Brilliant Skiing

My good friend Weems Westfeldt wrote a most excellent book on skiing called "Brilliant Skiing. Every Day." Over the summer he revised it and now it's even better. Get a copy if you're a skier or know one. In his book, he introduced me to the idea that every day can be brilliant, even when you're not skiing your best. It's a brilliant idea, and one that has carried me through challenging days.

Last week, I had three days that didn't need that reminder.

As a certified ski instructor, I am required to maintain my certification by taking continuing education of at least two credit every two years. I was a bit behind. So, I had signed up for two days of clinics to catch up. The curriculum guide described the Alpine Extreme Mountain Performance clinic as an opportunity to "explore the technical and tactical aspects of skiing steep to steep off-piste terrain and all types of snow conditions," and I was looking forward to learning how to overcome some of the challenges that I faced when the terrain and conditions became especially challenging for me.

But, I never would have expected what happened...

Monday, Loveland reported 14" of new snow for our first day. It snowed all day, never stopping. By Tuesday, they reported an additional foot of snow. We were skiing steep, deep, and challenging terrain and conditions constantly for two of the greatest days of skiing in my life. Trees, bumps, powder, steeps, rocks, flat light, brilliant blue skies, wind, above timberline, climbing, exploring... we had it all.

More on this in the next post, but in the meantime, what's a favorite memory for you?

The End of an Era

Yesterday was a sad day for me. As I sat in my kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, an email hit my iPad that announced the end. It is summer, of course, and while I've been gearing up my thinking for the next ski season, I haven't been actively thinking about it. So, the email was even more of a surprise and has sent my mind reeling a bit.

The Over the Hill Gang guided skiing program at Copper Mountain is no more.

Powdr Corp bought Copper Mountain last December from private equity firm Fortress Investment Group. Most of the indications after the purchase were positive, so this decision comes as even more of a shock. According to the announcement, Copper will be going in, "a different direction," and will continue to support the social aspect of the program but will no longer offer the volunteer guide program.

So, I have some decisions to make about next year. I may choose to teach at Copper, I may look into teaching at other resorts, I may choose to do some other role, as well. That choice has yet to be made. In the meantime, though, the oft-misunderstood guided skiing of the Copper Mountain OHG is no more.

For me and many others, it's a sad day...