As previously noted in this space, one of my new year ski resolutions in 2017 was to immerse my children in their own ski lessons more frequently this winter, something I haven’t managed to do in more than 25 years.
No matter what your age, odds are that most among us face some sort of trepidation on the mountain, whether that be as simple as making turns, as strenuous as navigating bumps, or taking your skiing or riding to a more extreme level in the parks or pipe.
For me, that apprehension exists when the trees come into play. While most glades on your average trail map remain perfectly navigable, my commonplace skiing gears tend to stall when the pitch becomes a bit steeper, or, particularly, when I’ve been led into the realm of the secret stash, terrain reserved only for those in the know. Which means … well, sometimes I have no idea how to handle it.
Thus, this season I’ve decided to take a lesson for tree skiing, hoping to learn the essentials of making the quick turns necessary to handle the environment, while gaining the confidence that tends to escape my normally eager legs upon first dip into the woods.
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I’ve got my eyes on a few destinations as I look to dive into it this season. (Note: Rates do not include lift tickets.)
At Vermont’s Bolton Valley Resort, which has some of the more underrated tree skiing in all of New England, participants must have prior experience in glade skiing, but will receive tips from the pros during tours that can range from one to six hours. These glade tours run $85 for one hour for singles ($145 for two), $149 for two hours ($269 for two) and $360 for the full six hours ($720 for two). Add another person for $60 an hour.
At Sugarbush Mountain Resort there is always the temptation of just spending the day, one-on-one with future Ski Hall of Famer and Warren Miller star John Egan ($599 for a full day, midweek), but the resort also has group lessons that will cater to your advanced skiing and riding needs. The Max 4 Adventure Workshops are small and personalized lessons that will help entry-level black diamond skiers and riders tackle some of the more gnarly terrain at Sugarbush, including steeps, bumps and trees. Morning and afternoon sessions (10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., respectively) are $80 each. Attend both sessions for $145.
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Ragged Mountain Resort has this season instituted a fantastic new program for new skiers and riders with the Bebe Wood Free Learn to Ski and Ride package, which offers, yes, free skiing for first timers ages 7 and up, with the option to purchase a season pass at the end of your three lessons for only $69. But that doesn’t mean the Danbury, New Hampshire, mountain is only for novices. Group lessons for black diamond skiers run only $49 for one and three-quarter hours, while a private lesson (one hour $89, three hours $179) may be the perfect way to explore the terrain on your own, whether you bring a beginner or not.
Balance, control and quick stops in the trees — get ready for class.