My new adventure: Learning snow sports

Skier at Brighton Resort

Somehow I doubt I will look as cool as this skier at Brighton Resort. – Photo by Natalie Wall

I enjoy all four seasons. I spend spring and summer hiking in northern latitudes, during the fall I’m camping and caving further south, and I fill my winters with hiking and kayaking in Florida. What I’ve been missing are snow sports.

It’s no surprise that I’ve never spent time in snow. Raised on a boat in the South Pacific and Caribbean, and living in Florida for the past 25 years, there hasn’t been an opportunity. I decided to learn to ski about a year ago when I met my big sister, an avid skier (yes, there is a story there). The idea of spending winters cross-country skiing or snowshoeing with her near Lake Tahoe sounded spectacular, so I made it a goal to learn snow-sports this winter. She also downhill skis, but I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy that with my fear of heights.

Snowy Trail to Lake Blanche

My experience with snow has been limited to hiking a few snowy trails.

Fast forward to winter, now it’s time to make good on my goal. I thought the experience of a middle-aged gal learning to ski for the first time would make an interesting story, so I reached out to Utah’s Brighton Resort for help. My first question was, “how long I should spend taking lessons?” They suggested I spend three days taking lessons and offered to teach me. Just one hitch, they only teach downhill. I learned to love rappelling, and eventually became a high-angle rescue tech, so I knew I could overcome my fear of heights – I told them to sign me up.

OCFRD High-Angle Training at Citrus Bowl

High-angle rescue training at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Rappelling off the side of the stadium was epic. If I could do that, I can learn to downhill ski.

Next week I’m flying out to Salt Lake City, and I will meet up with my brave ski instructor the week after. To prepare, I’ve stepped my leg workouts and borrowed some ski clothes. As for my fear of careening out of control down a steep mountain, I’ll approach this like Nike and Just Do It. That is how I handled rappelling and solo backpacking. It’s not that those activities didn’t scare me at first; I just managed my fear and didn’t allow it to stop me.

I’ll share my progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so feel free to stalk me virtually while I likely bust my tail on the slopes. I won’t be impressive, but I might provide a few good laughs. Today I found out that I’m joining a group of bloggers in Grand Targhee following the Outdoor Retailer Show, so expect even more entertainment from the slopes!

Here are my January events if you care to follow along:

Learn to Ski – Week of January 14th
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market – January 22nd – 26th
Grand Targhee and West Yellowstone – January 26th – 29th

 

Do you have any tips for a first time skier? I’d love some advice! Please share below.

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