When I first told my boss that I was moving to a ski town, he said
"Really? I get bored after skiing for 5 days." I thought to myself, this
statement here and now personifies the main reason why I am moving to a
ski town. It represents the most common approach to the sport, that of
the typical 'big vacation' once or twice a season. This was the approach
that I was getting away from. As the season began, the benefits of my
new approach became apparent. Living in a ski town was definitely the
best way to experience the mountain.
The first way that this was apparent was in the quality of snow
conditions that I had the opportunity to ski. Skiers like my boss
probably planned their trip weeks or months in advance, which left the
quality of snow conditions to chance. When they arrived, they had no
choice but to ski the days that they had planned despite how good or bad
the snow was. If they wanted powder, they might as well have flipped a
coin when picking the dates.
The next way in which my experience differed for the better was in
regards to knowledge of terrain. Whereas skiers who planned only one or
two trips per season ended up sticking to the groomed trails for the
most part, I knew exactly where to go when the snow was good. Even on
the busiest days, the best lines were mine for the taking and not many
others were there to enjoy them with me. The only way I knew where to
ski was because I lived in the ski town and explored the mountain
endlessly. Also, living in town allowed me to meet local skiers who had
terrain knowledge based on years' worth of exploring. By the end of the
season, I knew the mountain very well and it paid off big time when the
snow was good.
One of the most important benefits of my new approach to skiing was my
significant skill level advancement. Skiing day after day changed
everything for the better. The more I improved my skill level, the more
fun I had. When you only ski a couple of five day trips per season like
my boss, this is something that cannot be experienced.
None of the above listed benefits give much of a different experience
without the final benefit I gained from living by the mountain; high
endurance. Whereas my boss and other skiers who only get a few days on
the mountain per season use their skiing muscles intermittently, my
strength built up daily. I treated the mountain as my gym, skiing
anywhere from one or two hours per day to eight hours per day. By
mid-season, I was able to ride from open to close even when the snow was
up to my waist. This is a huge advantage.
After the season came to a close, I had confirmed that my new approach
had brought me an entirely different experience than that of my boss. My
daily experience on the mountain had become so different than those
vacationing in the style of my boss that it was almost as if we weren't
on the same mountain. If you enjoy winter sports like so many others,
you owe it to yourself to do this at least once. The experience is
unforgettable and priceless.
About the Author
Jonny Ivers is an avid skier and South Lake Tahoe resident. When he is
not exploring terrain for new powder stashes, he is a contributing
writer for tahoelifttickets.net (a free information resource for finding
bargain Tahoe Lift Tickets, and the best rates for alpine meadows lift tickets and prices on sierra at tahoe lift tickets).