Every year this deep into the season I start to worry that winter is slipping away. I think about my goals at the beginning of the season and how I lost track of them in the midst of powder days and sunny apres ski moments with friends. In November, I promised myself to break through from intermediate level to advanced level at telemark skiing. Sadly, my tele skis sat in my garage for most of the season collecting dust.
I took the morning to pop on the free-heeled boards and focus on technique. Word to the wise: Anyone who wants to improve on the mountain, meet me at the gondola every spring morning at 8:30 am. Ski every green and blue groomed run you can before your legs turn to Jello. A warm-up on Spur Run gave me a reality check. I floundered and bounced around like a fish out of water through each turn. It didn’t matter. Everyone else around me was going slow, focusing in their technique and enjoying the sunny morning.
High Noon was calling my novice name. On my Alpine skis, I could ski this run switch (backward) to the bottom. On my telemark skis, the top of this intermediate slope looked steep. It is amazing how my perspective changed. I embarked on the journey down and saw another tele skier working on her turns. She motivated me to sloooooooow down and focus on the little things like edging and transitions. Turn after turn, I improved and things started to click. I stopped below Rendezvous Saddle Lodge exhausted and wondering how I was going to make it down to the base. I looked at Lower High Noon, and the perfectly groomed, untouched slope glistened in the sunlight. The conditions could not have been more perfect for learning. I had the real estate all to myself. Every movement in my turn was intentional. It was like I was skiing under a microscope and in slow motion. I was actually getting better!
Exhausted but not yet defeated, I tackled Vagabond on the way down. The soft corduroy made turning easy. Each swipe of my skis past one another was accompanied by a drop of the knee as far as my thighs would take me. Slowly, slowly, slowly, turning, transitioning and flopping around, I smiled all the way down. Yes, that was me in the Steamboat Resort uniform flailing through my turns and sometimes falling down onto the soft snow. I’m right there with you. Trying to improve. Laughing off the falls. Soaking my sore legs in the hot tub at the end of the day.
Take the time this spring to slow it down and get out there on the lonely morning slopes. You will improve with every minute, hour and day you put in if you focus and slow down. Want to get better at park riding? This spring is for you! Steamboat Resort just unveiled two pocket parks on Upper Vagabond. Want to get better at cross-country skiing? Springtime at Haymaker can’t be beat! Just get out there because this season is slipping away. Next year’s season passes are already on sale!
See you in the mornings,
Meghan Lutterman, Alpine skier