I am an Adirondack transplant and it was four years before I put on skis for the first time. I am 30 years old and despite my friends and co-workers' best efforts over those four years, I used every excuse I could muster as to why I couldn't try skiing.
Now that I've had my first lesson – and absolutely loved every minute – let me address some of the excuses you have likely used, and why they are completely invalid.
I don't have time.
There's no time, there's never any time. Right, Jesse Spano? But seriously, after just a 2-hour lesson, I was a confident beginner skier, able to navigate green circle terrain all by myself. With another lesson, I'm confident I could enhance my skills even more.
Skiing is just like anything else in life, you get out what you put in. If you want to be the next Andrew Weibrecht or Lindsey Vonn, then yeah, you should cancel your Netflix subscription now and plan to spend every waking moment at the mountain. If you want to learn a new sport and enjoy the beautiful winter days, then all you need is a couple of hours (but you'll quickly find you'll want to spend much more time out there.)
I am too old.
I always thought that skiing was one of those sports where if you didn't start as soon as you learned to walk, you'd never pick it up. I turned thirty last year (gasp!) and figured I was a lost cause.
I may not ever be able to get my seven-year-old American Eskimo mix to roll over, but this old dog learned a new trick. While I will never qualify for the Olympics or make it to the Slides, after my first lesson I was a confident beginner skier. With more practice, I'm certain I could work my way up to the blue squares, and maybe even a black diamond. In skiing, your desire and motivation to learn is all that matters.
It is too expensive.
Lessons, lift tickets, rentals, clothes. It seems like a lot, especially for something you aren't even sure you're going to like. (It's why my mom made me practice piano at our neighbor's house when I said I wanted to take lessons – they weren't about to invest the money in something I may not commit to. Good on them, I quit after a few months.)
I was honestly surprised how affordable skiing can be. With the Parallel from the Start learn-to-ski program, you get three days of lessons, lift tickets, and equipment rentals for under $170. That's only $56 per day, and once you complete all three lessons, you earn a frequent skier card, which offers discounts on tickets any time you visit the rest of the season at any of the ORDA mountains.
For equipment, plan your visits around Demo Days, which offer discount (or sometimes free!) rentals on the latest and greatest equipment. Or, if you plan to be at the mountain regularly, look into season-long rentals. If you're ready to make an investment, check out pre-season and end-of-season sales on skis, snowboards, boots, poles, and anything else you'd need.
As a late bloomer, I wouldn't fit in.
If skiers are the Plastics of North Shore High School, I'm not even a JV jock. I'm eating lunch in the bathroom stall like the weird homeschooled girl from Africa. Skiing is a lifestyle, and one that typically starts at a young age – plenty of time to build skills to navigate the mountain with ease... and establish a seat in the cafeteria.
As I confided in my skiing friends that I was going to attempt the sport for the first time, I was met with overwhelming support and excitement. Everyone offered advice, extra gear, and general words of encouragement.
And thankfully this extended beyond my friends. Everyone I encountered at the mountain – from the customer service reps at the ticket counter, to the rental shop consultant who helped outfit me with boots and skis, was genuinely excited for me to try the sport they love so much. When I went back out for another run after taking a pizza break in the Base Lodge, I was met with a high-five and "glad to see you back out here!" from the liftie. And the most telling yet - when I accidentally cut off a lady on Fox as I attempted it for the first time, I yelled out sorry and she responded "don't worry – you're doing great!"
Now that I finally stopped the excuses and got out on the snow, I'm angry at myself for wasting 4 years of living in one of the greatest ski areas in the entire country watching Netflix and waiting for winter to be over. Learn from my mistake, and get out there!