Valentine’s Day Crush

My friend Josh likes the action verb “crush.”

But his version is more rockstar than cupid.

Let me explain:

When I bump into him and his son, Jack, at Deer Valley, he looks at me with a hint of irony and says, “We’re going to CRUSH Success!” And Jack, on cue, pipes up with a manly growl. Or, the best impersonation of a manly growl that an adorable seven year-old orange belt in karate can muster. Which is beyond cute.

And, yes, the kid can CRUSH a ski run.

And, so, in the spirit of Josh, Jack and Deer Valley skiers everywhere—and with apologies to David Letterman—I bring you:

Bari Nan’s “Top Ten Deer Valley Runs I Love to Crush….”

•Mountaineer

It’s longish and uncrowded; it’s got a couple of killer, empowering steep pitches. It carves like a champ.

 •Stein’s Way on a powder day

Yes, this is the run that inspires bragging rights. And while it’s a killer groomed run, nothing—and I mean nothing beats it on a powder day. When I have the top section to myself and I can bounce around in the powder, I sing while I ski. (Apologies to anyone in earshot…I can’t really carry a tune. But I can’t stop myself. I’m having too much fun). The pitches and dips on that run ride the way I would imagine a series of perfect rip-curl waves might ride…if I were a surfer. Which, for the record, I’m not.

•Tycoon

Steep, fast, and …steep. And long enough that if my form starts to tank, I have time to recover it and save face before I get to the bottom.

 •Supreme

Yes, I bust out the occasional Diana Ross tune while I make my turns here. There’s usually a little powder to be found on far skier’s left. Just enough to make it playful. There’s a neat little jug handle around the left side of the first mini-glade, and then three steeps that alternate with stretches I like to call “recovery flats.” Ski Dad and I did laps on Supreme a couple of weeks ago—and I’m still daydreaming about it.

 •Lucky Jack

Gladed rolling terrain unfurls after an initial quick, gentle drop. I’ll follow my kids through the trees on Ruby’s Tail or pick different lines to weave around the trees on Jack-proper. And, as with Supreme, the reward lies at the bottom…Empire Canyon Grill, home of the perfectly-crisp handmade potato chip. (You knew there would be food, right?)

 •Lucky Star

An excuse to sing Madonna while I cruise? Nuff said.

 •Blue Bell to Silver Buck to Star Gazer to Gemini

This run never fails to make me smile. The terrain starts out pretty mild, and ramps up as you turn down Star Gazer. And Star Gazer and Gemini are seldom crowded, so it can be fun to do laps here. And if I like the six or so turns on Star Gazer that link Silver Buck to Gemini, I’ll make sure that I finish the next lap by skiing Star Gazer all the way to the bottom. Then, I’ll scoot right onto Red Cloud Lift, eyeball the bumps below and see how brave I’m feeling (and whether there’s much life left in my legs).

If I’ve got the urge, I put a pin in it for a minute. Why?

•Star Gazer, top to bottom. That’s why. It’s usually good for two laps—three if it’s not crowded. After which, I slide into the line for Quincy Express, and make my way around the top of Ontario, and cut across the field, through the trees to my favorite run on the mountain.

•Hidden Treasure

I’m never bored here—powder or groomed, it’s a favorite run. Sometimes I’ll ski the top, then cut through the trees on skier left into Square Deal, making some gladed turns before opening up on the bumps. Other days, I’ll wait to cut into the bumps until they pop up after the trees toward the bottom of the run. It’s about 10 bump-turns to the bottom—just enough to say I crushed ‘em.

Finally, I’m ready to head home…

Solid Muldoon-to-Dew Drop-to-Little-Kate

It is, perhaps, my favorite way to (attempt) to end the day. It usually takes three tries. Because the first time, I am riding the high that comes from carving the top of Solid Muldoon, sliding across Success through the safety gates at the top of Dew Drop to the pitch that I know I should do with no turns, except that I can’t NOT turn. Weaving through the trees, finding little pow stashes at skier’s right and then zooming back across Success to Little Kate feels, strangely, like “home.” Or, rather, like I’ve just stolen home. By then, it’s 50/50 whether I’ll crush it or bottom out on my form from sheer fatigue. Which means there’s 100 percent chance I’ll do two more runs. One in which I’ll make a last-minute executive decision to do Solid Muldoon top-to-bottom, at speed. And the second, in which I’ll attempt to either redeem myself on Kate or relive the CRUSH.

Now…tell me what’s your Deer Valley crush run?

 

I’m a hopelessly romantic…skier

I’m not really a Cupid hound.

Ski Dad and I, of course, exchange cards every February 14th. And, without fail, he brings home a bag of Conversation Hearts (only the original Necco hearts suffice for this New England girl). And while I’d like to say we downplay the day because we’re too cool for school, the fact is we are total dorks who like to mark February 24th as a special day. It’s the day we had our first date. Twenty-three years ago. We’ve been going steady ever since. Which is astonishing since I’m only 25…but I digress.

But this year, we’re doing something special to get ready for Valentine’s Day. We are, together, embarking on the Mahre Camp at Deer Valley, Feb 10-12. Because we both want to up our game—and what better way to lock in what we’ve learned than to give ourselves a rest day on the 13th (seriously, we’ll need one after three days of first-to-last chair skiing. Someone may take away our Locals’ Cards—or at least our membership in the Crack of Noon Club!), and spend the day, er, racing each other down the steeps?

Of course, no Valentine’s Day would be complete without some chocolate and bubbly. I’m voting for lunch at Royal Street Cafe, complete with the Ice Cream Sandwich and Hot Fudge, and a cocktail (St. Germain, anyone?).  Cheers!

What’s your perfect Valentine’s Day at Deer Valley?

VISA Freestyle International including “behind the scenes…”

Since the beginning of the millennium, Deer Valley Resort has embraced freestyle skiing by hosting Freestyle World Cups, Olympics and World Championship events. This year was no exception and while the Utah resort bested itself once again, the top international freestyle athletes met at what is, without much debate, their favorite venue in the word.

With its mogul and aerial events, freestyle is one of the very few ski competitions that can be seen and enjoyed by the public from top to bottom, without solely relying upon a giant TV screen. Deer Valley’s venue is quite unique in the way it is shaped and configured and is designed to accommodate close to 7,000 cheering spectators. A number in that vicinity could have been counted on both the Friday and Saturday evenings that, by far, attracted the largest crowds.

I’m a bit partial to the mogul competition which is a true test in edge-to-edge quickness, rolling bumps that come at the competitors like a monster conveyor belt eager to swallow them, where there’s a need for electric knee-action interspersed with a couple of high powered jumps where athleticism, balance, sporting creativity and a lot of good luck combine to offering a breathtaking show. As a single event, moguls is plenty entertaining but in its dual format, the whole spectacle truly comes to life, builds up additional pressure, intensifies the excitement and let the athletes’ raw talent explode in full view of a cheering public.

The aerial competition on the other hand is like a high-speed elevator lift that boosts a skier high into the air, which materializes into seemingly unending airtime that can be used to execute all kinds of twisting and rotating maneuvers while the flight lasts and until it becomes time to land the skis securely and stylishly on a steep and short reception area. Each jump is another opportunity for the athlete to deeply concentrate; balance apprehension versus desire to excel and almost go for broke, hoping to better the last best jump!

Oh yes, while the world’s elite was delivering their perfect show, and the adults were riveted on their awesome performance, another “unofficial world cup” was being held just below the tent and the television house, right on the edge of the immense spectators platform, where the slope is steep. The 5 to 10 years old who are between 3 and 5 feet tall and might have been a bit too small to see everything World Cup, decided to hold their own snow-ball throwing contest and testing the low friction of their ski suits on Deer Valley’s famous great snow, and thinking they were champions in their own right!

Each evening has been marked with big crowds, loud cheers, and pressurized atmosphere with spectators and athletes in communion for pushing the envelope and chasing excellence. A wonderful way for our entire community of visitors, residents and visiting athletes from the world over to bond over a sport we all love!

If you missed the live action these three nights, these World Cup events hosted by Deer Valley Resort will be televised on NBC on February 11, 2012 at 1 pm. EST and on Versus February 11 and 18, 2012.

Here’s the Versus broadcasting Schedule (all times EST):

Freestyle Moguls 2/11/2012 2 pm.

Freestyle Aerials 2/11/2012 3 pm.

Freestyle Dual Moguls 2/18/2012 2:30 pm.

Birthday Ski Day

I have a long-held birthday tradition of skiing the day away. Last year, I spent it with my new, wonderful friends who were my partners in crime at the Women’s Weekend ski clinic at Deer Valley.

This year, it fell on a Monday, and I was determined to play hooky from work and go ski. I put out a note on Facebook and a few text messages, and found some willing friends. Then, a voice piped up from the next room: “Mommy, I’ll go skiing with you, today!” I quickly recanted my nascent plans with friends to capitalize on some quality mommy-son time. Oh, I was so glad I did.

I was thrilled to see how quickly he sprung into action, assembling his gear, hunting high and low for Swedish Fish (priorities!) and buckling his own boots! [Seth Boots]

He insisted on being slope-ready before getting in the car. So, yes, dear reader, he rode to the mountain wearing his helmet and goggles. He was delighted by the tram-ride from the parking lot, and excited to introduce me to everyone he encountered. “This is Mommy!” he said, proudly. “It’s her birthday!”

Then, he launched into Cruise Director mode (wonder where he gets that from?), instructing me on the itinerary for the day. “Mama, we are gonna do Excess (oh, how I don’t ever want him to outgrow that particular nickname for Success run!) and then we are gonna ski to Candyland and then two runs on Wide West, one with the Race Course and then we can stop for lunch.”

Aye, aye captain. He delighted in leading me down the hill, creating hide-and-seek games that centered on hiding behind the “Slow” signs that Ski Patrol posts on the green runs. We talked lots about pizza and French fry turns—so much so that we ate pizza and fries for lunch in Snow Park Restaurant. Then he led the surrounding tables in serenading me with Happy Birthday. And then, it was back to the hill.

This time, he insisted we ski Last Chance—and he crushed it. He made up Jedi Force Field games to play all the way down (he’s a diehard Star Wars fan) and then, after we did the first part of Rosebud,  tried to convince me he could ski the bottom of Little Kate. Now, dear reader, there is nothing cooler than seeing your kid eyeball a ski run, contemplate it for a moment and look over his shoulder at you to say, “Let’s do it!” But Nervous Mommy won that battle. I know he could have skied it, but I worried about the fact that people would not expect a four year old making slow, deliberate turns as they whizzed down the run. “Next time!” I assured him. Of course, as we finished Rosebud, he spied some bigger kids taking a shortcut, and followed suit, arms raised, letting out a WHOOOOOOOOOO as he bombed down the hill. He then cut over to Wide West, did a few more CandyLand turns and discovered, at the bottom of the SunKid Conveyor Lift, a couch made of snow. He could not resist that, either.

When the day was done, he played at the bottom of Wide West, running around in his ski boots, using my poles to “hike” and “shovel,” and generally soaking up (in equal parts) sunshine and attention. As we arrived at the Tram stop turnaround under Snow Park, we were greeted by his favorite ski teacher, Greg, who had spent a well-earned day off skiing with a friend. Seth insisted they ride the tram with us (their car was parked in a walkable spot, but they couldn’t refuse)…and he boasted to them about all the runs he took me on. When I mentioned the Little Kate debate, Greg nodded, grinned and said, “Bari Nan, he’s ready.” Ok, but am I?

Sundancing Like Crazy

I’ve been Sundancing like crazy, doing interviews, making myself generally nutso with work. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I got to attend a Toasting the Filmmakers event at the St. Regis Deer Valley, during which I caught up with Shannon Bahrke, the much-decorated Olympic and World Cup freestyle skier, who is now the official Ambassador of Skiing for the St. Regis. We made a promise to make some turns together soon, and I’m looking forward to putting together some choice runs the way a DJ assembles a playlist.

By the third day of the festival, the sky was unloading that long awaited supply of three-plus feet of fresh powder onto the slopes at Deer Valley. I was anxious to get out and play in it, but first I had to attend a few more events and interviews for Sundance—including a lovely party celebrating Kristen Bell, who is also on the cover of Self Magazine this month. But, because I used to work at the magazine, and still write for it, it felt more like a gathering of old friends. And one of those dear pals and I have a standing ski date at Deer Valley on Sundance Monday.

Lauren and I met up for our coffee in Snow Park Lodge, then hit the trails. We boarded Carpenter with a vague nod to the idea that we’d have a casual ski day. We took off down Solid Muldoon leaving that notion behind. The snow was too sweet to do anything but pound out the runs. Several hours later, we’d racked up 15 runs— 2 Solid Muldoon, one Solid Muldoon to Dew Drop to Little Kate, 2 laps on Blue Bell to Silver Buck to Star Gazer to Gemini, 1 Lost Boulder, 1 Bandana, 1 Sidewinder, 1 Orion, 2 Hidden Treasure, 2 Star Gazer runs, 1 Ontario, 1 Birdseye—all before lunch. We lucked into a table at Royal Street Café, and our friend Laura, the magazine’s Entertainment Editor, joined us for what can only be labeled a FEAST.

Amazing creamy mushroom soup, the crab tower, tuna tacos, RSC fish and chips, and Korean barbecue beef—a new and terrific addition to the menu. I highly recommend it. Lauren and Laura took off after lunch to catch their plane; I snagged one more run—Solid Muldoon to Dew Drop to Little Kate—and left the mountain very, very happy. For me, it’s not really Sundance until I ski with Lauren at Deer Valley. See you next year!

Isn’t it amazing how one good storm can change the mountain?

Due to Mother Nature’s sleepiness this year I hadn’t attempted to ski any of our off-piste areas. Some of you might be saying, “Deer Valley off-piste?” But believe me; Deer Valley has a variety of skiing for all skier types.

One of my favorite stories is many years ago, before we even had Empire Canyon, Daly Chutes and Lady Morgan. A group of my guy friends were planning on skiing somewhere other than Deer Valley because we were in the middle of a big storm. I offered to ski with them at Deer Valley and show them around the powder, but they insisted we didn’t have enough.

Well the next day, they agreed to meet me. They still were full of skepticism thinking the “powder day”  was wasted. Well, I’ll put it this way, by 1 p.m. they were crying “Uncle” and needed to stop. We didn’t ski a single designated trail. Of course all in bounds, we just stuck to the all bowls and trees.

We started in Mayflower Bowl for a few runs then crossed into Perseverance Bowl. We got to the top of Sultan Express and dropped over into Ruins of Pompeii on down into the trees that lead you back to Perseverance. As we grabbed the lift again and rested, I lead them down to the top of Triangle Trees right were Tycoon and Reward split. They were having the time of their lives. Once we got in the heart of Triangle of Trees you heard the “powder day cheers” coming from all, we hit Rattler, grabbed Wasatch Express chairlift to make our way into Sunset Glades then Ontario Bowl. Even though we had been skiing over 2 hours they couldn’t get over the lines still untouched in Ontario Bowl.

After a few laps in Ontario they asked for lunch and promised they would never say that they could “out ski” Deer Valley again.

Fast forward a few years, we now have Empire Canyon with the Daly Chutes and Lady Morgan. It’s quite the work out to hit all areas I’ve mentioned on one powder day. It can be done but the legs might fumble at the end. People ask me how big Deer Valley is, I say “you can’t ski it all in a day”.

Also, I like to showcase Deer Valley’s varied terrain to dispel the myths of us being only intermediate. One run that makes me gather my thoughts before I enter is Challenger (Daly Chutes). No matter the abundance of snow Challenger is just that, challenging. It is very narrow at the entry. I’m not sure two skiers could enter at the same time. Once completed you look back up, out of breath and realize the steepness and narrowness you just navigated. Quite Exhilarating!

If you still don’t believe me, now that I have described some of our black diamond skiing; then come check it out for yourself and maybe I can help. But don’t get caught off guard either, our groomers like Tycoon, Reward, Keno, Magnet and Legal Tender keep you challenged too.  Some much to ski but so little time. See you on the slopes.

Skiing doesn’t have to be difficult!

If you still believe that skiing is hard to learn, long to master and also expensive, there is a way to change this misconception. During the month of January, Ski Mountains around the country, including Deer Valley Resort, offer a learn-to-ski program specially targeted to those who never had a chance to pick up the sport during their early years or when they couldn’t quite afford it.

I wish I had been able to learn skiing by taking some easier way and didn’t have to struggle as much as I did when I first encountered the sport. At that time, even though I lived in the Alps, there was no convenient and affordable program available for school-age kids like me and my modest beginnings on snow were placed under the banner of “teach yourself to ski,” with a wooden pair of skis handcrafted by my own dad, including a set of basic bear trap bindings with non-releasable cable clasps.

As for the conveniently located “beginner slope” next to the family house, it offered no lift of any kind to carry us to the top of a hill that consisted of a short and fairly steep slope, cut into the forest that surrounded a fairly large meadow. That ski run, a trench into the trees, was crowned with a makeshift jump. That’s right, it was almost as if I was expected to jump before I could even learn how to ski, but that’s how it was in these days. Then, the line between modern alpine skiing and Nordic remained still a bit blurred and jumping continued to be considered as being part of the total ski experience.

I don’t even remember exactly what I did, but I must have somehow practiced sliding on the snow and perfected a semblance of “hockey stop” before I dared to launch off that crude jumping hill. That’s right; I could descent and stop by making one single right-hand turn at the bottom of the hill (I’m a lefty…) In addition to my forays into catching big air off that jump, I also had to participate in some cross-country races which I hated with a passion, as my crude wooden skis and their bare bases could not perform nearly as well as the real cross-country skis owned by my most fortunate school mates.

So that’s how things began for me. Later, I remember working as a lift attendant during the school holidays. This entitled me to a free ski pass and that’s how I seriously learned how to ski – never with formal lessons – but through simple observation, imitation and sheer mileage. I wish I could have had access to some formal type of instruction, but it never came until the time I decided to become a ski instructor. Only then, did my technique get “corrected” and my terrible skiing “habits” unbent by some high ranking and very dogmatic “ski professors.”

Just a few days ago, as I was shooting a video about Katie Fredrickson taking her very first steps on skis, I was amazed by the evolution of the ski equipment now made available to beginners and by the markedly improved teaching methods that can, in just a couple of hours, turn a non-skier into someone able to evolve independently on snow and enjoy the thrills of sliding down some pretty long runs…

January is almost over, but it’s not too late for seizing the opportunity of learning how to ski in the very best environment and under the guidance of the most conscientious and talented ski instructors in America. If you or someone you know has been putting off that first day on skis forever, now might be the time to make that life-changing move. Just learn more about that great program and register yourself or your friends to the Learn-to-ski program at the Deer Valley Ski School. You’ll be glad you did it and your friends will thank you for it!

Attempt at skiing, #2!

I woke up this time and felt so much more at ease for the upcoming ski adventure. I knew that I could at least wedge down the mountain if absolutely necessary, but that Eddy probably would be rather disappointed (and that is something that I couldn’t handle).

After I went through the process of getting all my equipment I met up with Eddy on the beginners slope and felt even more at ease with the situation. However, unlike my first day I was not ready for the cold. I realize that you can’t always have a beautiful sunny day, but from my personal experience, I can say without a doubt that if you don’t like being cold and you are trying to learn to ski, you won’t have a great experience. Eddy gave my some hand warmers to put in my gloves and we made our way to the lifts.

The first couple of runs we took just went very slow and reviewed all that we had learned at a slow pace. I cannot say enough how great Eddy is! He was trying to cheer me up because I was frustrated at how I wasn’t doing as well as before and not to mention that I had turned into the abominable snowman. As great as he is, cheering me up was not happening and I was losing my excitement quick. Eddy then suggested we take a break and warm up inside, which I was more than happy to do. We then met up with JF Lanvers in the lodge who was very excited and couldn’t wait to see how much more progress I had made. Eddy delicately explained it was too cold to get as good while showing me puppy pictures to bring my smile back. I think that the most important thing that Eddy taught me in this lesson was that you can’t be hard on yourself and you need to be patient (whether that is with your progress or with the sun).

We decided that it was time to give it another chance because the sun had come out and I was on a cute-puppy-picture high and now was as good of a time to try as any. We started with our run and the difference between that run and the previous runs was unbelievable! I was for sure not as good as I had been towards the end of the first lesson, but I was much, much, MUCH better than before. My mood instantly got better and I was ready to go. (Again mad props to Eddy for being able to read me and know how to best ensure I had a good day!)

After a few runs on the bunny hill Eddy decided that it was time for an actual run. My heart just about stopped and I was less than enthused to fall down a very large and much longer hill. Eddy promised me that he would never endanger me by putting me on a run that he didn’t know I could handle. Eddy is a very optimistic person clearly, because I for sure felt like that was something that I could not accomplish. But he had never steered me wrong so I needed to trust him and everything he had taught me…

Fast forward to the top of the run which was called Success, which Eddy promised was super easy and just a longer version of the bunny hill.

At the top of the run I snapped this pic to both A) show the world my mastery of the sport B) lie to the world and say I skied skillfully down the run.

We started down the run and I cannot believe what happened. I destroyed it (In a good way!). I did so well and I felt that excitement of skiing and accomplishing something. I did fall twice, on two flat parts because I was spazzing out and looking directly down which you should not do! Eddy told me half way through that he had a secret that he would tell me when we finished, which I knew was something I was either or that the run was maybe not the easiest of the beginner runs. I flew down the rest of the mountain (still a bit of a ski hazard so if you ever see a fully purple ski suit looking a little nervous and in the way, it’s me and I will apologize now if you run into me, I’m sure it’ll be great meeting you like that.)

At the end I felt so accomplished and was so happy to be able to say that I skied my first run and lived to tell the tail. I was so proud of myself and I know that Eddy was really proud of me as well. He then proceeded to tell me that I had just skied the hardest beginner’s hill and “killed” it. Eddy is very sneaky and totally tricked me into realize that I’m good enough for even the more difficult beginner runs.

Long story, very short; Had a really hard morning, decided I hated skiing, hung out with Eddy and listened to him and finally skied down an actual run. Decided that I like skiing and I have a lot of potential to be good at it.

As always, a special thank you to JF Lanvers for catching my lessons on video and showing everything I cannot describe in words.

If you live in Utah, you should be Skiing!

Did you know January is National Learn to Ski & Snowboard month? Do you know what this means? A lot of good deals! There are 32 states that participate across the country in this program. Here at Deer Valley, from January 17-31 we are offering a Learn to ski package: 25% off lodging, adult rentals and two Max 4 lessons. Why not come visit Utah during this time and take advantage of the great deals offered during learn to ski month. On January 28 we are also offering a day for Utah locals. If you’re a never ever or spent some time away from the sport, come visit Deer Valley. For $39, the program includes a ticket, rental equipment and a lesson! Reservations can be made by calling 888-754-8477 or 435-645-6648 and mention “Ski Utah Learn to Ski Program.”

I think this is such a great program for the sport of skiing. Do you realize we live in a state with the best skiing terrain and The Greatest Snow on Earth ® and ONLY 20-25% of Utahans ski? Come up to the mountains and get into the clean, fresh air. Take advantage of these programs and you’ll be hooked. It’s always a good idea to take a lesson especially if you’re a never ever skier instead of adventuring out with a friend. You’ll be taken care of, reassured and protected. It’s normal to be a bit fearful but you’ll be in good company with our professional instructors. (Take a look at Katie’s progress here). If you’re not skiing you’re missing the best part of living here in Utah. I can understand its cold or looks extreme but remember the technology of ski clothing is so more sophisticated and the pictures/videos you see in ads and movies aren’t where the Instructors will take you, I promise.

If you’re a social person grab some friends and take a group lesson. If you’re shy, take a private lesson with no pressure from other skiers. I suggest picking a nice day to be introduced/re-introduce to the sport. Reward yourself! Take a few runs, grab a cookie and rest. Make it fun. Start slow and build your confidence. Taking advantage of these programs will allow you to enjoy your day instead of feeling you must stay outside all day to get your “money’s worth.”

Baby steps before big steps. Athletic stance and a fun attitude is all you need to start. Have fun and see you on the slopes.

 

So I Guess Snow has a Purpose…

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.