Powder Skiing 101 with a chance of Ace’s Chalet Deep Creek Lake McHenry, MD Wisp Ski Resort
When it comes to skiing, so many people are intimidated by the soft and fluffy. It may be a fear of falling and not being able to get up, it may be a fear of twisting a knee, or it may just be a fear of failure and or embarrassment. Whatever the fear is, there is path to conquer it. If you permit your fears to deny you the pleasure of powder skiing, it’s time to move them over and allow the blissful, sweet powder to lightly puff into your face and experience a new sensation that you will find no where else.
The number one thing you can do to make powder skiing easier, is to take a lesson! There is nothing better than having a professional correct your stance and balance, and build up your confidence gradually, preparing you for steeper and deeper powder days. The second thing you can do for yourself is invest in a good pair of powder skis. They are wide and shaped differently then on-piste skis, they are designed specifically to make powder skiing easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
So let’s address the aforementioned fears:
#1. Fear or falling (and not being able to get up)
First problem solver – always ski with a buddy. Not only is it much safer, it’s way more fun! Your buddy can help you get up if you are stuck, or better yet, take a picture to laugh at later.
Getting up in the powder starts just like getting up from any other fall, first, get your skis below you and together. Step two is to stand up (not an easy feat at the best of times). To make it a bit easier, take your poles, put them together and use them as a brace to push yourself up. If you lose your skis, create a platform in the snow, level and flat, oriented across the slope for which to put your skis back on.
If the fear is still preventing you from skiing powder – go take a few intentional falls in not-so deep powder just off the piste, and practice.
#2. Fear of knee injury
A common skiing injury, and a very real fear on heavy or wet powder days. In difficult conditions the snow has a way of grabbing at your skis, trying to separate them. In these instances, choose a wide ski, with a reverse camber (boat shaped) to allow more floatation on top of the snow. Then, take a narrower stance, bringing the feet slightly closer together than your on-piste skiing to create a platform from which both legs operate simultaneously. Getting your feet working together prevents the pull and split from independent action.
One of the best things you can learn for powder skiing is how to allow the snow to create pressure in the turn (as opposed to the arc of your skis, as what happens on a groomed run). The idea is that you “bounce” through the When it comes to skiing, so many people are intimidated by the soft and fluffy. It may be a fear of falling and not being able to get up, it may be a fear of twisting a knee, or it may just be a fear of failure and or embarrassment. Whatever the fear is, there is path to conquer it. If you permit your fears to deny you the pleasure of powder skiing, it’s time to move them over and allow the blissful, sweet powder to lightly puff into your face and experience a new sensation that you will find no where else.
#3. Fear of Failure (and/or embarrassment)
This happens in every sport at every level at every age. Each one of us is different physiologically, psychologically and emotionally, and we cannot all preform at the same level, at the same time, in the same manner on the same day. It’s a fact.
Be gentle with yourself, and enjoy the small gains. It may not be tomorrow, but if you don’t try today, it may never happen.
The cabin we stayed in during our staycation: http://rentals.deepcreek.com/rental/aces-chalet
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Thanksgiving at Mohonk, Nov 2010 – 50
Image by Ed Yourdon
(more details later, as time permits)
Mohonk Mountain House is one of those places that typically evoke one of two distinct reactions when you mention it to someone: (a) they’ve never heard of it, and wonder what civilized place could have such a strange name, or (b) they squeal with delight that someone else knows about this special place, and proceed to tell you how many generations of their family members have been visiting it since … well, since long, long ago.
Assuming that you fall into the first category, here are the basics: Mohonk is a sprawling, century-old hotel/resort located near New Paltz, NY — about 90 miles north of New York City, just west of the Hudson River. It was opened in 1870 by Quaker twin brothers Albert and Alfred Smiley, and the main buildings — some wooden, some stone — were built over the period of 1879 through 1910. As a Wikipedia points out, it sits on the edge of a small lake (Lake Mohonk, what else?) that’s a mere half-mile long, and 60 feet deep; but it’s big enough to support a modest amount of fishing, swimming, boating, and (in days past) ice-skating. Visitors can also hike, climb nearby mountains, play tennis, ride horses, and various other activities.
Or … you can just relax. There are quiet corners everywhere, dozens (maybe hundreds) of rocking chairs, lots of warm, toasty fireplaces, and dozens of little wooden cupolas scattered around the lake where you can read a book, chat with a friend, or just stare off into space and think about nothing at all. There’s no noise from nearby traffic — it’s at the top of a smallish mountain, on 2,200 acres that adjoin another 6,400 acres of the Mohonk Preserve. There’s no loud music, there are no televisions in the guest rooms, no cars or motorboats or jet-skis or sources of noise.
Various notables have visited Mohonk over the years, including industrialist John D. Rockefeller, naturalist John Burroughs, industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Chester A. Arthur. While I was there this past weekend, the actor Alan Alda was wandering around the main lounge, undisturbed by any of the other guests. It’s probably worth mentioning that Mohonk was also the setting of a 1994 feature film, The Road to Wellville, starring Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Broderick.
As for the thousands of other undistinguished guests and visitors: it’s amazing how long many of us have been coming here, and it’s intriguing to see how many multi-generational families come here for holidays (Easter, Memorial Day, Memorial Day, and Thanksgiving are the main ones, I think) as well as family reunions and other special events. My wife first discovered Mohonk in the mid-1970s on a visit with her mother, while I was away somewhere working ’round-the-clock on some ill-fated computer project. We first brought our children here in 1983, and have typically returned once or twice a year since then … and after nearly 30 years, it’s amazing to see how little has changed.
But there have been a few changes. Notwithstanding the Quaker heritage of the original Smiley brothers, who decreed that there would be no drinking or card-playing when they first opened their establishment, there is now a small cocktail lounge tucked away in a corner room. Meals used to be a somewhat mediocre event, served in a huge dining room that was built somewhere around 1902; now the cuisine has improved considerably, and it’s also possible to order room service meals. And, wonder of wonders, there is now free WiFi service throughout the hotel … but there are still no televisions in the guest rooms.
It’s hard to capture all of this in a series of photographs, even though I have a Flickr collection with roughly half a dozen different sets of family-related photos that I’ve taken here since the mid-1980s. But this time, I tried to capture as many different scenes as possible — and I was lucky enough to get one brief period of afternoon sunshine, which allowed me to take some HDR images of the scenery.
If the photos look sufficiently intriguing, take a look at the Wikipedia article, or visit the Mohonk website. Who knows — maybe we’ll see you there on our next visit…