by Kristen Lummis, braveskimom.com
What do free ride skiing legend Glen Plake, Olympians Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves and Kevin Jordan, the Children’s Coordinator for the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, have in common?
Besides incredible skill on skis, they are Ambassadors on the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month Leadership Team, charged with getting people fired up about winter and about learning how to ski and snowboard.
Jordan is one of three PSIA ski instructors on the team, and the only team member from Colorado. As someone with extensive experience working with beginner skiers, Jordan has created a Facebook page that shares one “learn-to” tip each day during January.
Tips include how to size skis, how many pairs of socks to wear, knowing “The Code” and more. The tips don’t have to be read in order, and some will resonate more with some people than others. But they are all designed to help “clue in” beginners and give them some heads-up information.
“I wanted to do something that would help beginners,” explains Jordan. “One of the biggest challenges in learning a new sport is that there are a lot of questions. Everyone wants to learn quickly and be good at something right away. They don’t want to look silly or look like they don’t know what they are doing.”
Jordan’s goal is to help answer beginners’ questions, before they’re even asked. His favorite tip is that learning to ski or snowboard should be fun. And also, that it’s a process that will take more than one lesson.
“Learning a winter sport is not a ‘one-off’ experience,” he explains. “There is always something that we can improve upon in terms of skill development.”
Lessons aren’t just for beginners, and teaching pros have plenty of skills they can share with intermediate and advanced skiers to help them explore the mountain in a safe and fun manner.
“For example, at the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, we teach kids how to ‘self-arrest’ or stop themselves before we take them onto steep terrain,” Jordan shares.
“We have a double black diamond checklist and this ‘self arrest’ skill is just on of the many skills they learn and have to be proficient in before we take them into this difficult terrain.”
So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced skier or rider, check out Jordan’s tips and take a lesson this January. It will be so much more fun than hibernating!
When You Go…
For information on Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month programs available across Colorado, check with your local resort or check out this information from Colorado Ski Country USA.
If you and your family do find yourself at Aspen/Snowmass this season, Jordan suggests purchasing half and full-day private lessons at least seven days in advance for the greatest savings. He also suggests that families check out the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, which has programming for infants through teenagers, and Ullr Nights.
An on-mountain celebration of winter, Ullr Nights happens every Friday night through March 28 at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola with great food, live music, sledding, ice skating and skibiking. As for skiing Snowmass, Jordan suggests taking a “couple of days to explore the mountain.”
“Snowmass offers something for everyone, from a beginner’s paradise at 10,000 feet known as the Elk Camp Meadows, to extreme terrain in the Cirque and the Hanging Valley Wall.
“For intermediates and advanced skiers and riders, try skiing or riding from one side of the mountain to the other. It will take you a few days to really do this.
“I’m still learning new lines here in some of the extreme terrain!”