This is part of a series of sponsored posts. Keystone Resort provided complimentary activities for our family to enjoy during our stay.
Keystone Adventure: Try not to break anything, or die.
If you’ve been following along with our adventure, then you know this is going to get a little crazy. If you’re new to our adventure let me fill you in. Long-story-short, we are a family of 4 from Houston, Texas. The climate and altitude vary greatly between Houston and Keystone. This is our first venture into snow and ice. My two boys, ages 13 and 16, are beyond thrilled and having a blast. Hubby and I are hoping to return home in the same condition in which we left. If you want to start at the beginning our adventure click the following link: http://keystone-ski-adventures
Ski and snowboard lessons are on the itinerary. Going into this trip, I knew my boys would pick up skiing, or snowboarding, pretty easily. I did have some concerns about strapping skis to my feet and hurtling this 40+ year old body down a mountain, but my hubby seems to think it isn’t going to be that difficult. So, after we get into the multiple layers of clothing, there is a brief discussion about what shoes to wear. The boys and hubby are wearing the ski/snowboard boots. I am wearing my warm, comfy, walk around in the snow boots. Hubby, “If you wear you ski boots, then you have one less thing to carry.”
The ski boots do not allow you to move your ankle very much. Given I am not the most graceful being to start with, yes – I am one of the lucky few who can trip on a flat surface, and I didn’t think tromping about in heavy, clunky, thick, plastic boots on stairs and ice was a good idea. Once the boys and hubby realized I was not going to be persuaded to wear the clunky boots all day, we gathered up all of the gear and headed out.
We had three sets of skis and ski poles, my boots, and a snowboard. Well, let me tell you when you see people walking around with their skis thrown over the shoulder like it’s so easy. . . NO IT’S NOT! My skis kept coming apart, slipping off my shoulder, bumping into things around me. Seriously, I can only imagine how much personal space people were giving me at this point. We finally made it to the bus stop without injuring, or maiming anyone.
Keystone Adventure: How to put on skis
We find the ski school building pretty easily, get checked in, and get a locker. I needed to lock up my warm, comfy boots and our backpack of snacks and supplies. I manage, with hubby’s help, to get my ski boots on. Yep, still slightly uncomfortable, but I really didn’t have a choice if I was going to ski. We were given directions on where to meet our instructor. I clunked out of the ski school, walking like Herman Munster.
We met our instructor Trent and, since we were carrying our gear, we could take the gondola. Up the mountain we went. Once we exited the gondola, we clomped over to a little bunny hill. The first lesson was how to put on your skis. The directions sound simple enough: The toe of the boot goes in first, then put weight on the heel of the boot locking it in place. Got it – toe, heel. I managed to get one ski on! Then, I attempted the second ski. Now, Trent said to make sure you were standing so that your skis would be parallel to the mountain. You should be going across, not up, and not down. And, put on the downhill ski first. Well, I managed to get my second ski on, but then slid backward just enough to get the back of my skis crossed, and over I went. I should’ve taken that as a serious warning sign. If you can’t even get the skis on with the instructor helping you step-by-step, you might not be coordinated enough for this sport.
I tried again. This time I was more successful. I managed to get both skis on, not get tangled up, or fall down. YAY me! The hubby and boys had no issues at all and really didn’t seem impressed by my ski-putting-on ability. Now that we knew how to get our skis on, we had to learn how to take them off. There’s a lever in the back you push with your ski pole, or your boot, and it unlocks the boot from the ski. Easy enough! I managed to get both skis off. Next, we put one ski back on, and Trent had us practice going in a circle. Push, glide, repeat. Make your toes point in the direction you want to turn. Push, glide repeat.
Take that ski off, put the other ski on.
Push, glide, repeat. Keep those toes going in the right direction. Push, glide, repeat.
Keystone Adventure: Pizza, French Fry, and Ski Walking
Finally, we got to put both skis on and practice going in a circle. Trent talked to us about “Pizza” and “French Fry”. I put them in quotes because he wasn’t talking about lunch. You make your skis go in the shape of a slice of pizza, like a wedge, to slow down, or stop. You want the front of your skis to come together without crossing, or getting tangled. French Fry is when you want to go straight and fast, so your skis are parallel to each other. You also want your skis parallel when you are pointing your toes the way you want to turn. This is how you are supposed to control your speed and direction as you maneuver down the slope. The mountain was fairly flat where we were, so there wasn’t that much gravity working against us. Then, we had to learn to walk up-hill, in our skis.
This is not difficult, but awkward and tiring. You side step up the hill. Start with the uphill foot. Step, and use the edge of the ski to dig into the snow for traction. Now bring your downhill ski up. Repeat until you get where you want to go. Be cautious because if you don’t use your edge enough on either ski, you will end up doing the splits.
Keystone Adventure: Downhill skiing, finally
Once Trent felt like we had the basics down, we moved to a slightly longer, a little more steep bunny hill. We still weren’t ready for a full green run. Side note: if you’ve never been skiing, or don’t know much about it, the slopes are called runs, and they are labeled by color. Green is the easiest. Next is blue. Finally is black, and then you venture into diamonds. The more diamonds the steeper and more dangerous the run.
Now, back to skiing. We used a people mover sidewalk to take us to the top of the larger bunny hill, then we practiced skiing down. We had to make turns, going from one side of the hill to the other to help control our speed, and then stop at the bottom. Once Trent felt like we were comfortable at this level, he moved us to the next level.
Keystone Adventure: Ski lifts
To get to the next level we had to take a ski lift. Again, this is one of those things that looks really easy. And, it can be…..it can also be scary, nerve-wracking, and panic attack inducing. You stand in an area with at least one other person, sometimes as many as three other people, to wait until the lift guy/girl tells you to go. Then, you all shuffle, shuffle, shuffle your skis as quickly as you can, watching over your shoulder so you see the lift coming. The lift seat will hit the back of your legs. When that happens, you have a seat. Both ski poles should be in one hand. Try not to whack the person next to you. Then, you ride up the mountain. Feet dangling, nothing but the open air around you. Try not to drop anything because it could land on someone skiing below, and can be difficult to get the object back.
When you get to the top, you have to have both poles ready. Your skis will hit the little bump,and you have to stand up right away. There’s just enough bump to help you get off, then an immediate downhill slide to help you get out of the way of the next group coming off the lift. Now is not the time to fall down. You will get ran over, and they will have to stop the lift while you get out of the way.
On one of our trips up, Harrison’s ski got tangled with mine. We managed to get seated, but in trying to get our skis untangled, he dropped one of his ski poles. Thankfully, it didn’t land on, or impale anyone, and someone was nice enough to grab it and bring it up to him.
Keystone Adventure: Trees and Cliffs
The next level involved a serious curve in the run. If you didn’t make the curve, there was a good chance you would run into the trees, or go over the edge of the cliff. I don’t know if the cliff had that far of a drop, because I wasn’t brave enough to ski over and take a look. Slowly and carefully, I readied my stance in the pizza formation. Then, began to move the feet facing forward to be more french fry-like. And off I went. I tried to make my toes point the direction I wanted to turn. I turned a little, but not enough. The trees were getting closer, and I was picking up speed. I went back to the pizza stance. I slowly came to a stop before hitting the trees.
I tried again, and again, and again. Each time I seemed to have a little more control over which direction my feet were going, and the speed at which I was moving. Instructor Trent said I seemed to have it down. Harrison was doing amazingly well. Hubby, well. . . . his comment was, “I didn’t think it would be this tough!” Trent spent some one on one time helping hubby get his stance and form correct. Then, things seemed to get a little easier for him.
Keystone Adventure: Snowboarding
My oldest son, Harley, wanted to learn to snowboard. He thought it would be easier to pick up because of his ability to ride a skateboard, ripstick, and longboard. Trent told us right away, he really didn’t know a lot about snowboarding, but would teach Harley everything he did know. So in between teaching us the beginner skills for skiing, he was giving Harley pointers and tips about how to use his toes and heels to turn and stop. Harley managed pretty well on his own.
Once we progressed to the bigger bunny hill, with the curve in it, Trent called one of the other instructors, Jonny, to help Harley. Now Harley had a snowboarding expert as a private instructor. The two of them took off. The next time we saw them, it was lunch time and Harley was having a blast. Jonny was complimentary about how quickly Harley was picking up the skills and advancing through the maneuvers. By the end of the day Harley was zipping down green runs doing spins, jumps, and ollies.
Keystone Adventure: Time to turn us loose
A huge debt of gratitude Trent and Jonny. Our skills would not have advanced at the rate they did without the guidance of these two instructors. They were kind, patient, and non-judgmental. At no point did I feel awkward, or self-conscious in attempting to learn something new. I absolutely would use the Keystone Ski School for another lesson.
To read the adventure of skiing without instructors check out: http://adventuresbymom.com/keystone-adventure-novice-skier/
To read more about ski wear, check out https://theeducationaltourist.com/