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A Guide to Skiing

By Albert Gao


It’s been a long week of tedious analysis essays, math you will probably never actually use, and an endless supply of homework. You sit down at your desk, finding yourself pulling out your homework on this nice Saturday morning, ready to continue the perpetual cycle of pain. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see a spec of white. Then another. Then another. As snow starts pouring from the sky, you realize it is winter again.

It is that time of year again- the best time of the year. In mid-late December, several nearby ski resorts will be opening including Liberty Mountain and Whitetail. Although skiing can seem daunting, there are many ways to maximize your experience.

After you have equipped the required helmet, boots, and skis from the rental, it is recommended that starters use optional ski poles. To determine the appropriate length, bend your arms at a 90 degree angle and set the ski poles perpendicular to the ground. If they are, it is the right size. Ski poles are essentially weights that help with balance, so having a pole too long or too short defeats its purpose.

The outcome of your ski trip is only determined by the control of the skis. To prevent being hijacked by them, lean forward in your boots and bend your knees. In addition, refrain from becoming a menace to other guests by skiing slowly. Remember:“Ski fast, lose pass”. For beginners, the main method of decelerating is by “pizza-ing”. By pointing the tips of the skis towards each other, you make a triangle (or pizza, hence the name).

Although, pizzaing is reliable, it may take but a few trips before you find it boring and dull. This is when learning to turn starts. Turning is a way of deceleration where you ski in a “S” pattern. Tilting right, towards the mountain, turns you right and tilting left, towards the mountain, makes you turn left. The skis should constantly be parallel. Just be vigilant of trees and rocks on the sides of the trail.

In terms of safety, most of what happens is completely under your control. For the first few trips, stay on green trails and, perhaps, blue trails when you are comfortable. If you do decide to go on terrain parks or any black diamonds, rest assured that there is probably an ambulance waiting below. When turning, always check if there are skiers descending from above.

Finally, the most important tip for a successful ski trip is bringing companions. Not only are the ski lifts abysmally slow, getting squished with three other strangers leads to some very quiet and awkward conversations. Meanwhile, with friends, time on the ski lift is perfect for chatting and hanging out. Zipping down the mountainside and racing friends on trails are some of the best winter experiences you could possibly have. Winters will never be bland again!

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