I wanted to stop on the trail and say something to Joey (not his real name, well it could be), but I resisted – so now I am writing about him. He was showing his buddy (wearing jeans, a Patriot’s hoodie and rental gear) how to move his skis from a snowplow to a parallel turn by picking his friend’s ski up and forcing the issue, literally. It looked awkward to say the least, then Joey’s new skier friend asks “when do I get to use these poles?” and Joey says, “we will get to that when I show you how to stop.” Yikes. Awkward had escalated to dangerously bad advice.
Some good advice, if you like your friend (not just facebook like, but genuine camaraderie, care and concern kind of like) then do not teach him or her how to ski. There is the obvious risk of injury (to them or to you if they get frustrated and poke you with that ski pole). But also you don’t have the proper training, tools or techniques to start them off with the right skills and shorten their learning curve. You may however shorten their temper and tolerance for you and the brand new sport. Better to get him (or her) a lesson and meet up for lunch or après ski.
Some good news, January is Learn to Ski or Ride Month with special deals and promos all over New England. Vermont ski resorts are offering $29 learn to ski or snowboard packages including a beginner lift ticket, equipment rental and a professional lesson, offered at Bromley, Bolton Valley, Mad River Glen, Mount Snow, Stratton, Jay Peak, Burke, Killington, Pico, Okemo, Smugglers’ Notch , Stowe, and Sugarbush. You must sign up in advance at www.SkiVermont.com.
New Hampshire will have “ski free week” Jan 7-14, first timers receive a free lesson, rentals and beginner’s lift ticket. You must go to www.SkiNH.com and get your Ski and Ride Free coupon then register at your chosen mountain: Gunstock, Loon, Waterville Valley, King Pine, Attitash, Bretton Woods, Cannon, Cranmore, Ragged, Wildcat, and Pats Peak . Some age and date restriction apply, registration opens Jan. 2.
In Maine, free learn to ski or ride week Jan 8-13 has already sold out for this year (look into that for next year in early December), but Sugarloaf and Sunday River offer “Bring a Friend, Ski for Free.” You must pre-register your newbie skier or rider friend for the $80 first timer lesson which includes rental, lift ticket and lesson, and you must ski the same day.
Jiminy Peak also offers a Bring a Friend program, you get a free lift ticket when you print an ecoupon at www.JiminyPeak.com and register your friend for their GET Skiing or Riding program offered non-holidays Sunday-Friday.
So there are plenty of reasons to let the pros teach your friend, and only one reason to try and teach them yourself – if you want to send your friendship downhill quickly.
Photos by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.