At 1 pm I headed down to the Willy Wisp Ski School. I found the instructors outside in an area sectioned off by orange tape. Groups for both skiers and snowboarders were arranged by level: beginner and intermediate/advanced. I approached the blue intermediate level flag where I received instructions to side step up a hill and ski down so that my abilities could be assessed. The majority of those in the intermediate group needed help making turns period. Whereas, Ricky, an 8-year-old from Loudoun County VA, and I needed advice enhancing our parallel skiing techniques.
Our instructor, John, who has been at Wisp for nine years, had the two of us on Odin’s Chute and Eye Opener (black diamond slopes) in no time. I use a newer pair of Head parabolic skis. John told me time and time again, “don’t lift your skis off the ground.” The hourglass shape in the new skis enables the user to simply slide one ski out in front of the other to start a turn. He also told me to angle my hands in such a way that I could physically see them at all times. I was a bit intimidated at this racing-like stance, but John had me follow him turn by turn until I was comfortable. Another advantage of taking a ski lesson during a busy holiday period is being able to jump the long lines. Thanks to John, I am on my way to skimming the slopes in parallel style.
Colleen Kenney is a senior at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, VA, where she writes for her school newspaper, The Visor.