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Friday, 04 January 2013 20:39

Learn to Ski Platty Style... The New Bunny Slope. Featured

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The day I learned to ski it was 6 degrees in the Catskills. People kept telling us, the us being me and my husband and the other never-ever with us, to be careful of frostbite. How would we get it? We sidestepped up and down a hill for hours it seemed working up a sweat. I remember trying to turn and getting told off for not snowplowing. I’d skied once as a teen on long straight skis (a miserable week in VT where girls from my all-girls’ school in VA were on spring break). I recall one of those girls talking longingly of bumps and moguls, which I had no idea to be well bumps and moguls but thought perhaps rich people skiing too.

 platty learning area 1 sigh

So no more skiing for me for about the next 20 years till that freezing day in February. I didn’t learn at Plattekill. Hell, I didn’t even know Platty existed, but if I had, I would have learned off in a bit of Siberia, a long narrow run where the sun never shined and it took a long hike to get there. No more. Now you get to learn in the most central spot on the hill, which if you’re a kid (or cold) is great. Parents can ski and check in on their young’uns, both. If you’re say someone of the more adult age and need to get in for a cocoa, it’s easy. But the benefits here are not simply for hot chocolate (a keen motivator in my household) or for the ‘rents, but for the learners themselves. This new bunny slope officially called the “Beginners Learning Center” is wide and short. It has a rope tow. It gets sun. It’s not scary for new skiers. The former area was longer, narrower, harder for groups of beginners to navigate. Now the fence around the new area is pressed with parents videoing their kids and screams of "whee!" and "whoo!" spice the air. So too does the funny image of the occasional kid plunked down on the snow eating it…

new beginner area 3

But, there’s another difference here and the time I learned (that is the recent time I learned to ski): Plattekill does not encourage adult skiers to snowplow ever. Here you won't get told off for trying to do a parallel turn. It's encouraged. And, because the new area is less steep and much much wider, Jeff Crane, one of the ski school’s two directors, explains: “We are much better able to teach the basics of balance, edging, rotary movements of the legs in the hips and pressure with the more forgiving and wider terrain we have.”  

“When my dad taught me to ski," he says, "when I was a little kid growing up in Colorado, it was all about edges and weight transfer. Of course, those are still important. But with the equipment we have now – shorter, shaped skis –  turning is much more natural.  So now the philosophy is to get first timers into parallel turns in their first lesson – and that's much easier to do with our new beginner area.” He also adds that will all the nice soft fluffy snow we’ve had, “the conditions are forgiving and perfect to learn to ski."

Also this weekend it will be positively balmy at about freezing, far warmer than the 6 degrees when I learned…

in the new beginner area 2

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