Yesterday I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to a high of 18 degrees, with snow and temps predicted to fall to the single digits. It was tempting to stay inside and build a fire, but instead I went through my skiing-in-extreme-cold-weather ritual. I donned multiple layers which made me feel like the Michelin Man, grabbed my boots, skis, poles, gloves, balaclava, neck gator, ski pass, and goggles, and instead of walking out my back door to ski on Snowmass mountain, made the drive through the snow to Ajax Mountain.
One of the best kept secrets in the Aspen/Snowmass area if you’re staying for the season is the ability to attend Locals’ Clinics, about 35 different clinics held throughout the four mountain area (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk or Snowmass). If you’re here for vacation, and purchase a regular adult group lesson, it will cost you either $139 or $149 per day, depending on when you purchase. But if you have a season’s pass, you can buy unlimited local’s clinics for $111…total! If you did every local’s clinic (23, since some days have multiple clinics), that would end up costing you less than $5 per clinic!!
Some clinics don’t interest me, like the Park and Pipe clinic, but other than that, I hope to do as many as possible this year. Last year we didn’t find out about them until February, so we missed out on a few, but it was still awesome. If you learned to ski in the 70’s, like I did, EVERYTHING has changed. Skis have come so far, and the technique to ski on different skis, as well as different terrain, has changed as well. When we were only able to ski once or twice a year, all I wanted to do was be on the mountain, so other than one or two private lessons, I never learned anything new. So I just kept doing things the old way. I thought I was a good skier, until I met the folks in these lessons. People who have lived here for many years, even ex-ski instructors show up for the clinics. It’s nice to be able to do a double black expedition clinic, or a highlands bowl clinic, and be able to venture into some extreme territory with an instructor who knows the area and knows how to show you around.
It’s really a great thing, especially as a new local. Every time I take a lesson, not only do I learn something new, but I meet so many great people. Yesterday was “Bumps and Steeps”, and although I ended up with an instructor that didn’t take us on bumps until right before lunch, so we didn’t get as much instruction as I would have liked, I learned a couple things and best of all, I met a woman who started Action for Afghan Women, a program to empower Afghan women. I love being unexpectedly inspired! Check out her website, it’s truly impressive