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(My notes here are listed most recent activities first).

I took my skis to visit the East Coast in April. I had a business trip to New Hampshire, just an hour from Killington (VT), and I was really looking forward to skiing there again and getting in some last runs for the season. But the only day that I had free, the weather was really bad (foggy, rainy) and they even ended up closing some lifts. So I bailed. At least I got my skis tuned so they're good to store for the summer.

We skiied at Whistler over St. Patrick's weekend, and I really had a great time. I had a cold and was planning to take it easy, but I was having too good a time. Though, I have to admit the visibility was pretty bad at the top - at one point I got so disoriented that I wasn't sure which way was down! I got to practice techniques I learned at Big Sky (see below) and worked on skiing some moguls.

In January, I took a 4-day trip to Big Sky, near Bozeman, Montana.
Looking down towards the mountain village and the Ramcharger chair at Big Sky
I went with a group set up by a former SHAI co-worker, and we stayed at the Stillwater Condos. The skiing, I thought, was really good. There were a few rough patches or rocks, but for the most part there was good snow. We got a few inches of fresh powder the first day, then 6-8 inches more overnight before our last day of skiing. Being a skier from "back East" (see below), I don't really know what to do in powder, and I hate to say I wasn't enjoying it too much, those first couple runs. But after a bit of practice (and a shoulder injury) I caught the hang of it and had a good day. Aside from the weather being great while we were there (fresh snow, some sun, not too cold), one of the best things about Big Sky is:
Really, the longest wait we had was for the gondola, about 10 minutes maybe, and there was a line for the tram to the very top, but other than that, there were no lines at all.

I have learned that, in pushing myself to ski tougher terrain and to keep up with friends, I skipped a few valuable steps in learning to ski. I took a lesson at Big Sky and was really pleased with the instructor and how he gave us details to work on (in a useful way, unlike some other lessons I've taken). And it was only $33!

One interesting bad habit the instructor pointed out was the "oh shit" turn that I (and others in the class) had developed. It happens when you try to carve but you're afraid of speed, so you tend to keep the downhill leg too straight in order to turn and slow down. So the key to that is to get "tall" between turns and "small" to make the turn, starting the bending in the ankles and knees, and keeping the knees at roughly the same level. I got better at it with practice (boy, are my legs sore!), but found myself reverting to the "oh shit" move when it got too steep or I was too tired. I'll keep working...

More pictures from the trip, courtesy of Matt.

I started skiing about 7 years ago. The first time I went, I remember, I was really losing my sense of humor for the first couple hours! But then it started coming together and I was hooked! There have only been a couple seasons in which I have really gotten to do enough skiing to improve my skills, and I'm afraid I have lost some ground over the past couple years. I'll have to remedy that...

East coast skiing: I started off at Massanutten, near Harrisonburg (VA). Then I tried Whitetail in PA -- we went for 2 days and I took a lesson, and that's when I really started liking it. Well, OK, I wasn't over the fear yet, but then, I'm still not!

Let's see, after that, I started going anywhere within driving range: Timberline, Snowshoe, Canaan Valley, and Winterplace in West Virginia (see Ski WV .com), Wintergreen , near Waynesboro, VA.

But it was the trips to Killington with the Virginia Tech Ski Club that were the most fun! Nothing like a week of skiing on a HUGE mountain, well, a bunch of huge mountains. (And the parties weren't bad either ;o) Some friends and I went to Sunday River, Maine, for spring break one year.

Finally, I got out West for some skiing (and learned that powder is very different from that New England ice!). My cousin in Salt Lake City has some connections and hooked me up with lift tickets at Alta and Deer Valley. I've gotten a little more experience with powder since I moved to Seattle. We've been to Mt. Hood (east of Portland, OR); Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass, which are both just over an hour outside of Seattle; and Whistler-Blackcomb, north of Vancouver BC (Whister can be as little as 4 hours and as much as 8 hours away, depending on the traffic crossing the border!).

So, there's my laundry list of ski places. I hope to add on to it, especially with some skiing in the Alps (I'll probably get to Colorado first!). The main things I'm working on now are keeping the skis pointed more downhill -- I tend to chicken out with any speed and start criss-crossing the hillside instead. So I want to convince myself that I can go faster and still maintain control. The other thing I'm working on is moguls. I have to get MUCH faster in my turns, but I got a lot of improvement on this last trip to Whistler.

Here is a brief list of some tips that have really helped me along the way. Maybe they can help you too:

That's about it... Have fun skiing!

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