On top of the world
Jan
19
2017

Taking on The Slopes

A couple of weeks ago my boss walked by and casually asked me about Alpine skiing. My immediate response, "I’m horrible"— which I am. The look of fear must have run across my face as the thought of skiing a large mountain ran through my head. My first thought was please don’t send me out to ski with the pros. In my mind the pros are the 7-year-old kids that seem to have no fear while plummeting down the mountain.

I grew up playing almost any sport I could sign up for: soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and softball, to mention a few. I was always the tall athletic one and every sport seemed to come easy for me. Then I went away to college and decided to try a couple new recreational sports. I tried golf and Alpine skiing. Needless to say I was shocked when I couldn’t figure out the basics of either sport. I guess growing up I always just chose the sports that came natural. My friends and family loved every minute they were able to watch me lack an athletic skill. Although entertaining to them, I constantly became frustrated. That’s when I realized I needed to stop worrying about being competitive and learn these sports at my own pace.

Learning Curve

I decided to focus on learning to ski as living in the Adirondacks I was surrounded by plenty of wonderful places to hit the slopes. I tried skiing first at Whiteface Mountain with my husband coaching me along. Rule #1: Never let your significant other try to teach you ANYTHING. I like to think it’s a conflict of interest. His interest was skiing back and forth through trails at high speeds, while my interest was keeping control and using the entire mountain. As much as I tried to gain confidence on the larger slopes I just wasn’t quite there yet and the confidence quickly faded.

Mount Pisgah is a great place to ski whether a beginner or experienced.

A few years went by with a few attempts each winter at gaining my confidence on the slopes. The confidence never came and maybe that’s because I tried learning at an age when fear was a factor. I couldn’t help but notice that most kids under the age of 15 seemed invincible on the slopes while learning skiing or snowboarding; maybe that’s because they thought they were. Lesson #1: Parents who want their kids to ski, teach them young. I quickly realized the only way to gain the skills needed to ski was to start simple.

Newbie Central

That is when surrounding mountains such as Titus Moutain and Mount Pisgah started to sound very appealing. That being said I found a friend that had similar thoughts about skiing as I did. She quickly agreed to join me at Mount Pisgah, a wonderful place to ski, snowboard, and also go tubing. Of course we couldn’t go without our significant others— although horrible teachers, they somehow give us comfort. I approached the mountain with butterflies as it had been over a year since I last attempted to ski.

Spending some quality time with good friends after skiing.

I approached the lift slowly as I was a little confused about how to get on the T-Bar style lift. When it was my turn I asked, “Do you sit on this?” The worker assured me that if I was to do so I would fall backwards. He then explained to me that I needed to make sure I just leaned my bottom against it and it’d pull me up. The T-bar lifts you to the top of the mountain and once you get to the top there is a gradual small turn to take in order to head down on your run.

The T-Bar may be intimidating but it's easy to use.

Bringing Back The Athlete

We were lucky enough that all runs were open and seemed to have been groomed that morning. As I started down the mountain, I focused on a few key things: not falling, not running into someone, and focusing on my balance. The first run was a little nerve racking but I got back to the lift without falling. That was an accomplishment in itself. I hopped back on the lift and continued with a few more runs which quickly jogged my muscle memory of proper skiing techniques. Before I knew it I was curving back and forth all over the mountain and feeling on top of the world. I wish I made it to Mount Pisgah earlier, as after several runs I gained confidence and could have skied all day. The pricing and atmosphere is truly phenomenal for groups and people of all ages. We paid $15 for a half-day lift ticket which is from the hours of 1 p.m. to 4p.m., while a full day would have only cost $5 more. The quality and entire experience is a steal if you ask me.

Skiing Win

The day quickly came to an end and I couldn’t wait to return to Mount Pisgah in the near future. Perhaps next time I will go for an entire day, and maybe even try the snow tubing offered at the mountain. All in all, my choice to try skiing at Mount Pisgah has helped me regain confidence in my skiing ability and I can see myself becoming a regular. My goal is to teach my niece to ski when she is young — as I wish someone had taught me when fear wasn’t a factor. I know that Mount Pisgah is where I will be bringing her when the time comes.

The location of the mountain is cool, too, as there are plenty of places to go for apres ski. I myself ended the day at Bitters and Bones to share beverages and appetizers after what felt like a great accomplishment. The company, food, and football in the background made for a cool late afternoon adventure. Saranac Lake has so many wonderful places to stay, dine, and explore, why not plan your next winter adventure today?     

A little reward at Bitters and Bones for all our hard work.


This week, we're going down ADK style:

Volunteer Ski Patrol

Four by four

Picture this

Oak-ay by us

Riding solo

Burgers and brews

Author:Mary Gallagher
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