Making “a turn for the worse?”

Feb. 11, 2019

Making “a turn for the worse?”

Does your first run for the day feel wobbly, like your first run for the season, or worse like your first run ever? I heard a couple guys on the chair say that recently and it got me thinking about my own turns and how I could make a “turn for the better” even on my first run.
For the first half of my life I skied in the northeast where the surface was often……….more firm. In those days and on those conditions we skied all-in on our downhill foot. If there was a way to magically remove my uphill ski on every turn I would still be a very happy skier. But there is such a thing as “getting off on the wrong foot”.
Now I know I want to get off on the right foot, which could be the left foot, just not the foot I’ve always started with. We all want to put our”best foot forward”, right? Got it now? I’ve learned that while I want to ski simultaneously with both feet, I do that better if I start with my uphill ski. Crazy I know, but it’s true.
I have three ways to think about making any of this happen. One works best for me, but you never know which might work best for you.

1) If I start my turn thinking about tipping my uphill ski uphill and putting my pinky toe- the outside-uphill edge of the uphill ski, into the snow.
2) If while tipping that uphill ski uphill, I picture pulling that knee uphill
3) …and this one you can practice anytime you want..I think about the motion I would make to get my uphill hip onto an imaginary bar stool.

All three of these movements get me to engage that uphill ski and with even a little bit of pressure/or weight, this helps make me tip and engage that downhill ski as well. I need to take care that I’m not just leaning my whole body uphill. If I did that everything would slip away like sliding in to home plate, and in this case that wouldn’t be “safe.” All this uphill action happens from the hips down, or more accurately, from my feet up to my hips. My upper body still needs be focused on charging down the hill.
When I am successful in engaging both skis in the start of my turn I edge my ski better and am in a better position to steer both skis. I don’t get into that awkward situation in cut-up snow where one ski feels like it wants to take its own path away from the other, ”the road less traveled.” Skiing on both skis, (what a concept), is better for my accuracy, it makes for better balance, is safer and easier. Who knew?
Sometimes that first run feels like it’s an “uphill battle” but when you get it right, “it’s all downhill from here.” If someone watches my run and says, “Man, she’s going downhill fast”, I’ll take it as a compliment. We all want to be “headed in the right direction” and after all, in life and skiing…”It is a slippery slope!”


Author: Janet Lawrence, of the Vail Ski and Snowboard School. Janet grew up skiing in Upstate New York and came to Vail in 1997. She has been working in the Vail Ski and Snowboard School since, first as an instructor then a Trainer and a  Supervisor in the Golden Peak Children’s School. In the off- season she sails and bikes and works with children at an outdoor day camp

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Vail’s LEGENDARY Back Bowls? Are they really?

Jan. 17, 2019

I’ve been here too long to be a good judge anymore. I’m still ‘wow’d, and already love this mountain so I’m a tad biased. I had an opportunity to see Vail through someone else’s eyes this week and it was telling to be sure.
As a member of PSIA, (Professional Ski Instructors of America), we all do some continuing education. So this week I participated in an “All Mountain Skiing” clinic for a couple days with one of the PSIA Examiners. We’ll call her “Amy”, to protect the innocent. For while she is very experienced and has skied all over the world, teaching in both hemispheres, she was an innocent when it came to Vail’s Back Bowls. She had been to Vail many times, but as an Examiner, facilitating instructor’s certification exams and making use of only the front side of Vail. She was excited to deliver this “All Mountain” clinic as she had heard an annoying amount of raving about the “Legendary” Back Bowls and wanted to see more of it for herself.
Those of us in the clinic who call Vail our home- mountain were more than happy to take her out back to give her a glimpse. Due to the clinic’s agenda, we only got to show her a fraction of the “back” but as we pointed out the wall of amazing slope that is “Genghis Khan” and explained that it was not the same amazing wall as the Sun Up Bowl we had skied prior, she turned and said, “I get it now!” She’d thought the hype was overblown, but now could see she was….wrong. Have to say, it felt good to to show an “Examiner” something! “Amy” realized she needs to come back and do some major exploration. The vastness of even one bowl was impressive and as she realized that miracle stretched out across 7 bowls and nearly 7 miles, she was ‘wow’d’ too!

The Back Bowls of Vail in one sense are a very big secret, as you can’t see them from town or the highway as you drive through the Vail valley. They have to be seen to be believed and they have to be skied to begin to comprehend them.

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5 Most Unique Places to Stay in Vail

Jan. 4, 2019

January 4, 2018

Whether you’re planning a last minute mountain escape with friends, or a mid-winter getaway for the whole family, explore premier lodging in Vail. From ski-in, ski-out hotels, to premium residences and international resorts, the lodging opportunities in Vail are endless. To help you plan your winter getaway, we’ve put together a list of the 5 most unique places to stay in Vail.

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Enhanced Snowmaking to transform the early-season terrain experience at Vail, Keystone and Beaver Creek

Dec. 7, 2018

December 7, 2018


Proposed plans to invest in state-of-the-art, energy-efficient Snowmaking technology and infrastructure upgrades will help to drive an earlier, more predictable opening date, high-quality conditions during the early-season across Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone. These plans are subject to U.S. Forest Service approval.

Vail Mountain is currently seeking approvals to upgrade and expand its snowmaking system, moving opening up a week and ensuring a pre-Thanksgiving opening each year, as well as enhancing the terrain consistency during the early season with more beginner and intermediate terrain available earlier. The proposed plan entails expanding snowmaking infrastructure on the upper mountain in the Mid-Vail area in order to open the Mountain Top Express Lift (#4) first with access via Gondola One, followed by the Avanti Express Lift (#2) for access out of and back to both Lionshead and Vail Village.

“The ability to expand snowmaking infrastructure in areas of Vail Mountain with higher elevations, colder temperatures and connectivity to areas that typically hold good natural snow would be transformational for the early-season experience for skiers and snowboarders, even in years where conditions are less favorable than we’ve seen across Colorado this season,” said Pat Campbell, president of Vail Resorts’ mountain division.”

Read More Here.

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Vail Mountain Opens Blue Sky Basin

Nov. 29, 2018

November 29, 2018

Resort Boasts Most Open Terrain in North America with More Than 4,200 Skiable Acres

After receiving an additional four inches of snow overnight and more in the forecast through the weekend, Vail Mountain opened Blue Sky Basin today. This is the second-earliest opening for Blue Sky Basin in history, behind only the Nov. 25, 2002 opening. Vail is now offering 4,200 skiable acres of terrain, the most currently open in North America.

“There is no doubt that Vail is the place to be for the holidays. We have almost 80 percent of the resort’s terrain open, and it is still November,” said Doug Lovell, Vail chief operating officer. “This is the strongest start to a season that we’ve seen in decades, and it is only looking to improve with more snow expected over the weekend. This is going to be a legendary season.”

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Ready. Set. Snow: Vail Mountain Early Season

Nov. 20, 2018

The off-season slumber is finally over, there’s no time to hold back. It’s time to jump into mountain mode! From now until Snow Days (Dec 13-16) the first days at Vail are non-stop action. Don’t hit snooze when it comes to starting your ski season. Get out here and enjoy top-to-bottom skiing and riding at a place Like Nothing on Earth. Are you ready?! Be bold, hit first chair and get first row. Ready.Set.Snow. 

Learn more about early season lodging offers, events, activations and deals! HIT FIRST CHAIR.

Scans for Cans: Make turns for good this Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22, Epic Pass holders can give back to the community while they ski or snowboard. For each Epic Pass scanned at either Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek Resort this Thanksgiving, Vail, Beaver Creek, and EpicPromise will donate one canned food item on the pass holder’s behalf to the Vail Valley Salvation Army.

10 Days of Epic
To celebrate 10 years of the Epic Pass, Vail Mountain will offer 10 days of specials on Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 16 through Dec. 16. Some specials include complimentary fries with the purchase of an Epic Burger; 50 percent off ski school group lessons; après at Express Lift Bar featuring $3 drink specials; and 20 percent off Epic Mountain Express rides to and from Vail. Additional details are available at

Vail Snow Days
Vail Snow Days is back Thursday, December 13 through Sunday, December 16, 2018, with two nights of free concerts presented by Bud Light. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Shakey Graves headline with openers Wildermiss and The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duanne Betts.

Take a snow day at Vail as this four-day festival gets underway Thursday with the Pray for Snow Kick Off Party and Bonfire on Thursday, Festival Village all weekend and Bluegrass and Bloodies on Sunday.

Looking to purchase Private Reserve VIP tickets and learn about lodging deals? Learn more at

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Vail Mountain to Expand Terrain to 900 Skiable Acres

Nov. 20, 2018


Photo By: Ric Moreno Contro

November 15, 2018
Following an early opening for the 2018-2019 ski and snowboard season, Vail Mountain will expand its open terrain to more than 900 skiable acres on Saturday, Nov. 17. The resort will begin operating Northwoods Express (#11) and Sourdough Express (#14), with more than 300 acres of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain accessible via those chairlifts. Two Elk restaurant will also open for the season with limited service.

“Vail has received 52” of natural snow so far this season. By comparison, it was early January of last season before we had this much. It has been an incredible start and is setting the tone for what’s to come,” said Doug Lovell, Vail chief operating officer. “Our mountain operations teams continue to work hard to open as much terrain as possible, and we anticipate opening even more in the coming week.”

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