurting more than they ever had. My buddy Hans from Switzerland had took me down the harder blue runs and after my legs couldn’t take anymore he let me hold on his back and taxi down the rest of the mountain. We went down some harder runs and went super fast. It was a blast! I really can’t wait to come back and I am thrilled to be skiing again.