Recently we posed this question to a few of our ski and snowboard instructors:
Will you share a story about your best day supporting a snowsports student?
Their replies, which we’ll post throughout the winter season, show that the word “lesson” really doesn’t do justice to the experience of snowsports instruction. Sure, the lesson is about learning or improving on skills, and that in itself is exciting. But as the instructors’ “best day” stories illustrate, a lesson can also be about fulfillment, exploration, challenge, independence, creativity, and friendship. And sometimes, that “best day” stretches into a season, or beyond.
Ski instructor Shawna Fatigate shares her “best day” story:
I met Matt, now a 9 year old, when he joined a level 4 group lesson on Morse. Matt quickly demonstrated that he was able to match his skis through most of the turn and with some extra one-on-one time he was skiing parallel on Snow Snake. I arranged with his mom to do a transition lesson so that Matt could take his new skills to Sterling and Madonna. During our chairlift rides, Matt wasn’t chatty so I took the liberty of giving him the chairlift tour, pointing out sights like Mount Mansfield, Lake Champlain, and Canada. I noted the blue sugaring lines, the number of chairs on the lift, and where the gladed trails were. Apparently, he listened to every word because, according to his mom, he repeated the whole story to his family that evening.
The following season, Matt became my ski buddy on his vacation. He had officially outskied his family and wanted to spend some time on Sterling and Madonna. With Matt, every day became an adventure and exploration of trails and terrain. We got a trail map and a highlighter and marked every piece of terrain we skied. By the end of the week we had tackled every open blue trail and a few sections of black terrain. Matt’s trail map was his trophy to hang on his wall at home.
My favorite part about skiing with Matt is that when we encounter tricky terrain or have a spill in deep snow he gives a “Whoa!” as if he were on a rollercoaster. He approaches everything new with a sense of wonder and excitement as if it was the best day ever even if he ends up eating a face full of snow. Matt reminds me that learning new skills is important, but the adventure and experience is ten times more valuable.
Learn more about Smugglers’ Snow Sport University learning programs. We guarantee that each member of your family will have fun, learn to ski or snowboard, or will improve technique, no matter what his or her current ability level — novice to expert — or we will refund the entire lesson portion of that person’s vacation package. The guarantee is a simple sign of our confidence that you’ll have your own best day on our mountain.