When I called to schedule a second ski lesson at Loveland, the person at the desk asked if I would be “skiing or riding” and (honest-to-goodness) I asked, slowly, “what… is… riding…?” (Spoiler: it’s snowboarding). Needless to say, I am well on my way in the skiing world, but I’m not quite there yet.
My ignorance of snowsports jargon doesn’t mean I’m not full of enthusiasm. To get this second half-day of skiing in, I renounced studying for my Lit final. I stayed up until 1:00 AM the night before writing a paper, but by the time 6:00 AM rolled around, I was caffeinated, on the road, and ready to go.
Unfortunately, the roads were not so ready to go. I made it almost to Georgetown before I hit what all Colorado travelers of I-70 dread: traffic. Be it from weather, a migration of skiers, or both, I-70 in the winter can be atrocious. Despite the mini blizzard and long line of cars, I refused to turn around. My ’06 Civic was not as enthusiastic as I was and complained every time an uphill driver threatened to stop. But for the skiing! I pressed onward… slowly.
Tip: Plan to leave as early as you can, then leave a little earlier. Even for a random Wednesday morning, 6:00 AM from Boulder put me on the cusp of being late for a 9:30 AM check-in at Loveland.
Bonus Tip: Being stuck in traffic alone is the ideal time to perform a solo concert (plus encore) of Songs You Love But Never Play When Anyone Else is Present Because They Are Uncool.
Ski Lesson Number Two
As I inched along, I called Loveland in a panic over the impending likelihood of me being late for my lesson. “Not to worry,” they assured me, “Just make it here safely!” I finally slid into the Loveland Valley parking lot just 3 minutes behind schedule. I layered up, grabbed my skis and headed into the storm for my lesson.
This time, my instructor was Timothy, who got our small group of three started right away on practicing turns. We transitioned from wedge turns to parallel turns and learned how to turn enough to stop uphill. He even videoed us as we practiced and gave specific insights about each of our turns.
We probably looked ridiculous stomping one foot through the snow as we practiced, but the good news about this Wednesday morning was that there weren’t many skiers on the mountain to witness it. Before I knew it, I was turning and… not exactly burning, but feeling more like a real skier!
Feeling confident, we headed to Lift 3 to take on a new green run. I graduated to poles for this lesson and found that they can be handy when scooching yourself toward the lift or in other areas of flat snow. However, I nearly got my butt kicked (literally) by a four-person chairlift because I was trying to sort out my body, my skis, and my poles without taking someone down with me. Instead of losing my body, I opted to lose a pole and the liftie was kind enough to send it up with an even kinder snowboarder behind me.
Tip: Timothy suggested I hold both my poles in the same hand (on the narrower part of the pole) when getting on the lift.
Near the top of the lift, I gulped as I looked down. This looked much steeper and longer than the molehill of the bunny slope below. I calmly and lightheartedly expressed this concern. “OH HOOOLY COW. WE’RE SKIING DOWN THAT?!” I gestured wildly with my ski pole as the lift climbed upwards. Timothy reassured me that we could all handle this, and that we’d take it piece-by-piece. We turned carefully, stopped at the safest far side to assess the slope ahead after a blind turn, and slowly but surely, we made our way down the mountain.
So This Is Powder Skiing
Suddenly, on the way down, I understood the obsession and ecstasy associated with the famed “powder.” (No, not THAT powder, this is a family skiing article, for goodness’ sake!). But rather, the kind of powder that you swish and slide and cut through with your skis like that fluffy frosting you spoon out of a red-lidded plastic container because -whoops!- you bought two containers for a one-layer cake. It really feels that indulgent.
At the end of the lesson, Timothy announced that we had all graduated to being able to ski all of the green runs — even the ones at Loveland Basin. I tried to jump with excitement, but unfortunately ski boots are the opposite of moon boots and skis are not ideal for much more than skiing.
As I reluctantly left the powdery haven to go take my final, I felt the pull of another future day, ditching my usual world of Shakespeare and traffic lights for one of ski boots and snowy drives.
So who’s coming with me? I promise we can play your music…
Additional Posts in this Series:
Many thanks to Loveland Ski Area, WinterWomen.com and Powder7 Ski Shop for sponsoring this “Learning to Ski as an Adult” series. Please click here for a list of recommended gear from WinterWomen and Powder7.
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