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Keystone, Colorado, Dec. 13, 2001–Olympians Phil and Steve Mahre will return to Keystone this year for their 17th season of Mahre Training Centers. Over the years, the brothers and dozens of instructors at the Keystone Ski School have created a program that helps skiers of all ability levels learn to ski better.
The training centers have a high return rate according to the Keystone’s Ski School Director Chris Heidebrecht: what makes the program so popular is the effectiveness of its “concepts and methods–they are simple enough for attendees to use and repeat even after the program is over.” And Chris ought to know–sixteen years ago he was a participant in the Mahre Training Center. Since then he has been an instructor and even the director of the program.
Most unique about the Mahre Training Center compared to other professional skier clinics is that attendees get to spend quality time and get personalized instruction from the Mahre brothers themselves. After the Mahres finished their World Cup and Olympic careers they could have easily started coaching junior racers, but as Steve explains, “We decided on a program like this because we can give more back to the sport. With the Mahre Training Center we can reach more people than just junior racers.”
As a cornerstone of the program, all attendees spend some time running gates. They do not expect the people who come to their program to start winning masters events when they return home, but by running gates a skier is forced to turn when he might not want to. Skiing in gates improves a skier’s confidence level and the higher their confidence level the less likely they are to fall back to old habits.
Steve related that “students can learn a lot in three days but we want to make sure they don’t return to bad habits once they leave.” As one attendee said, “My confidence level is increasing. I’m skiing stuff I would have never skied before–I’ve never done gates, but I’m having fun and I see it helping with all of my skiing. Students do actually get to “see” themselves ski because every day’s instruction includes video analysis.
Also important to the program is making sure that students are on the right equipment. That?s why participants hear a lecture from SKIING Magazine’s Technical Editor Jim “Jimbo” Deines on the first night. Jimbo gives the participants of the Mahre training center tips on equipment purchasing and explains the importance of shaped skis and custom foot beds. Jimbo owns Precision Ski which is conveniently located at Keystone’s River Run Base Area. Attendees of the Mahre Training center get 20% off service and can purchase custom foot beds for $80 at his shop. The remaining dates for the Mahre Training Center at Keystone this year are Dec. 15-17 and Jan. 25-27.
In addition to the Mahre Training Centers, Keystone is starting a new program that is designed to take the hassle–and aggravation–out of learning to ski. The Learn-to-Ski packages include four nights of lodging at the Keystone Lodge, three full days of skiing with lessons and an instructor to guide participants (and hold their hand if need be) through the entire program. The instructors will meet the attendees on the night of their arrival so that they can get acquainted. Many people who have never skied before do not always know what kind or size of equipment to rent, so Keystone instructors go with them to the rental shop and make sure they get fitted properly the first night. Of this program Chris Heidebrecht said “If you want to learn how to ski, but you’re afraid of the hassle, this is the program for you.”
With a low skier to attendee ratio of five to one, this program is sure to be as successful as the Mahre brothers’ program. The remaining Learn-to-Ski dates this season are Jan. 3-6. During those same dates Keystone also plans to host a Learn-to-Ride program.
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