Skiing: How to Learn to Fly

Photo courtesy of Michelle Fredrickson

If you want to learn to fly, learn to ski. For me, nothing could possibly be more fun than that sensation; flying down a mountain with snow everywhere, the wind in my hair and the powder beneath my skis. I’ve been skiing for 13 years and I’m never going to get tired of it.

My dad is my ski instructor and my ski buddy – we go up to Crystal Mountain together every weekend during ski season. He taught me to ski when I was 4 years old; I remember making big pizza wedges with my skis to slow down and a couple embarrassing crashes into lift poles. But that started a passion for the mountains that’s going to last me forever. Now I’m seventeen, the pizza wedges are gone, and I’m a double-black diamond backcountry powder skier. For me, every winter is about chasing down the untracked snow.

There are a lot of reasons why skiing is my favorite sport – the only sport I like, actually. For one thing, it’s not a team sport – I can enjoy it just as much solo as I can with other people. For another, it’s fast. Flying down the hill is the most amazing feeling in the world. I think my favorite thing about it is how rewarding it is, though; you have to work for it, but the end it’s totally worth it. To ski the best powder snow, it takes the longest climb. The snow on The Silver King at Crystal Mountain is the best, deepest, and most fluffy snow on the mountain, but it’s an hour’s hike. Nevertheless, those ten minutes on that hill makes the hike absolutely worth it.

This is true physically and psychologically as well: no one starts out skiing the hard stuff- I was terrified of powder until I was 15. It takes practice to get over the fear and experience the run. Powder runs are scary because they are very, very steep, but once you push off and start going, the sensation of flying is absolutely incredible. A lot of people in my generation prefer snowboarding to skiing; I respect your opinion and consider you all my friends in snow, since we all share the mountain, but I personally believe that skiing is better than snowboarding. When you ski, you have poles; the poles help you balance, steer, and speed up. I can go way faster than any of my snowboarding friends – because of my awesome skis and the fact that I can push with my arms as well.

Skiing, you can use your edges to cut into the hill to slow down or stop. Snowboarders skid to a stop, scraping all the snow away, and then sit down. Not only does that create moguls but it’s also really, really cold. It’s also much harder to balance on snowboards- skiing is more fun because you can use both your feet, and you retain much more control. Don’t worry, I’m not just saying this; I’ve done both and I am firmly in the skiing camp.

Not just the skiing camp: the POWDER skiing camp. I don’t think there’s anything more fun than skiing across feet of freshly fallen powder; the sensation is completely indescribably amazing. Turning, spraying powder snow everywhere – it doesn’t get any better. Skiing on the groomed or in the mogul fields just can’t compare.

So, as a cradle skier, I can honestly say that in my opinion, skiing – especially powder skiing – is simply the best sport ever. I’ll see you on the mountain!