Keystone Resort prides itself on more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, including three peaks, five bowls, a cat-skiing adventure, and night skiing. A day of ski lessons with an expert Keystone instructor therefore seemed like a great way to get to know the mountain better, and improve my skills. Mostly, I aimed to tackle steep slopes with more confidence. Mentally/logically, I know that I’ve been skiing long enough to conquer most of the mountain. But, sometimes I get nervous when I peer down a slope. My palms get sweaty, and I start imagining the worst-case scenario. So my main goal during ski lesson day was to get over such fears.
Our day of Keystone ski lessons started off without a hitch. The ski school assigned instructor Trent Norman to us. Trent is a former ski racer turned instructor, photographer, and consultant. I love the fact that he is a true Colorado native! Trent seemed well matched to me and my friend.
We both ski between a level 6-7 according to the resort’s Ski & Ride School. Since it was a semi-private ski lesson and we were ready before 9:00 a.m., we didn’t need to wait for any other students. Right away, we realized one of the advantages of ski lessons with an instructor: we hopped right to the front of the gondola line in the separate ski school entrance.
Morning Ski Lesson: Drills
We started the morning of ski lessons with a combination of skiing and commentary from Trent on some easy runs. We skied two runs with several stops on each. During the stops, Trent indicated what we were doing right and wrong. Since I am a visual learner, Trent made sure to demonstrate examples of what he was talking about so it would make sense to me. Then, we spent some time doing drills. We practiced a fun “tray table” drill during which we held our poles horizontal across our arms and pretended like they were trays full of hot chocolate spiked with kahlua. I noticed that my friend visibly improved his arm/pole position after doing that drill.
Next, we did a “broken wing” drill which was super challenging. Trent had us bend down and touch the top of our ski boot with the downhill hand while reaching the other arm up. If it sounds awkward, it was! It illustrated his comments about the importance of positioning during skiing and the physics of the sport. But, it was hard and awkward and I worked up an appetite, so it was soon time for lunch.
Afternoon Ski Lesson: Practice
Following lunch in the lodge, we hit the slopes again to put it all together. We enjoyed several hours of skiing and instruction during the bluebird afternoon. When my energy waned, Trent recommended that we start heading back. He mentioned that accidents usually happen when people are tired, so we didn’t want to risk it. We finished off the day of ski lessons reviewing what we had learned about pole position, using our edges, and being centered on our skis. As a type-A goal setter, of course I want to do another day of ski lessons so I can check off all of the skills that make a level 7 skier.
Parting, such sweet sorrow. . .
Overall, I was happy that we had the opportunity to spend time with Trent. I felt that my friend and I both benefited greatly from his pointers. I would definitely recommend a private ski lesson or guide to anyone who thrives on personal attention, or even who just wants to skip ahead of the long lines during the busy holiday season (and who can afford it).