by Jenny Cooper 4 months ago in activities

Ready for Winter!


"The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go…”

—John Muir

Sticking to getting something done today will be challenging. I have been staring at this quote on my screensaver for about 45 minutes now. The weather outside is cooling down, a bit drizzly to be honest, and my heart is screaming, “IT’S ALMOST TIME…” My brain interrupts, “Stop, concentrate, focus. You have work to do!”

Keep focused…

Impatiently my heart starts longing for the drizzly soft rain to turn in to white flakes of that magic stuff called SNOW! Daydreaming about the freedom I feel floating down the slopes, breaking through puffy mounds of powder… Ok let’s face it! It is almost time TO…


If you didn’t know…

Smiley and I are both PSIA-AASI Level 3 (they call that full cert) ski instructors. Smiley is also a certified snowboard instructor. Between the two of us we have about 50 years of snow sports teaching, training, and ski area experience. We have traveled to ski for work as well as for fun, well, it is all fun. Therefore, I always have skiing on my mind and in my heart!

Days, like today, when the weather is starting to cool down and there is a steady, drizzly, mist-like rain, I have a hard time keeping the day's priorities in line. Days, like today, are a tease, and hopefully a promise of crisp mornings in the mountains with the fluffy powder…

Well, there I go again…

Wanna go? This is the time of year to plan…

Regardless if this is your first time, or you take ski trips every year, this is the perfect time of year to plan your trip (I am writing this in August). You can get some good deals on some things, due to speculation on the season, and if you are trying to book in for the holidays or other busy times, reservations are the only way to make sure you will be able to do some things! Reservations are always recommended for ski school!

Smiley and I teach at Angel Fire, NM.

Do you need lessons?

The answer is YES!

Lessons are not just for the first time beginners and children! And for the sake of not ruining your trip, your relationships, or self, don’t let your friends, spouse, or anyone besides a certified instructor teach you.

Friends don’t let FRIENDS teach friends!

The type of lesson you should take depends on you and your groups needs. If you and your group, or family, has NEVER skied (or snowboarded) before, the best bang for your buck and time is an all day group lesson. This lesson, in most places, is a package deal including equipment, lessons, and lift tickets. This will get you a start on the basics. These lessons usually separate children and adults. Check with the ski schools web site for their children's programs. Angel Fire has a FANTASTIC Children's Program!

Group lessons are also available for all levels of skiers and can be a great way to get the trip off to a great start by taking a lesson to polish up your skills. These lessons are typically only a couple of hours. They will help you expand on your skills to feel more confident, warmed up, and able to explore more of the mountain. This is also a great way to meet other skiers! Skiing is a very social sport!

What about private lessons or a family lesson?

Private lessons are great for people that really know what they want to learn and do. These are great for individual attention. Private lessons are also great for two or three people in your group that are of similar abilities and age. When you are considering a semi-private, take ability, speed, and age into consideration. The instructor will usually teach to the lowest common denominator. For example what I like to call ‘Littles’ (3 or 4 years old and under) will not be able to learn with a 6-year-old. Developmentally the ‘little’ will be better off with one on one attention for maybe an hour. With ‘littles’ having a great experience, their ‘readiness’ to ski is the goal of the lesson. Be looking for more tips on skiing with kids in future posts.

For several reasons, some mentioned above, I do not recommend a family private. The only situation family members, adults and kids together, should take a private lesson with each other is to learn how to ski with your children. I call these ‘Mom and Me’ or ‘Dad and Me’ lessons. These only work if the parent already skis, maybe just took an upper level group lesson, and has their kids in the awesome kid's program and want to learn how to ski with their kids for the best slope experiences.

Private lessons also give you the ability to request your instructor! JUST SAYIN’. (Jenny Cooper and Mark ‘Smiley’ Lively) Hint Hint…

When and where?

Are you getting excited yet?

Right, I know that once you get bit by the skiing bug, the thrill of being on the mountains start to call you and…


You can’t wait to be on the snow!

When taking into consideration when and where you want to go skiing think about these things:

  • Who is going? Hardcore skiers? Family? Ski Bunnies? Non-skiers?
  • How are you going to get there?
  • Where are you going to stay?

Let’s Start with 'who?’

It’s okay if everyone in your group doesn’t have the same idea of a great winter ski trip. It's even okay if skiing isn’t part of their dream trip. The great thing about ski resorts is that they can have something for everyone and have their own uniqueness that draws different people. So be honest with yourself when choosing where to go so that everyone will have choices of what they want.

Do your research on other activities available at the resorts or the town you are staying in. If you are traveling with family, you might consider checking out VRBO and getting a house or condo. Homes are usually more comfortable for Smiley and I due to we like having a kitchen and not having to eat out as much! I love to cook!

Got Chains?

Once you have figured out the right resort…

How are you going to get there?

Are you staying at the resort or are you staying in a near by town? Are you flying in or driving?

Basically make sure you are prepared for well... Snow!

Thank you for reading… and as always feel free to comment and share this post. I know it was a bit of rambling, I'm just daydreaming about winter!

Jenny Cooper
Jenny Cooper
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