A big part of my gig thus far has been taking people skiing. And it is also probably my favorite part. I know, I know, I wrote a few blogs ago about how skiing alone is almost spiritual for me – and it is! But there are few things that are as fun as skiing with a group. Yes, any group. From the definition of beginner, to the epitome of expert, I thoroughly enjoy it all. Of course, on an amazing powder day I would prefer to ski with individuals more inclined to partake in descents down Magic Lines as opposed to Harmony. But each group has it’s own charm. It is all about sharing with them my love for skiing, which is hopefully contagious. This sounds super cheesy, but my biggest goal is to help create and nurture life-long lovers of the mountains. If, after skiing with me, a person leaves wanting more – mission accomplished!
There are also few places where it is easier to connect than on a chairlift. There are no distractions. Just the breeze, the whirring of the lift, and your company to keep you entertained. I have met people that are writing a novel, starting their own business, and much more on chairlifts. I encourage everyone to buddy up with the fellow rider in front of them the next time they hustle into a lift line. Although you’re strangers, it is no mystery what you have in common.
Canyons gets a fair share of media folk that come to check out the mountain and amenities. The range in ability varies, but their enthusiasm does not. New Yorkers that get out maybe two times every few years are just as psyched, if not more so, to rip around than more seasoned snow sport devotees.
Julee of Real Simple Magazine and Gabrielle of Ladies’ Home Journal, both fresh off a plane from Manhattan, were out on an uncharacteristically cloudy day. That did not dampen their spirits though; we were laughing the whole time! They wanted to see as much of the mountain as possible and were cruising so well that our group actually had to split up so that the two gamers and I could take it down the slopes faster!
I took Harvey and Eleanor Williamson out last week and they could not have been more lovely. We laid down long arcs on Apex Ridge before checking in on their son in ski school and then heading to Iron Mountain. Eleanor kept to the groomers while Harvey bounced in and out of the trees whenever he could. Their kids were being taken care of and I was calling the shots on runs, so they could just sit back, or in this case lean forward, and enjoy the ride. It was so rewarding to see how much they enjoyed going out for a few care free hours.
I met Ted Carney from LA during Sundance. He ripped on a snowboard AND is an incredible screenwriter. We had some riveting conversations on the chairlifts, covering subjects so varied that they included existentialism and the virtue of a good corn dog. After showing him around Canyons, he offered to share his script with me. Here is the inside scoop: look out for “Better Than Love.” Comedies line my DVD shelf and it was definitely a drama, but I was wowed. It is going to be a smart, relevant, and beautiful film.
One of my favorite encounters was with Clint. Clint was all about skiing as much as possible during our three-hour stretch. The magazine he works for, Men’s Health, should be proud to call him a member of their staff. Motivated, ambitious and athletic, he was still a beginner. He told me he’d been skiing four times in his whole life! However, he was all about pushing his limits. Midway through our session he said he was ready to try moguls. In my mind maybe not the most informed decision, but I am not one to dash a young man’s hopes and dreams, so we headed to Déjà vu on Dream Peak. Because I count Clint as a friend, I will say that he had his fair share of falls. To his credit, he never once considered traversing out onto an easier run. At the very end, with an assuredly sore backside and a smile on his face, he linked together five awesome turns in the moguls. It was a huge achievement and he was super psyched!
I received an email from Clint a little while back and this is what he wrote verbatim: “When I left Canyons, I had such an itch to get back on the slopes that I scheduled a trip. I get to ski again next month!”