There is nothing worse for a beginner than to let yourself get dragged up the mountain to runs that are more advanced than your ability. Just when you are building up your confidence, you can lose it quickly!
Picture this, you’ve been taking lessons and practicing your skills. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself. Your well meaning friends, who’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to be a beginner and don’t realize where you are skill-wise, say…
“Oh, you can do that run.”
“I’ll take you.”
A little voice inside your head is telling you not to go. Your ski instructor just got through explaining that skiing is an individual sport and suggested you to work on your new skills before heading to the top of the mountain. Set them to muscle memory! Going to more challenging terrain often makes you revert to bad habits, wiping out what you’ve just learned.
Does this sound familiar anyone? The whole idea spells disaster. You can’t blame your friends or your sweetheart. They mean well. All they want to do is to ski with you.
The problem lies in the incongruity in experience. Their warm-up runs are your most challenging runs. While they are ready to head off to new territory, you are perfectly content where you are.
You want to hang with them and they with you. Everyone wants to have a great time. What are you going to do?
Deer Valley is a perfect place to ski with friends of different abilities. If you look closely on the trail map, you’ll see that five of the six mountain peaks have nice, long “green” beginner ski runs. Beginners can enjoy gorgeous views and experience the entire resort instead of being relegated to just a few areas.
You can ski side-by-side with your friends and ride up the lift together. Enjoy the best of both worlds: skiing with your group and staying within your ability.
You just need a little planning and a little guidance from a mountain host is always helpful. As the beginner, you know your limits so take an active role in planning your day. Simply pair up your beginner runs with blues and blacks that interconnect or are side-by-side.
Here are some examples I’ve found that lend themselves well to this strategy:
Bald Eagle Mountain – Success and Solid Muldoon Ski Runs (at the top)
You take Success ski run top to bottom.
Your friends start at the top of Solid Muldoon ski run (which is way too steep for a beginner but a sweet intermediate run.) and they connect with you on Success where the two runs meet by the little cabin. Then you ski together all the way down.
Variation – alternate ending – Rosebud and Little Kate ski runs.
You take the Rosebud ski run at the end.
They take Little Kate ski run at the end and wait for you or meet at the Carpenter Express chairlift.
Flagstaff Mountain – Lily and Blue Bell Ski Runs
Blue Bell Ski Run: This run has beginner (green) “split offs” and is one of the easiest intermediate (blue) ski runs at Deer Valley Resort, so you might want to try it if you are an advanced beginner. The top of Blue Bell ski run is steep so take the “Blue Bell Green Ski Run” cut off.
Instead of taking Blue Bell at the top of Quincy Express chairlift, head toward Ontario, and turn left right past the Sharp Shooter photographer. You miss the steeper part.
There is another “green split” on Blue Bell ski run where beginners can take Lily and Lower Lily ski runs and circle back to Blue Bell ski run. Before you do that, take a peek at the bottom of Blue Bell ski run to decide whether you want to continue or not.
The run gets a little steeper but its very wide. It’s like a football field, it’s so wide. You might be able to do it. Trust your judgement. If you want a green run all the way, simply head over to Lily and Lower Lily ski runs and meet your friends at the bottom of Blue Bell ski run.
They take Blue Bell top to bottom.
Ride up in chairlift together and do it again! (And again. And again. Love this ski run!)
Little Baldy Peak – Deer Hollow and Fairview or Silver Hill Ski Runs
You take Deer Hollow ski run and slip onto Gnats Eye ski run at the top which connects back to Deer Hollow ski run.
Take your time and enjoy this nice long wide run. (One of my very favorites.)
They take Fairview or Silver Hill Intermediate ski runs which flow into Deer Hollow.
There is a trick to this strategy. I find this works best if my friends go twice for every run I do. Then I don’t feel like they are always waiting for me. I’d rather wait for them and not feel pressure to go faster than I’d like to.
Fairview and Silver Hill ski runs are shorter and my friends are faster; they ski two runs for every one run I take. We catch up on Deer Hollow ski run or at the base of Mountaineer Express chairlift.
Wait for each other at the lift and take it up together.
Lady Morgan – Pearl and Magnet Ski Runs
Ski with your black diamond friends on Lady Morgan.
If you look at the map, you can see Lady Morgan works well for a beginner and advanced group. The lovely Pearl ski run with breath-taking views snakes around the mountain and is a favorite for beginners.
You take Pearl ski run. Also you can try Dakota (an easier blue) if it fits in your ability level. Then head down Webster ski run to the Lady Morgan Express chairlift.
Your advanced friends take Dakota ski run to the black diamond Magnet ski run and either meet you on Webster ski run or ski it twice and meet you at the lift.
See how easy it is? You can enjoy your day on runs within your ability and they can weave in-and-out skiing with you while popping onto some blue and black runs.
With a little planning and taking control of your day, you can have a fantastic ski with your sweetheart or with your friends so everyone is happy. Isn’t that the whole idea?
Stop by and talk with any mountain host to plan your runs. Let us know how it goes and what we should add to our list for the next post.