This post comes to Colorado Ski Country from Kristen Lummis of www.braveskimom.com.
"The snow gods must really like you, " my husband laughed early one morning last week. We'd awakened to snow, so almost before he was out of bed, he was checking the CSCUSA snow report on his phone. "Fifteen inches atAspen/Snowmass he announced. I pumped my sleepy arms in the air.
Truth be told, I wasn't skiing that day, but I was driving to Aspen to start a three day Clendenin Ski Method ski camp. As I pulled into Aspen on Sunday afternoon, snow was piled everywhere. I put on my boots and went for a stomp in whatever untracked snow I could find. It was bitterly cold, but who cares? After a rather long, extended Indian summer, it had snowed and really snowed. Winter came just in time.
Why Should Kids Take All the Lessons?
Now you may be wondering: Ski camp? Yes, ski camp. If you're a parent, think of all the opportunities you've given your children. Perhaps you found the best preschools, gave them opportunities to learn music, and art and sports, and maybe even stressed (just a little!) about where they should go to school and what they are learning.
When it comes to skiing, many of our children have benefited from basic learn to ski programs, Devo programs, junior racing programs and more. Rarely do I meet a parent who says, "Oh, my child learned to ski just by skiing." But, adults? That's what we do. We took lessons in the past (hopefully) and now we cross our fingers and strive to improve simply by making more turns. Of course we're having fun, our kids are in ski school, and we're skiing with friends. It's a good time.
And then our kids get better than us.
Make it Easy
This happened to me two seasons ago at Snowmass. We'd been making laps together in Hanging Valley when my 14 year-old looked at me and said, "You're kind of slow. You should go first." Fine, I thought. Skiing through trees, I pointed my skis downhill and got more aggressive. I ended up face first in the snow with a jammed shoulder. I needed a new strategy.
It took me two years, but last week, I finally took the step from sporadic two-hour lessons to a comprehensive three-day clinic. Three days: think about it. That's time to unlearn some bad habits, relearn some good ones and begin internalizing a new method of skiing. That's time to improve, regress, progress and, truth be told, have an awful lot of fun.
I went to a John Clendenin Ski Method Camp at Aspen. There are other camps and clinics out there, but this one worked for me for a couple of reasons. First, John is a two-time world champion freestyle skier and he knows moguls. I'd like to know moguls better and have a less turbulent relationship with them. John aims to teach his clients how to ski more effortlessly in bumps, how to more effectively use all four edges of the skis and how to turn more efficiently with stability and grace. Sounds good to me.
Secondly, Aspen is close to home and convenient. It turns out that convenience wasn't a big draw for my fellow students, two of whom came from Canada, one from New Orleans, one from Atlanta, one from L.A., and one from Cleveland. We ranged in age from about 29 to 60, with four men and two women.
Did It Work?
In a word, yes. The Clendenin Method Ski Camp did work. During orientation the night before camp started, I told everyone that my goal was to fill my mental toolbox with the tools and techniques I need to analyze my skiing and make it better on the fly. I got those, in spades.
After a two-day break, my family was skiing again, and while I consciously had to practice, lest I revert to bad habits, I felt solid, steady and strong in all conditions. Hooray! I still can't keep up with two teenage boys who rip nonstop, but I'm having more fun.
And as for the snow? Even with early season conditions, I remain amazed at how all of our Colorado resorts groom even small amounts of snow to maximize the skiing. Add 15 inches of fresh snow, with new snow falling almost every day, and the question shouldn't be "how's the snow?" but rather "when are we going skiing?"
Winter has come to Colorado. The snow gods must like all of us.
When You Go.
If you're interested in learning more about the Clendenin Ski Method and John's camp, please visit www.skidoctors.com/clendenin-ski-method-camps.comI also wrote daily reports with more detail on the techniques we were learning. You can find these at www.braveskimom.com posted between 12/10 and 12/14.