Hating no feeling in my toes, not wanting to look like a total spazz and hating snow were all major causes of me hating skiing… and winter. However, I must confess that even though I had never tried skiing, it sure sounded like something that I would hate. Then finally after 21 years of being completely adamant about not skiing, I was given enough grief that I thought I’d give it a try. Living in Utah which has The Greatest Snow on Earth®, being only 20 minutes away from the best ski resort in the country and being given this opportunity, I’d be crazy to not at least try, right?
Fast forward to the actual morning of my first lesson and the decision seemed a whole lot less great then I had previously assumed. While driving up the canyon I couldn’t help but assume the worst; that I’d be awful, everyone would see me fall on my face, that my instructor would give up and say I was a lost cause, etc. But now, I can say with certainty, that if you’re going to learn to ski (when you suffer from over thinking like I do) the only place to do it is Deer Valley. When I reached the resort I looked around and was truly blown away. Not only by the people in epic snow gear, but also how beautiful the snow was, how cozy and warm the lodge was and how everyone was in this insanely cheerful-happy-to-be-alive mood. Needless to say, I was in love with the environment and ready to pack up and move there. But in all seriousness, even just being around people who love to ski that much was infectious and a lot of my nervousness went away just by being there.
I went to the ski rental shop and got my boots, skis, poles, and the name of my own private instructor (feeling pretty legit at this point). And then I looked outside and it all became very real: the bunny hill in all its glory. I walked out and was instantly greeted by a very smiley man in a very green ski outfit who pointed me in the direction of my instructor Eddy. Eddy, from Michigan, who was so nice and made me feel sure that I was in good hands. Eddy told me that I was lucky to learn from him because he knew all the secrets and was going to make me a pro in no time. “I’m going to show you that you already know all the things you need to ski, but you just didn’t know you knew it.” Sounded good enough to me because the easier the better and a lower chance that I would look lame.
We went inside first and did some very basic things like walking and standing which I’m already good at, so my self-confidence was soaring pretty high. Eddy reassured me that being on skis would be just as easy if I just gave it a chance and listened to what he had to say. After I was feeling like I could take on just about any run, I actually got on to a pair of skis and felt a whole lot less confident. Eddy taught me the basics of getting in and out of skis, walking, turning (a lot harder than one would think) and finally how to move enough to get to the chairlift. As odd as it sounds, the chairlift was the thing that I was most worried about. After Eddy reassured me about seven times that it really wasn’t that bad we pushed our way up and got on the chairlift. It was truly that simple, which is a very obvious statement, but really not bad at all and probably the silliest fear ever.
After we got of the lift with no problems, because Eddy is a chairlift master (or it’s just super easy to get off a chairlift) we made our way to my very first attempt at skiing down a mountain. Eddy turned around and skied backwards while teaching me the ‘wedge’ technique which is how you stop. We went down the hill three times just practicing the wedge and learning how to stop which was probably the most important thing I learned. As Eddy put it,” The two things that you should have learned by the end of the lesson are: how to get control and how to keep it.” I truly could not have had a better experience learning how to ski. Eddy and all of the staff were so nice and so patient that I felt completely at ease to take things as slow as I needed and that made all the difference. By the end of the half day lesson I was parallel skiing down the mountain with no problem! It truly seemed like a miracle but I was assured that it actually happens all the time which is neat but made me feel less like a natural skier pro extraordinaire.
After a fantastic BLT from the Deer Valley Grocery ~Cafe and repeatedly boasting to my sister that “I killed it” and was “practically the next Lindsey Vonn” I realized that skiing was something that I could learn to actually like. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t hard but I would say that it was way more fun than it was effort. I can’t wait for my next lesson so that I can get even better and feel even more comfortable skiing.
JF Lanvers caught up with me during my lesson and captured the whole thing on video.