Even though the web is infinite, not all of our stories make it to publication. (This week, this one did.) Fortunately, I have my own blog, where I can post extra content that doesn’t make it onto our mag website. So check out this Action Sports Report Follow-Up from Park City …
Last Thursday, I wrote about a group of folks who skied all 13 Utah resorts in a single day. I would love to have tagged along. But, like the other 3.4 million snowboarders in the world, my board and I are not welcome at two of those resorts, Alta and Deer Valley. It doesn’t look like either resort is going to change its ski-only policy anytime soon, so I figured if I can’t beat ’em, I should learn how to ski. How else will I secure my spot on Ski 13, Take Two?
Fortunately, the U.S. ski team is based in Park City, as well as many of the world’s best skiers (and snowboarders). If I was going to learn, this was the time to do it. So last Thursday morning, on the opening day of the Sundance Film Festival, I met U.S. ski team member Abby Hughes, a Nordic ski jumper from Salt Lake City, and ski writer/instructor extraordinaire Vanessa Pierce, who is also the co-founder of shejumps.org, a non-profit hoping to increase female participation in outdoor sports, at Deer Valley Resort. It was time to learn to two-plank.
Let’s just say these women were miracle workers. After a half hour of immobile instruction (“This is how you put on a ski”, “This is how you hold the poles”), I graduated to the bunny hill. Two “runs” later, I was on a chairlift on my way to the top of the mountain. Apparently, I was on their accelerated program. (Or maybe I was keeping them from something less torturous.) By lunch, I was skiing blue runs with my instructors and a couple fairly shocked friends who were also at the mountain. The switch from snowboarding to skiing was much easier than I thought it would be. As for the opposite, I can’t speak to the difficulty of a ski-snowboard conversion. My inkling is that it is tougher. At the end of the day, I was still in one piece and in a fantastic mood. I’d skied a mountain I never thought I would be able to access. I was hooked on skiing.
The next day, I went snowboarding.
**Hughes is a true Olympic hopeful. On April 20, she will wait to hear if her sport will be added to the 2010 Games. On that day, a group of her peers will appear in a Canadian courtroom in hopes of having women’s ski jumping added to the Vancouver lineup. Men’s ski jumping has been part of the Olympics since the first Games in 1924. Now the women want their chance to jump the Vancouver course. For more on that story, click here.
For video of Abby in action, click here.