It’s not very often that I have such big news to share the day after posting an article.
But via email today, I learned that John Clendenin, founder and head coach of the Clendenin Ski Method will be inducted to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame!
John is recognized for his Freestyle skiing world titles and his contributions to coaching, among other accomplishments.
Well deserved! Congratulations, John!
Truth be told, I wasn’t skiing, but only driving to Aspen that day to start a three-day Clendenin Ski Method Camp. As I pulled into Aspen on Sunday afternoon, snow was piled everywhere.
I put on my boots and went for a stomp in whatever untracked snow I could find. It was bitterly cold, but who cares? After a rather long, extended Indian summer, it had snowed and really snowed. Winter came just in time.
Why Should Kids Take All The Lessons?
Now you may be wondering: Ski camp? Yes, ski camp. If you’re a parent, you’ve most likely given your children many opportunities. Perhaps you searched out the best preschool and enrolled your darlings in lessons for music, art and sports. Maybe you even stressed (just a little!) about where they should go to school and what they are learning. We care about our kids and we want to them to grow and thrive. Lessons are part of this.
When it comes to skiing, many of our children have benefited from basic learn to ski programs, Devo programs, junior racing programs and more. Rarely do I meet a parent who says, “Oh, my child learned to ski just by skiing.”
But, adults? That’s what we do. We took lessons in the past (hopefully) and now we cross our fingers and strive to improve simply by making more turns. We’re having fun, our kids are in ski school, and we’re skiing with friends. It’s a good time.
And then our kids get better than us.
Make it Easy
This happened to me two years ago at Snowmass. Our family was skiing laps together in Hanging Valley when my 14 year-old looked at me and said, “You’re kind of slow. You should go first.” Fine, I thought. Skiing through trees, I pointed my skis downhill and got more aggressive. I ended up face first in the snow with a jammed shoulder. I needed a new strategy.
It took me two years, but last winter, I finally took the step from sporadic two-hour lessons to a comprehensive three-day clinic. Three days: think about it. That’s time to unlearn bad habits, relearn good ones and begin internalizing a new method of skiing. That’s time to improve, regress, progress and, truth be told, have an awful lot of fun.
The Clendenin Ski Method
I went to a John Clendenin Ski Method Camp at Aspen. There are other camps and clinics out there, but this one worked for me for a couple of reasons. First, John is a two-time world champion freestyle skier and he knows moguls.
I’d like to know moguls better and have a less turbulent relationship with them. John aims to teach his clients how to ski more effortlessly in bumps, how to more effectively use all four edges of the skis and how to turn more efficiently with stability and grace. Sounds good to me.
Secondly, Aspen is close to home and convenient. It turns out that convenience wasn’t a big draw for my fellow students, two of whom came from Canada, one from New Orléans, one from Atlanta, one from L.A., and one from Cleveland. We ranged in age from about 29 to 60, with four men and two women.
Did It Work?
In a word, yes. The Clendenin Method Ski Camp did work. During orientation the night before camp started, I told everyone that my goal was to fill my mental toolbox with the tools and techniques I need to analyze my skiing and make it better on the fly. I got those, in spades.
After a two-day break, my family was skiing again, and while I consciously had to practice, lest I revert to bad habits, I felt solid, steady and strong in all conditions. Hooray! I still can’t keep up with two teenage boys who rip nonstop, but I’m having more fun.
When You Go….
If you’re interested in learning more about the Clendenin Ski Method and John’s camps for the upcoming season, please visit skidoctors.com. Ski Camp is a great way to kick off your ski season and really get yourself motivated to improve.
- Ski Camp, Day Three: The Keys to the Kingdom, December 14, 2012.
- Ski Camp, Day Two: The Sun Came Out and the Lights Came On, December 12, 2012.
- Conscious Incompetence: Ski Camp, Day One, December 11, 2012.
- Aspen Ski Camp: The Preliminaries, December 10, 2012.
- Small Motions, Big Changes: How an Indoor Ski Lesson Improved My Turns, March 26, 2012.
- Tight Turns: Improve Skills with Ski Camp, Books and Better Skis, October, 2012.
Portions of this post originally published at Club Colorado, the Colorado Ski Country USA blog.
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