Liftlines - Ski Mag

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Beginner Breakthrough

This is my second year skiing (I'm 48 years old), so I am always looking for information to improve my skills. The December issue offered great tips from Lito Tejada-Flores and other pros ("Get Better Now"). Lito's advice came to life when a friend loaned me the third video in a series on Breakthrough in Skiing. I went from skiing in a wedge to lifting one ski and allowing the weighted ski to carve. I still have a long way to go but Lito's video has boosted my confidence more than any lesson. Thanks for the helpful hints.

Donna Dyer

Galena, Ohio

Switzerland? Cheap?
Zermatt is indeed a charming town, and my husband and I have been there several times ("Setting the Standard," Ski Towns, January 2002). We lived in Europe for 18 years and skied all over Western Europe. We still go back every winter for a month or so. However, even when one U.S. dollar bought 2.45 Swiss francs, I would never describe the prices in Switzerland as reasonable. I would love to know where one can buy "a good sandwich, pizza or fondue for five bucks and a room for as little as $29 a night." In our experience, about all you can get for $5 is a plate of french fries. We love Switzerland and the skiing is great, but it's not cheap. Pricewise, Switzerland is the Aspen of Europe.
Mo and Sam Marks
Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Editor's note: Who says Zermatt is cheap? Certainly not us! But there are deals to be found¿even in Switzerland.

Above It All
Thanks for your great article on altitude sickness ("Altitude Angst," Healthy Skier, February 2002). Each year I make it out to Vail at least twice in the winter and once in the summer. Altitude sickness was never an issue, which is why I refused to admit that it might be the cause of my sickness this last visit. I thought I was "above" altitude sickness and kept insisting that I'd been out to Vail a bunch of times when I was stressed, overtired, dehydrated, out of shape, the works. I really wanted to blame it on food poisoning or something. But when I went down to Denver the next day, I felt so much better. So I have to admit that it was the altitude. Thanks for the tips. I'll know how to fend it off on my next visit.
Mark Tornga
New York, N.Y.

Breaking Away
I am on the U.S. Biathlon Team and Edie Thys' column "The Power of One" (Racer eX, January 2002) hit home for me. This spring I had to make that difficult move away from the national team. I joined up with a German who coaches the Swedes, Swiss and a few other independents. I was fortunate enough to receive some financial support from the U.S. Biathlon Association. Because it was an Olympic year, I was able to secure $20,000 from various corporate and private sponsors¿no match to Koznick's $280,000, but quite a sum for a biathlete. Some people were skeptical of my choice to change my coach and training method only 10 months before the Games, and rightfully so. Training was harder, and organizing travel and schedules was an added responsibility. Because most of my training was done alone, I took on another responsibility that had been holding me back: my mental approach. I was always sure of my choice, but your column made me feel even better.
Rachel Steer
Anchorage, Alaska

In Good Hands?
Thanks for the great article, "The Day-Care Dilemma" (Ski Family, January 2002). I have definitely had that internal debate, and with good reason. I was at a ski area not far from our house and put my youngest daughter in ski school. She was 4 at the time, and it was her first day on skis. Somehow she got on the lift with an intermediate group, and when she had to get off the lift, there was a big drop-off on either side of the ramp. She was terrified and fell. Fortunately, the instructor figured out what was going on and piggybacked her down the mountain. Meanwhile, my wife was in tears, knowing that oudaughter was missing from the beginner group. Granted, in the end, there was no disaster, but it was just a dose of the number of things that can go wrong when your back is turned. Thanks for the pointers and the insightful article.
Robert Huntington
Meredith, N.H.

Nothing Guaranteed
After reading your column on skimag.com about sporting success and life ("Meal Ticket," Racer eX, February 2002), I was impressed by the tone you set. I come from Ireland and have two sons, 8 and 10. This year was their second year skiing, and they took to it like ducks to water. I was wondering how you came to have such excitement for sport that comes through in your writing. I would love it if one of my boys decided they wanted to ski competitively, but then again it's probably me projecting some of my latent dreams on them, and Ireland is short on big mountains and snow. Given the pressure on sports stars and the money involved in sport, maybe you could write some articles about what makes a skier become a competitor and then a winner. And maybe some tips on how to set your kids on the right sporting path.
Damien Mc Conaghy
Via the Internet

It was interesting to read "Meal Ticket." I never considered that a professional skier would have such concerns about their future. I guess I always thought that once you're in the limelight, you're in demand for life. It adds new dimension to hear otherwise. Thanks for the insightful article.
Mandy McKenna
Pawling, N.Y.

Thank you for allowing former (or washed-up) racers to feel OK about themselves. Right now I am struggling to make the skiing lifestyle work with school and a job, and for some reason I can't put away the skis. In such an individual sport, which can be downright lonely and extremely frustrating, it is nice to know there are others who can stand back and put it in perspective.

I am not sure I will ever feel fulfilled in the sport until I actually become some kind of champion, but at least I can gain a more healthy perspective on what being a champion means.
Jonathan Smith
Salt Lake City, Utah

Recovered Yogaphobes
I am a former yogaphobe ("Yoga For Yogaphobes," Healthy Skier, January 2002). I eat red meat, pump iron (free-weights, not machines) and ski without a helmet¿unless my wife is with me. But that's another story.

Anyhow, two years ago my wife and mother-in-law somehow tricked me into trying yoga, and I've been hooked ever since. It is one of the most challenging and invigorating activities I've ever done. There's nothing like a downward-facing dog after a day of great skiing.
Mike Rubin
Huntington Woods, Mich.

I used to be addicted to running. I couldn't bring myself to go to the gym and I always thought running was the best way to stay fit. I also couldn't bring myself to go to exercise classes, because they intimidated me. After thousands of miles on the road, my knees are shot and so is my back. After naysaying my friend's suggestion of taking yoga, I finally conceded.

Two years later, I go to yoga five times a week and I have never been so strong, nor have my muscles ever been so defined. For those yogaphobes out there, I highly recommend you get over your fear and give it a try. It does wonders to strengthen those ski muscles.
Pamela McNamara
San Francisco, Calif.

Paradox
I enjoyed Warren Miller's column "My Father Hates You" (December 2001) very much. I've skied for 50 years, and I also have wonderful memories of this glorious sport. Like Warren, I identified with that total freedom and equality.But after reading the column, I turned to the advertisement for the Yellowstone Club and was shocked to see that Warren is the director of skiing there. It made me wonder what "equality" he was talking about in the article? It doesn't appear to be equality with the people who "sleep in the ski-area parking lot." The Yellowstone Club appears to promote exclusivity¿not equality. I'm disappointed. Should I consider his articles fiction?
Wendy Wendland
Renton, Wash.

Senseless Pity
"Swinging Chairs" (Ski Life, February 2002) made me smile. I don't look at lift ops with pity, but I know my parents do. I'm a ski instructor, and I love it when Wall Street weekend warriors come out to take private lessons with me. They come with uppity attitudes and they all think they're ripping skiers¿until I take them to my secret stashes. It's always interesting to see their attitudes soften as the day progresses. By the end of the it, they're inevitably envious of me and take great interest in my ski-bum life and my local knowledge of hot spots. Pity the fools that pity lift ops.
Brad Sullivan
Truckee, Calif.

All of that good living sounds great, aside from the fact that my daughter did the same thing. She dropped out of college to become a liftie at Taos. That was six years ago and she has no intention of finishing school. Nor does she have a dime to her name. She can barely pay her rent and can't find a job that will pay her bills. I hope that your article didn't inspire too many people to throw their futures away, because it's hard to get it back, especially in a ski town.
Megan Archer
Downingtown, Pa.Yellowstone Club appears to promote exclusivity¿not equality. I'm disappointed. Should I consider his articles fiction?
Wendy Wendland
Renton, Wash.

Senseless Pity
"Swinging Chairs" (Ski Life, February 2002) made me smile. I don't look at lift ops with pity, but I know my parents do. I'm a ski instructor, and I love it when Wall Street weekend warriors come out to take private lessons with me. They come with uppity attitudes and they all think they're ripping skiers¿until I take them to my secret stashes. It's always interesting to see their attitudes soften as the day progresses. By the end of the it, they're inevitably envious of me and take great interest in my ski-bum life and my local knowledge of hot spots. Pity the fools that pity lift ops.
Brad Sullivan
Truckee, Calif.

All of that good living sounds great, aside from the fact that my daughter did the same thing. She dropped out of college to become a liftie at Taos. That was six years ago and she has no intention of finishing school. Nor does she have a dime to her name. She can barely pay her rent and can't find a job that will pay her bills. I hope that your article didn't inspire too many people to throw their futures away, because it's hard to get it back, especially in a ski town.
Megan Archer
Downingtown, Pa.

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