Tom Martorelli, veteran Road Scholar participant, photographer, and blogger extraordinaire, is back to live-blog his seventh learning adventure! This time, he’s taking to the pristine slopes of Park City Mountain Resort with a group of fellow skiing enthusiasts as he masters his techniques by day, attends the Sundance Festival by night and learns about the history and culture of Park City in between. Below is his first post from the program. Click this link to check out his other amazing entries and photos!
Nothing But Slopes
By Tom Martorelli
(Park City, Utah, January 21, 2013) This morning, after breakfast, twenty-seven Road Scholar participants skied out the door and onto Park City Mountain Resort for the first day of skiing, and – in the case of those on the Ski University Program – the first day of lessons. We spent the morning with instructor Howard Gravel and the five most advanced skiers in our group, and the afternoon with Jim Wilson and his two students. While they are all great on four edges, as they like to say, they are also some of the funniest and most welcoming people you’ll ever meet.
A sample of our lifelong learning lessons of the day included how to “pedal” down the mountain, which shoulder to drop and when, skiing on the balls of your feet – and to always keep your belly button facing downhill. Howard summed it up this way, “If your body tells you to do something it absolutely believes you have to do to survive, do the opposite.” Park City has several historic silver mine structures on the sides of its slopes, but today we saw them as different kinds of landmarks. This afternoon, Jim told us to practice turning without poles down the hill until we came to the old ore chute on the right. It was that kind of a day – one focused on learning and improving our skills on skis.
And it was a blast. Old friends teased each other about techniques that would make anyone proud. Rookies like yours truly were encouraged to have fun practicing movements that seemed “wrong” at first. Face plants were few, but they were celebrated with laughs and endless remembrances of similar moments from participants and instructors alike. We ended the day with runs down slopes that seemed impossible just hours before, feeling more like the skiers we want to be, putting together at least half a dozen new tips into a new kind of downhill grace. The new combination of speed and control felt terrific. Or, as Howard put it, “Skiing is a thinking person’s game. That’s why I love teaching it to Road Scholar participants.”
So much more to come! Our Road Scholar program leaders, Gary and Sandy Nielsen, have a full slate of activities ready for us, including more ski lessons, tickets to some of this year’s Sundance Film Festival movies, and even a “ghost tour” of Park City. In their introductions, they noted that so far, participants on their programs have produced many returning Road Scholar participants, dozens of new friendships, and even three marriages!
It all sounds like a great reason to get up early tomorrow for breakfast and a ride up the lifts. They say that some of the lifts were once aerial trams used for hauling ore. Here’s hoping the rust is history.
To read my other entries, click here!