Have you set some goals for this ski season? One way to motivate yourself to get out and ski and set goals for each season. I have friends who set a their priorities each ski season.
One friend is 77 and he made it last year. Another is Bernie Weischel, who runs ski shows around the country, including the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo. Bernie has always shot toward his age, but after turning 60 decided 60 would be enough. My goal is a more modest 30 days.
I can look back on my patrol days knowing that I got my share in my 30s, averaging close to 60 days a season and the professional days when 120 was more than triple my age. The number isn’t really important. Having a goal will get you out there on days when it might be a bit colder than normal or snow is forecast. And remember, every day you ski will be better than the last.
Other goals can include skiing more areas. One of mine is to hit more of the smaller areas. I know that I will ski Shawnee Peak, Sunday River, Mt Abram, Saddleback and Sugarloaf. Last year, I went to Camden Snowbowl and a return trip this year will give me a chance to see how the new lift and other changes are adding to the experience. Black Mountain in Rumford is on the list, and it’s been years since I skied at Titcomb. I also hope to revisit Lost Valley with one or more of the grandchildren. Our oldest granddaughter Kate, who got to ski a number of larger areas before starting school, liked Lost Valley best as she could ski all the trails. It’s a great place to ski with kids because their sense of adventure on a long meandering run like Squirrel makes up for the challenge we might be looking for.
My list always includes a few New Hampshire areas. A lot for Maine skiers forget about our neighboring state’s offerings and often don’t realize how close they are. A few years ago, I asked my brothers in law if they had ever thought about skiing Loon. They each had the New England Pass from Sunday River, and that’s where they skied, with an occasional trip to Sugarloaf. The pass is also good at Loon, but they thought it was too far away. If the weather is good, the trip across the Kancamagus takes about 15 more minutes than the drive to Sunday River, and it’s a lot shorter than Sugarloaf. We made the trip and met a cousin from Massachusetts who would not have met us at either of the two Maine areas, but had an easy drive to Loon. It was a sunny day and we had a great outing. Of course, we don’t advise driving the Kanc in poor weather.
Wildcat is always on my list, along with Cranmore and Bretton Woods. I’m also planning on a visit to Mount Sunapee, not quite as convenient for Maine skiers, but coach Tom Reynolds now skis there, and we plan on visiting for a day or two of skiing with Tom. Additions to the list will depend on the weather. One destination on the schedule is Quebec City during Carnaval. The biggest celebration of winter takes place the first two weeks in February and features an ice palace, snow sculptures, a giant parade and other events in this city where everything is within walking distance. And skiing at Mont Ste. Anne, Massif and Stoneham are all within an hour or less. If you want to set a goal to combine the Carnaval Experience with skiing, the details can be found at www.quebecregion.com.
Is one of your goals to ski better? Obviously, skiing more will help with this, but getting a little coaching will help more. Often skiers plateau at a certain level and can’t quite get to the next level and a clinic with a top instructor can lead the way to a break through. Check web sites to see what might be available at your favorite mountain. Early season clinics are common and great ways to get on track for the season. For some extra adventure check Dan Egan’s web site www.skiclinics.com. This is a skier who has appeared in plenty of top ski films, including his own. I attended one of his clinics at Wildcat and was amazed at how he could accommodate a wide variety of skill levels within the group. Dan somehow finds a way to communicate with each skier on an individual level and it works.
Another way to improve is to run some gates. Join one of the corporate racing programs and once or twice a week you can force yourself to extend your skiing against a race course. Carving turns around gates will help to carve those turns while free skiing. And if your league has a set up where you get to practice before each race, that can really help your skiing. Both Lost Valley and Shawnee Peak have race leagues and now is the time to sign up.
Another goal might be to give back. Skiing is a sport that relies on volunteers in many ways. Every race program needs help with everything from coaching to gate keeping. Check with your local school or ski club. How about helping with the handicapped? Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation can be found at numerous ski areas and cross country centers and volunteers are always needed. www.maineadaptive.com.
You can select from the ideas above or come up with your own, but setting some goals can get you on the hill more often and you’ll have a more successful season. See you on the slopes.