COLUMN: Why do you ski?

What motivates you to get up early on the weekend and brave the elements? Is it the fresh snow, or the depth of the base at Whitewater?

Hi skiers. The last column was focused on preseason conditioning and this week we will look at our skiing raison d’etre.

Why do you ski? What motivates you to get up early on the weekend and brave the elements? Is it the fresh snow, or the depth of the base at Whitewater?

As you begin the season take your time and look a little deeper and see what is at the core of your inner skier.

I have a feeling that it goes deeper than the current snowpack and into the bedrock of your soul.

Find that place and focus on it and see if you can build on it this winter. See if you can be your own motivation rather than the current weather and snow pack.

Take your skiing to the mountain no matter what the mountain is bringing you.

When I look at the layers that make up the snowpack of my skiing experience, way down deep I see a carefree beginner being pulled by a T-bar.

I was full of anticipation while preparing to rocket down the hill with complete joy and independence. A pure skiing experience and I can’t tell you what the snow conditions were because I have no memory of them.

While we can’t turn back time, we can remind ourselves of the simple pleasure that is skiing and build on it. I will give you a few tools to help you make this the best ski season since your first one.

The first step is to set some challenging but attainable goals.

Is there a run that you have never skied that you dream of skiing?

Do you have a mental picture of how you would like to ski in your mind?

Do you wish that you could ski well no matter what the conditions?

Set a goal. Skiing is a journey so decide where you are going.

Step two is to access the resources that can help you to achieve your goal.

A ski lesson with the snow school?

Some ski race training for all ages with the Whitewater Ski Team?

A book on ski technique from the library?

A knowledgeable friend that wants to trade skiing tips for fresh baking?

Make a solid commitment to your learning process.

The third step is to get out and work on that new skill but keep it simple and attainable with expectations at a level that will leave you smiling.

Have your goals increase in difficulty as the base at Whitewater increases.

As your skiing skill improves so will your confidence and motivation, and along the way you may find that pure skiing pleasure again.

“What were the conditions like at the hill?”

Smiling, “Oh, I didn’t notice”.


— Dylan Henderson is the head coach of the Whitewater Ski Team. He is a  certified development level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. His goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.

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