Diversity, though, can hone our skill set.
Here at the Deerfield Valley News we love Eastern skiing. We love the valley! Sure, talk to pros in the ski school, at either Mount Snow or Stratton Mountain, and you will hear tales of pros who have skied in the West. From places in Utah to Colorado you will find many folks who ventured West. And returned. It’s true, In fact, I’ll confess, I too have lived in the West. But I choose to live in the East. And to ski in the East.
Years ago, sitting in a high alpine restaurant during the US Extreme competition, I listened as Kim Reichhelm, a two-time US Extreme Champion and former US Ski Team Racer, spoke about the challenge of mastering steep terrain. Reichhelm is a native of southern New England who honed her skills at the elite Stratton Mountain School before moving West. And while she now lives in the Rockies, I knew that her foundation was made here in the East.
Eastern skiers can stand tall. Snowmaking was first brought to this country in the East. The National Ski Patrol was founded in the East. Snowboarding was invented in the East. And, well, we’ll stop. Eastern contributions are legendary.
Yes, Mother Nature is fickle in the East. Snow changes rapidly. Temperatures change dramatically. Sunny days on the mountain are rare. But, at the same time, it’s that diversity which builds our skills. It makes us tough. It makes us appreciate powder. And sun.
Here, we savor Eastern skiing from the first run of each day to our last run. We believe that we can be proud of our Eastern heritage, and of those Eastern skiers who have shaped the very contours of the sport. It’s not surprising, actually, that so many elite racers have come from the East. Truly, Mount Snow and Stratton have produced a number of elite champions.
So, as you head out to the mountain take satisfaction in the fact that many top skiers learned to slice and carve solid, clean turns here on Eastern snow. Eastern experts know how to ride a high edge because Eastern racers need clean edging skills to win Eastern races. Top Eastern skiers know how to slice steep terrain, because Eastern expert terrain is often more challenging then Western terrain, which can be “softened” by Western snow.
The next time you are out on the mountain, watch the best skiers, Watch them race. Watch them free-ski. Look at how they slice and dice ice. Look at how they carve clean fast giant slalom turns. Watch them dance in powder. Observe their skills in crud or frozen granular. Eastern skiers, the best skiers at least, are marked by a range in skill often unmatched by skiers from other parts of the country.
Maybe the East Coast is the Right Coast.
Here in the mountains, if you have the right attitude, there is no bad day of skiing. After all, a bad day on the mountain is better than not being on the mountain. Sure, enjoy your travel. But, honestly, don’t forget to grin, smile, and even laugh as you ski. Eastern mountains are close. Accessible. And challenging. It may sound sentimental but it’s true.
Welcome to midwinter. In the coming weeks we hope that you will also delight in Eastern skiing. Okay. Dress appropriately. It is a winter sport! Keep your edges sharp. The snow can get hard. Keep your boards waxed. And smile. Know too, it will snow again. And if you are very lucky, you’ll catch great powder.
Until then, savor each day, from your first run to your last run.