My friend, Jenny Block, recently flew all the way from Dallas, TX to Utah to learn to ski on The Greatest Snow on Earth®. For those of you thinking you might be too old to give learning to ski or snowboard a try this season, Jenny proves that there is still plenty of time to start and learning has never been easier. Follow Block's Beginner Blog special guest series to witness her journey and determine if skiing just might be a possiblity for you too!
Oh! And, don't forget to check out great January Learn to Ski and Snwoboard Month lesson deals near you at: skiandsnowboardmonth.com
The First Day
Contributed by: Jenny Block
“Are you ok?” Meisha Lawson asked as I sat on a bench at Park City Mountain Resort, preparing for my very first ski lesson.
I wanted to say, “No, I’m terrified. Get me outta here!”
I think I said, “Uh huh. Why?”
Maybe what I said was somewhere in between. But I don’t really remember because all I do remember is thinking, “Why? Why am I doing this? I’m too old. I’m too uncoordinated. I’m too scared. And I can’t figure out how to buckle my own, damn boots.”
But I was there and I was dressed and we’d flown all the way to Utah and so it was time to just do it. My girlfriend walked me over to a sign that said “Never ever,” as in “I’ve never ever skied” and I waited for the rest of my class to arrive.
Once we were all there, our instructor, Sandra Beherrell, taught us how to pop our boots into our skis and to slide around. It had to be one of the strangest sensations I’ve ever had. When you slip or slide, it generally means that you’re out-of-control or headed for being out-of-control. But in this case, it simply meant, well, that you were skiing.
Much sooner than I expected, our instructor took us up the ski lift. That was a little harrowing, if only in my mind. I was sure the thing was going to just knock me to my knees and leave me behind. But instead, it scooped me up and took me to the top of the bunny slope.
Getting off the lift was a challenge, and I was grateful Sandra and the ski lift operator were close at hand. No harm, no foul, as they say. And somehow, I made it down that tiny slope that looked like Everest to me. I made it down. I’m sure it didn’t look very pretty and I am really sure that I was going at a snail’s pace despite feeling like I was in the Olympic trials. But I did it. And I didn’t fall.
I may have been have surrounded by toddlers who had just accomplished the same feat and, likely, with more grace, but I could not have felt prouder or happier or, quite frankly, more relieved. We went up and down that hill again and again until, by the end of the lesson, I knew that this was something I could – and wanted – to do.
Having had private lessons as well since then, I will admit I prefer those. But regardless of whether they are group or individual, the only thing that’s really important is that you take one. I’m told that one of the top reasons why adult beginners call it quits is because a friend or, worse, a significant other says, “Don’t worry. I’ll teach you.” And then drags them to the top of a blue run and basically says, “Ready, set, go.”
Skiing is a skill. It’s learnable. Very learnable, regardless of one’s age or ability. But it is a skill and, like any number of other things, it has to be learned. And, unlike some things, skiing is something that most of us really do need to be taught in order to truly learn.
Day one was exciting and empowering. I was amazed that I could ski, no matter how slow the speed or how slight the slope, after that very first day. What was amazing was how it made me start imagining all of the other things that I could probably that I previously considered impossible. It’s amazing what the body will do when you simply ask it.