When I have trouble falling asleep, I imagine myself pushing off the lift at Killington, Okemo, Bretton Woods, or Wildcat and then winding my way down a trail from the summit to the base on dreamy packed powder under bluebird skies. The runs unfold in my mind’s eye and I can feel the edges of my skis carving turns and the wind in my face. Soon, the rhythm of the motion lures me into a deep sleep!
Each winter, my husband and I eagerly look forward to those precious perfect days of alpine skiing, when the biggest question of the day is, “which trail is next?” Skiers live in the moment, with the worries of life tucked away as one tackles the challenge ahead. From placid trails that gently descend a mountain ridge to the steeps and deeps of craggy ravines, New England offers it all.
This winter, the best way to embrace the cold temperatures and snowy precipitation is to find joy in it. For me, skiing continues to thrill, delight, and push me to cross boundaries for personal growth. Skiing is such a wonderful sport and one that is available to almost everyone, especially today with the new carving skis and lightweight boots. If you’ve never tried it, or you have not been on the sticks for a long time, I urge you to take the plunge and get back out there… you won’t regret it!
For planning ski vacations, I recommend:
Leocha’s Ski Snowboard America. This is the absolute best guide to ski vacations. I have found their advice to be “spot on” with information on lodging and dining, but best of all is the information about the trails. They impart their candid and insightful knowledge about the true levels of difficulty, the best cruisers, and which trails require caution. An excellent guide!
Ski North America: the Ultimate Travel Guide. This book offers snapshots of the larger resorts in North America. It is good for a fast read and quick glance, but doesn’t offer the same understanding of the best trails as Leocha’s guide.
Ski Atlas of the World. If your ski dreams include Italy, Switzerland, France, British Columbia, Austria, Norway, and more, than this is the book for you. This guide is a great starting point for planning a world ski trip. Background information, maps and pictures will help the ski traveler decide where to begin.
The Essential Guide to Skiing: 201 Things Every Skier Must Know by Ron LeMaster. This is a superb book loaded with useful information that is especially good for beginners. Topics include how to find a qualified ski instructor, how to attach your skis to your car rack, how to find good powder even when the trails seem skied out, how to walk in ski boots, and much more.
Essential Skiing: a Bible for All Skiers by Herb Gordon. Gordon provides straight-forward instruction including how to get started, techniques, safe skiing, skiing with children, and more. You will learn all the basics here. A great book for anyone new to the sport.
Soft Skiing: the Secrets of Effortless, Low-Impact Skiing for Older Skiers by Lito Tejada-Flores. Although the book’s title indicates it is for older skiers, this book is for everyone at any age. Lito Tejada-Flores is one of the best known and most popular ski instructors on the planet (and maybe beyond?). In his latest book, he provides practical and effective ideas that skiers can immediately use to reduce fatigue and stress and increase relaxation and enjoyment.
Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering by Martin Volken. You won’t find me in the backcountry but if you are the adventurous type and want to explore backcountry skiing, this book is an excellent primer. Volken covers all the essentials including avalanche safety, trip planning, nutrition and fitness, winter camping, emergency situations, and more.
Breakthrough on Skis I, II, and III with Lito Tejada-Flores. Tejada-Flores brings his expert skiing to film, illustrating how to break free of the “intermediate rut” and move into “expert” skiing. Each volume features a different aspect of skiing. This DVD will change the way you ski!
Downhill Racer (1969). What ski blog would be complete without mentioning Robert Redford’s Downhill Racer? Redford plays an ambitious ski racer who wants the fame of breaking Olympic records but doesn’t want to play as part of a ski team.
Renowned filmmaker Warren Miller takes the viewer into the extremes of skiing with Warren Miller’s Storm and Warren Miller’s Ride. In both films, we follow extreme skiiers and snowboarders as they venture into blizzards, blast through the backcountry, heli-ski, and drop off of cliffs of seeming impossible verticality.
…..But most importantly, remember this advice from Herb Gordon:
“Skiing is a sport with only one winner – you. And you win by skiing on your own terms, at your own pace, at the level you choose.”
So get out there and hit the slopes for the living-in-the-moment exhilaration of downhill skiing!
Ann Marie is the Library Director of the Oliver Wolcott Library and loves short lift lines, blue sky days with fresh groomed powder, and cruising down eastern trails with her husband (and much better skiier) Harry.