First Tracks: Never Too Old

Taking ski or snowboard lessons as an intermediate-level skier isn’t all that common, even though any chairlift ride will give you a bird’s-eye view of dozens of full-grown skiers and riders who would benefit from some professional help. Unless you started as a kid and took lessons or learned from an expert rider, chances are you too would find that a few lessons would improve your technique and form and make sliding down the mountain a lot more fun.

I got started alpine skiing relatively late in the game and switched from alpine, to snowboarding, and then back to skiing on telemark gear. That meant I never got very good at any of those disciplines. I picked up some pretty bad habits along the way too. When I first took tele lessons a little over a decade ago, my instructor threatened to tie my poles together in front of me. Evidently soaring down the mountain with arms spread wide like a cormorant ready to take flight is acceptable while snowboarding but certainly isn’t proper skiing form. I still struggle to keep my hands and poles where they belong.

Over the past several seasons, a busy schedule has meant fewer ski days and less time on the snow to work on my bad habits. I’ve also been switching back and forth, maybe too much, between resorts and backcountry, parallel and tele turns, and alpine and telemark gear. As a result, my skiing has actually gotten worse, and, consequently, less fun. That’s not a very encouraging thing to think or write about in your early 40s, especially during a late-December powder dump. But the solution is easy: start skiing more and sign up for another round of lessons.

Ready to take your skiing or riding to the next level? All five of our local resorts offer lessons for adults as well as the occasional specialized clinic. January is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, but it’s also as good a time as any to take a lesson to improve your intermediate or advanced level riding. Fortunately, you’re never too old to learn to have more fun on the mountain. //

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