Hello Everyone –
Before I get into this week’s topic of January being Learn to Ski And Snowboard Month and as I write this, the temperature at all of the resorts in the region is mighty cold right now. Sure hope everyone is staying warm on the slopes. Remember layers, layers and layers. Also try staying out for shorter periods of time and go in and get warm. Something else, use sunscreen, it will help your skin from drying out because of the cold temperatures. The last time it was this cold on the slopes in this region was January 2009, the same weekend when President Obama took his first oath of office.
Now let’s talk about some LSSM and its sidekick, the Bring A Friend section of the program. All of the resorts in the southeast have awesome conditions right now with lots of terrain open so this would be the perfect time to: 1. Learn the sport, 2. Help a friend get involved in the winter sport or 3. Learn to enjoy the sport even more than you already do.
I made my first turns (and falls) skiing on New Year’s Day, 1985, at Massanutten Ski Resort in the mountains of Virginia and have been skiing and snowboarding in the southeast ever since and loving every second of being on the slopes. It took my roommate at the time just seconds when I was working for the Virginia News Network in Richmond to convince me that it was time to learn to have some fun in the winter. It now looks like he was way ahead of his time. But as we get older and wiser, it seemed to be easier to convince people to try the sport for the first time. Times change, don’t they?
All of the resorts in the southeast pride themselves on getting new people into the sport. All have dedicated ski and snowboard schools, with excellent instructors for everyone from the very young to the very veteran. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked to people, who have learned the sport somewhere in the south, maybe at Winterplace, Beech, Homestead or Wisp. It is so much easier to learn in this region and then move forward in difficulty, in other words that expert terrain everyone wants to say they can do. That’s not to say that there aren’t Black Diamond slopes in the southeast, just saying the sport can be a bit more challenging in some other regions in the country.
Now how many times have you gone to a resort to ski or snowboard or even snowtube and think that one of your friends would really enjoy sliding down the hill and you would really enjoy their company at the resort and that includes traveling to and from any given ski area. As I mentioned earlier in the column again with this year’s LSSM is the Bring A Friend section. Here is a website you need to check out www.bringafriend.org and it will give you some ideas to follow through with when you are planning to get your friend or friends into the sport.
Now the main website for the entire LSSM program is www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org and there you will find out everything you need to know about what is going on with the promotion across the region this month. Or you can just click on any banner ad here at skisoutheast.com (forthcoming) as Mike, Kenny, Tim and the rest of the staff has been one of the big promoters of the program. Thanks to folks like Mike at Skisoutheast.com, the more folks who get into the sport, the more he and his staff are happy. More people in the sport mean more people enjoying the website, see how this type of thing works. Hey nobody said we were trying to solve world peace – even though that would be good thing these days or at least get folks to get along better.
Now let’s switch gears a little bit and speak on how this program can also help those of you who already know how to ski or snowboard and think your next stops are the World Cup, X-Games or the upcoming Olympics. Well, let me be the first to clue you in on something, your chances are a lot better that you can have a lot more fun on the slopes if you, yes you, take a lesson or two. Just like with anything, the better you get with it, the more fun you will have. Along those lines, the best way to get better is to have a non-friend work on your technique. Each resort not only has excellent beginner instructors but also excellent instructors to help advance your ability on the slopes. I hear ya, I am already an excellent skier or snowboarder and don’t need any more instruction; well mogul buster, you are very far from the truth. You see one of the best hitters I ever saw play baseball, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres, always took batting practice before games and watching him was the team’s hitting coach. So despite being an excellent hitter, Gwynn wanted to make sure he had some outside eyes checking out his bad habits and not be afraid to speak their piece. Having a friend help you sometimes makes it difficult for them to give you a true evaluation. Just take a lesson and thank me later. Now go have some fun and don’t forget to take a friend.
That’s it for this week, more to come as the season continues, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes and have some fun, you deserve it!