I love to teach Never Ever skiers. Whenever I start a Never Ever lesson I like to ask, “What is the best thing about never having skied before?” My answer is, “No bad habits!” It is an old joke but I really believe that the opportunity to learn something new is special. Most people think that the cool thing about being a ski instructor is getting to ski the upper mountain with people. That is great and all, but skiing with a Never Ever skier is fun too and amazing. You can see their skills growing all the time. They can go from never having stood on a pair of skis before to gliding down a gentle hill in control and smiling in just a few hours.
While it is true that Mother Nature has been stingy so far this year, there has never been a better opportunity to be a beginner. The snowmakers, our heroes this year, have covered the First Time slopes and the beginner areas with plenty of white stuff. With the installation of the new conveyor lifts we have a perfect beginner space. We can begin with the gentlest of slopes building balance and control with plenty of mileage on the conveyors. It’s so simple to take your time establishing good fundamentals that you can make that move to the chair lift with confidence.
Then there is the First Time chair itself; a detachable quad as a beginner chair is something extraordinary in the industry. It makes that first lift ride that much easier by having the chair slow down to pick you up and slow down to drop you off. The old Warren Miller blooper reel of people crashing off the top of the lift is a thing of the past. I almost always have 100% success days at the off ramp.
Then we have Turtle Trail, even the name is friendly. The lap back to the chair is a great first stage to establish the wedge and wedge turn. Most people find that by the third time down Turtle Trail they are feeling comfortable, looking for a little more speed in places and maybe even hunting for the occasional bump to challenge their balance.
I love to see the smile on a new skier’s face when they realize that they just learned something new and they have a whole new world of fun ahead of them. I remember last year skiing with two brothers maybe 10 and 12 years old who were a little timid at first, feeling clumsy and uncertain in their new plastic boots. But after a few hours in an afternoon lesson, they were having a great time and I happened to see their mom dragging them off the slopes at 7:00 pm that night, still asking for one more run.
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.
Nicole Roundy is a world class snowboarder on the US Paralympic Team. She is a cancer survivor, inspiration seeker, crossfit training, Park City riding superpower blogger. Follow her adventures right here. You can also spy her on twitter (@nicoleroundy) and Instragram (@nroundy)