Never Too Old (or proud) For Ski Lessons

   I’ve always been a downhill and backcountry skier. Skinning up a slope to hold true to the saying, “earn your turn”. Once at the top I’d enjoy the view, take off the skins, and then point my tips downhill, letting gravity do most of the work. My husband grew up skiing both downhill and XC, but has spent most of his time enjoying the freedom that backcountry and telemark skiing provides. I grew up doing neither until my Sophomore year when friends, who I thought cared about me :o), took my straight to the top at Alyeska! 

   This past October my eldest son joined the Palmer High Nordic Ski team. Since then a few of us in my family have quickly become enamored with XC skiing and are slowly gathering the gear needed for both classic and skate skiing. At the time of writing I personally have nothing since I sold off my older classic gear to fund my High Schooler’s Nordic dreams, but I’m on the lookout (yeah Craigslist). Now I know I posted a few months ago about the joys of snowshoeing, how my family had tried XC skiing and it was just too much for my toddlers, creating miserable family outings. Fast forward 7 years and my youngest is almost 10 and we are ready to try XC again.

   Ever since ski season began and once we got enough snow, I’ve been driving two of my kids up to Archangel Valley road and Government Peak Rec. Area so they could ski on weekends and days off. I’d tromp along the groomed trail (never in the grooves!) and simple enjoy a nice stroll whilst the skiers floated past me. “Whatever,” I thought to myself, “I’m happy walking”. But those sentiments didn’t last long and I soon found myself longingly watching the skiers and wishing I was on skis too, specifically skate skis. Then my wonderful friend Ella, loaned me her skate set up! I picked my High Schooler’s brain for beginner technique, watched a few YouTube videos, and hit the trail. I’ve always been very athletic and so I figured skate skiing would be easy, the people on the trails make it look easy. I was wrong. There is definitely a right way to do it. Enter SKI LESSONS!

   Did you know that our local MatSu Ski Club offers classic and skate ski lessons for adults of all skill levels? After my DIY skate ski session I came away a little discouraged as to my “skill” level, or should I say lack of skill level. I went to the MatSu Ski Club lesson held at Archangel on January 7th and came away vastly improved and totally encouraged! The class was taught by a super knowledgeable teacher Mark Stigar, who was patient and kind, and with just a few tips and tricks has me moving forward. Also a shout out to Daryl Farrens who is the fabulous classic ski coach. By the end of class with Mark I was working on my V1, V2, and V2 alternate pole techniques. Now THAT’s progress because of good instructing. And, get this, at 36 years old I was the youngest student there!

   Check out the info and links below. I encourage you to take advantage of this great resource our local XC ski experts are providing. And here are a few reasons why lessons are a good idea for any skill level...
  1. XC skiing is very technical, there is always something to learn, work on, and perfect.
  2. It's better to learn correct technique the first time. Remember "practice makes permanent, not perfect". It's hard to relearn bad ski habits.
  3. Skiers on the trails make it look easy, but if you don’t know how to transfer your weight properly you will get frustrated very quickly.
  4. Having a knowledgeable coach watch you and correct technique mistakes is invaluable.
  5. Knowing the proper technique you can go farther, faster, and be less prone to injury. 

   As for me, I have resigned myself to the fact that for the rest of the ski season my entryway will look like the staging area for a ski race with skis, boots, poles strewn everywhere. I don’t mind though. The beautiful mess means my family is being healthy and active, able to THRIVE OUTSIDE this winter.

MatSu Ski Club Adult Ski Lessons. This link explains costs. Be sure to go to the website homepage to view the events calendar for up to date ski lesson locations and times.

MatSu Ski Club Junior Nordic program for kids (registration closed for this season)

Anchorage Nordic Adult Ski Lessons

Fairbanks Adult Ski Lessons
Fairbanks Nordic Ski Lessons

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