I love teaching Park City Mountain Resort's 3-Day Ski Academy. I can go out with a group and after just a few chairlift rides we are often swapping stories and laughing. I am always surprised by the conversations. Maybe we ski a few runs and I see something with one of the skiers so I start talking about bending the ankles a bit more. Pretty soon the rest of group is talking about how they always knew about bending their ankles but had never really understood how it worked with the rest of their body or how it played out through a turn. In a conversation, the ideas have a space to develop and become clear. I love when we have that chance to chat something over and then comes the moment when someone realizes, “Oh! I see now.”
Ski Academy gives me 3 days with the same group of skiers. Having a group of skiers for a few days gives me the opportunity to learn about them and how they ski. We can go all around the mountain and take the time to explore and develop the small details of technique and then find out what we can do with it. Sometime that means we spend the morning working on my favorite mogul drill so that when we finally go back to a real bump run everyone makes a few turns and says, “Wow, I have never felt so in control in moguls!” Other times it means we explore the trees and I end up showing a better way to turn among tight trees.
Or maybe the discovery of the day is a small detail. I often take people along the walls and gullies to work on skills and discover that they have a always felt uncomfortable there. With just a few simple practical tips and some practice, they no longer have any problem following their children or grandchildren into their favorite parts of the hill.
In a few days the groups show great support for each other. Everyone has their strengths. The person who is the best with carving might find that someone else has great powder skills. These two make great partners, each encouraging the other. I often hear people say, “If I can do it, you can too!”
With a few days of skiing together, people seem much more likely to ask those questions that maybe seemed silly or they just couldn’t quite figure out how to ask. Sometimes it’s, “What kind of socks do you wear?” or, “When should I start my son skiing and how should he start?” Sometimes it’s more technical like, “When should I plant my pole?” These questions are great because inevitably they start a new conversation and then whole group learns about some aspect of skiing that they hadn’t necessary thought about, or thought they had figured out but maybe missed some detail. I cannot tell you how many times I have gathered a group a the top of a chair and said, “So I was chatting with Bob on the chairlift about this detail and thought we should all play with it for a run or two.”
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.