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Hello Everyone –

Again this season there is another national campaign that is designed to get people young and old out on the slopes to have some fun skiing and snowboarding. The Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) is being conducted this month around the country including at various resorts throughout the southeast. I really like this year’s theme, “Humans Were Never Meant To Hibernate”.
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month encourages children and adults to learn by taking lessons from professional instructors. It also challenges current skiers and snowboarders to improve their skills through lessons. The good news is that a lot of resorts in the region are offering free and reasonably priced turnkey lesson programs during January as part of this initiative. The national website, www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org, and websites of partners provide useful information for beginners and current participants who want to improve.

Now here are my thoughts about taking lessons for newbies and want-to-bes. If you are going to ski or snowboard for the first time, or taking someone to ski or snowboard for the first time, either way learn from a pro. Don’t rely on a friend to teach you the correct way to enjoy yourself. They are not being paid to have patience; all they want to do is point downhill and let it go. Please learn from someone that is going to work with you so your time on the slopes is safe and fun. During my 16-seasons at Snowshoe, there was many a time when I would ride up on a couple arguing and I knew right away one of the two was teaching the other to ski or ride. We carried discount teaching coupons and I would give one to the newbie and let the expert go have some fun. Probably saved a relationship or two in my day.

Now my thoughts for those so called experts that think they know everything about skiing and snowboarding and would never be caught dead taking a lesson. Hogwash! Think about this for a second, one of the best hitters in baseball ever, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn always had a coach watch him during batting practice to catch any flaws in his swing. I always say if the best still wants coaching so do I because I am sure not the best and I don’t think you are either or we would both be in the Olympics. Try and take a lesson – you will thank me for the advice.

So remember, Humans Were Not Meant To Hibernate, so go out and have some fun this month at your favorite resort.

That’s it for this week, 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.

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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.

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