"The snow gods must really like you," my husband laughed as he looked out the window at new snow. Checking the ski report, he happily announced "Fifteen inches at Aspen.” I pumped my sleepy arms in the air.
Later that day, I drove up to Aspen to start a three day Clendenin Ski Method ski camp. Pulling into town on Sunday afternoon, snow was piled everywhere. I put on my boots and went for a stomp in the untracked snow I could find. It was bitterly cold, but who cares? After a long, extended (dare I say tedious?) Indian summer, winter had come just in time.
Kids Take Lessons. Why Not Adults?
Now you may be wondering: Ski camp? Yes, ski camp. If you're a parent, you’ve probably given your children endless opportunities. Perhaps your searched for the best preschools, enrolled them in music, 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 benefit 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 say. Lessons are for kids, so now we cross our fingers and strive to improve simply by skiing. We’re having a great time. Our kids are in ski school and we're skiing with friends.
And then our kids get better than us.
Make it Easy
I remember when this happened to me. Our family was making laps in Hanging Valley at Snowmass. I was getting tired, when my 14 year-old looked at me and said, "You're kind of slow. You should go first."
“Okay,” I thought. “I’ll show him.” 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 took the step from sporadic two-hour lessons to a comprehensive three-day clinic. Three days: That's time to unlearn bad habits, relearn good ones and begin internalizing a new method of skiing. That's time to improve, regress, progress and, truth be told, have a ton 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 two 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’s goal is 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?
Yes, it did. The Clendenin Method Ski Camp definitely worked. My pre-camp goal was to fill gain a “toolbox” filled with the tools and techniques I need to improve my skiing on the fly. I got those, in spades.
Just two days after camp ended, my family and I went to Vail for the resort’s 50th Birthday weekend. Skiing together, I tried to consciously practice what I learned. For the most part, I felt solid, steady and strong in all conditions. Hooray!
And as for the snow? Even with early season conditions, I remain amazed at how 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 skidoctors.com. You can also read my daily reports from Ski Camp, with more detail on the techniques we were learning, at braveskimom.com.