SnowSquawk: Cheers to Mrs. Robinson – It’s Learn To Ski, Snowboard Month

Posted by Troy Hawks
Troy Hawks
Troy Hawks moved to Colorado after graduating from the University of Wisconsin E
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on Thursday, 02 January 2014 in News
Mrs. Robinson (Hawks blog)Her name wasn’t really Mrs. Robinson, it was Mrs. Ewert, and it was strictly platonic. Nevertheless, Mrs. Ewert (also known as my friend Jeff’s mom) was the person that led me to the crossroads of where downhill skiing and I collided. The devil wasn’t standing there, but Bullwinkle was.

Picture a 1,200 pound moose ice skating for the first time. Now picture him wearing denim bib overalls, blaze orange hunting gloves, and a Green Bay Packer stocking cap; and falling, and falling, and falling. The only time that I didn’t fall was when I was catching my breath.

Sweet Mrs. Ewert tried to help me up the first half a dozen times, but then had to just let me figure it out for myself. She did her best to teach me how to make a wedge, and stop, and turn. Through repetitive beatings by gravity I eventually found my balance, and that was nice because denim prefers to be dry.

It’s true what they say about taking a lesson from a professional instructor, and that’s a note that’s being beat harder than ever this January. This happens to be Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and ski areas across the country are offering some pretty incredible deals for getting started on the slopes. Even better, the second annual Bring a Friend Challenge kicked off in December offering the chance to win ski trips and other fancy swag for helping friends sign up for lessons.

Most of us were brought to this sport by friends or family, but when was the last time you helped get someone new started in this sport? For me, it’s been far too long, so I’ve already carved out plans to bring a friend (or two) this year. Hall of Fame inductees and other legends of this sport remind us to never lose sight of the simple joy that sliding on snow delivers, and its ability to change lives. These two initiatives make it easy to shepherd our friends to the magical crossroads.

I had no idea of the energy that was being set in motion that first day I spent flopping all over the beginner area at Wisconsin’s Rib Mountain (now Granite Peak). In fact, my function-over-fashion ski outfit was later memorialized when my mom took up art class. Sure enough if she didn’t come home with a ceramic figurine of a kid skier painted wearing denim bib overalls, orange gloves, and a Packer hat.

When I opened this gift at Christmas, I knew things would never be the same. Things were different now. I was different now. I went from never having been - to having been - and with bruises to prove it.  So here’s to you Mrs. Ewert!

Photo: Here's to you Mrs. Robinson ( 

Troy Hawks moved to Colorado after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and worked 12 seasons as a children’s ski instructor for Keystone Resort, and most recently nine years as communications manager for the National Ski Areas Association. He resides in Denver and is a freelance journalist and contributor to


Kristin "@KazooSki" Hanson Thursday, 02 January 2014

My first experience (come to think of it, this describes a number of firsts), was screaming "look out below!" and shooting in a straight line down the hill. Followed by uncontrollable laughter that melted into near-asthmatic fish gasps for air and hiccups. I was five and fearless. After a day of that and pulling me out of tree wells at the end of each run (incredibly, nothing broken), my parents enrolled me in ski school. Money VERY well spent.:D

Kristin "@KazooSki" Hanson Thursday, 02 January 2014

P.S. that outfit still describes many skiers in the U.P., including my nephew at Christmas. Don't judge!

Mary Jo Tarallo Wednesday, 08 January 2014

My first day on skis was at a small recreation and parks facility near Towson, Maryland where I grew up. The name - Oregon Ridge. The facility still is there but the lifts are long gone. I was in high school. Our moms drove us to the ski area after classes on Wednesdays. I can still remember my friend Kathy plowing into a snow fence. We all thought it was hilarious. Those were simpler times. Can we bring them back, please?

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