The best time ever to discover snowsports is now

 Courtesy of Karen D. Lorentz

A Killington Resort instructor leads a Learn to Ride class, as participants stand atop their snowboards. Killington offers lessons for skiing and snowboarding.

By Karen D. Lorentz

When it comes to winter sports that exude excitement and exhilaration, alpine snow sports are without equal. In what other winter activity can a family, or group of friends, participate for an entire day, weekend, or weeklong vacation and still wish for more?

The excitement is apparent to anyone who has seen eye-popping footage on television or watched the Winter Olympics. Being on the edge—as in, “thrill of victory or the agony of defeat”— makes for ooohhs and aaahhs as someone takes a jump, wins a race, sails out over the halfpipe, or tumbles out of control.

For skiers and snowboarders, the thrills and occasional spills are well known. Most of us, serious competitor and recreational skier alike, have taken our share of falls. But we’ve also enjoyed the thrills of a medal won in a competition and the sense of accomplishment that comes from mastering a challenging run, whether the steeps, bumps, or a freestyle event.

There’s an added exhilaration that comes from being in incredible surroundings. There are wondrous views from atop a mountain and the awesomeness of being in the magnificent outdoors. When you experience the beauty of fresh snow or rime ice coating the trees, you get to enjoy Nature at her best. There’s nothing like experiencing softly falling flakes while someone up there shakes out her dust mop!

But there’s more. There’s the excitement of discovery—of new places and “new tricks” and of getting away from everyday routines and pressures of work and responsibilities. Such experiences rejuvenate and elevate the human spirit, making life more fun in the process.

There are also the physical benefits from getting healthy outdoor exercise, which releases those “I feel good” endorphins. There’s the sense of individual mastery that comes from “getting good” at a challenging sport, whether “good” means one’s first trip to the mountain top or being graceful, fast, or outrageous in the pipe or park.

What may be the biggest benefit, however, is that skiing offers the advantage of connecting. It is a way to meet people and make friends. It is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities as well as by family members and friends. At its best, it provides a common interest—a tie that binds.

This is especially significant today, when we lack the time to really connect with our fellow human beings. Just traveling together to a ski area can provide some quality time for conversation. Skiing brings people together for hours versus the few-minute conversations so typical of today’s virtual reality.

ABC’s for first-timers

Whether learning to ski or snowboard is something you personally always wanted to do or whether your friends or family want you to learn so you can join them, there are some things you can do to make your experience more enjoyable. One is to go online and learn about the sport and area you will visit. If you’re learning at Killington or Pico, you will see that .

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