Learning to ski or ride | AspenTimes.com

Learning to ski or ride

Kent Roberg

You’ve got your winter vacation planned. The plane, hotel and lift tickets reserved, the bags are packed the kids are crawling with anticipation over the trip to Aspen. The only thing which worries you is the lessons.

Being a novice in the land of the expert can be pretty intimidating. Here are a few tips from the land of giants to help take away some of the edge of finding the right gear for you and your family.

First and foremost, be honest with your ski tech about your experience and ability level.

“The biggest challenge is outfitting a customer without a perception of their ability,” says Mark Bassett, owner of Incline Sports in Aspen and Snowmass. Yes, we all want to look cool on and off the mountain. But using equipment with performance and response you can’t begin to control just increases the risk of injury and goes a long way to ensuring a terrible day on the mountain.

Terrain also influences the type of performance you can expect from your equipment. Let your ski tech know what kind of terrain you and your family plan on riding so they can set you up with the proper equipment.

Mark has seen a change in the education level of his customers. “The average skier is more educated than 10 years ago,” he said in a recent phone interview. He attributes much of the increase to the internet.

Comfort level should be the most important factor when choosing equipment. Ski boots

have changed dramatically. They have become more comfortable and durable, an increase largely due to advancements in thermal molding. According to Mark, “Custom boot fitting is an art and a science.” Mark recommends boots as the first purchase for a new skier.

Don’t be offended when the guy in the rental shop tries to set you up with a shorter than you might like ski’s for that first lesson. Adults are riding ski’s significantly shorter than the days of old. As short as 110-130 cm for begginers. The average skier rides ski’s in the range from 160 to 200 cm. Previous to the development of the Adult Learning Ski, as these short newcomers have come to be called, the shortest adult ski was 140 cm. The Adult Learning Ski is the secret weapon of the Beginner Magic program.

Now you’ve got your gear fit properly and you’re ready to go-it’s time for Beginner Magic.

The Beginner Magic Program offered through the Aspen Ski Company takes a revolutionary approach to teaching.

Out the window is the snowplow and pizza school of thought. Rotary skills are taught instantly. A beginner can expect to be making parallel turns within a few hours.

For more information on rental equipment and lessons contact Incline Sports at 970.925.7748 or the Aspen Ski Company at http://www.aspensnowmass.com