These Powder Lessons Give SkiMums a Healthy Glow

By SkiMum Paula

Classic Tram Close

Recent storms cleared the valley air and brought great snow to Snowbird.  Unfortunately, after snowplowing behind the kiddos since Ross loved Rachel[1], most Skimums were a bit timid to take on the Bird’s renowned deep powder.  So, we did what smart girls do – we asked for directions.

On a Monday following a monster dump, the Mountain School provided the Skimums a powder lesson with Emilia.  Heading toward Peruvian with fat skis in hand, we passed several guys with bigger, fatter skis sporting frozen beards, caps and hair.  Not a good sign, but we were not deterred.

Our group of eight caught the lift and spent the ride catching up on Sundance, star sightings (check out Julie’s Instagram) and good new restaurants.  Do we live in the coolest place?  At the top, we got down to business. Halfway through a warm up on Chip’s Run, Emilia stopped to give us a pep talk.  “Just butter the snow,” she said.  Whaaaa?  She explained that, instead of “carving,” you need to stay centered on top of your skis, and keep them a bit flatter on the powder.  In other words, your skis are like butter knives; just spread it on.  I’m not sure of the culinary physics, but the mental picture seemed to work.  Heading down Chip’s Face, we tipped those fat skis downward and gave it a try.  Butter the snow, wax on, wax off, I don’t know, but the picture of using the skis to spread the powder underneath seemed to work, and I was floating downhill.  We all were.  No yard sales!!  On to Mineral Basin.

Ski Mums Powder

A small aside…  Can I just brag about my Skimums friend, Valerie, for a moment?  Oh, she is going to bust me for this.  Valerie is my hero this week.  She knows her limits, but will press them to move forward.  I watched her that morning when she looked (like we all do occasionally) a little bit hesitant.  Tipping over the edge of Nash Flora, a solid black that dives straight off the cat track down into Mineral Basin, was one of those moments.  Unlike me, who, in those situations, will gladly traverse to that nicely groomed run over yonder, Valerie pursed her lips and plunged over the edge.  No, she didn’t lead the way.  Instead, she carefully watched another Mum or two and followed them down — beautifully.  Was it not wanting to be left behind, yelling at herself to “just go already,” or believing that her girlfriends would show her the way?  I don’t know, but suspect that it was a little bit of everything and more.  I know that feeling.  It’s empowering, and that’s what I love about skiing with Skimums.

After a few runs in the Basin (powder days are great days to take advantage of the Mountain School priority lines!), the clouds rolled in, and our stomachs started rumbling.  Time to head towards food!  On the way, Emilia gave us a few more things to visualize explaining that, as in yoga, finding balance is a big key to powder skiing.  Picture yourself standing on top of those skis (so you’re centered) with your big toe grabbing the bottom of the boot (so you’re not sitting back).  The body remains upright (or, as SkiMum Kristen aka “Park City Kristen” declared, “Boobs out front!”), and legs are slightly closer together (better to butter with).  Maybe we just needed something to focus on other than the unknown, but visualization was the big lesson of the day.  Whether it was learning to butter the snow or watching your girlfriends show you the way, success was found when we pictured ourselves tipping our skis over the edge and floating all the way down.

[1] TV show, Friends, reference.  My teen just gave me a quizzical look.  OMG

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