First Snow hits the High Country, Colorado

We have been enjoying our summer riding, rafting, parades and golf.  However, we can’t help but think towards the autumn season and golf.  And this morning Park County, CO  highest peaks saw a little snow.

The first snow in Ski Country falls outside of Breckenridge
The first snow in Ski Country falls outside of Breckenridge  

I had a pleasant surprise when we woke this morning.  Although skiing and snowboarding came to mind initially, I started thinking about the great events and weekends in Breckenridge coming in the fall.  The Labor Day Weekend offers cool mountain air and sunshine.  There are art festivals right behind Ski County Sports.  Then one of the great events of the autumn, Breckenridge Oktoberfest on Sept 17th weekend.

The golf courses, mountain bike trails, fishing, and hiking are all in prime condition this time of the year.  There is no reason to have to endure city traffic and 90+ temps when Breckenridge and Summit County is so easy to visit.

Dynamic Warmup for Skiing – Elsbeth Vaino

This is a repost of Elsbeth Vaino’s MySnowPro.com Blog.  This is an excellent pre-ski day routine.  Visit Elsbeth’s blog regularly.  You may follow it via an RSS feed, by selecting “subscribe to the feed” in the right hand column of her blog page.   Thanks Elsbeth.

If you’ve ever wondered whether you should do some sort of warmup before a day of skiing, I can provide a simple answer for you:  Yes.  What you should do is a bit more of a challenge.  To help with this, I have created a video that shows a set of 9 activation exercises and dynamic stretches that will help to prepare your body for the ski day ahead.  

Each exercise can be done on snow, in your boots, and the only equipment you need is your poles.  The warm-up includes:
– Pectoral stretch
– Lower trapezius activation
– Thoracic spine rotational stretch
– Fore-aft leg swings
– Rotational leg swings
– Psoas activation
– Glute medius activation
– Lunge stretch with lateral reach
– Lateral squat with hip rotation
Do 5 reps of each exercise on each side with a 2-3 second hold for each.  Then follow it up with an easy run to get a feel for the skis and the conditions.  Move a lot during that first run – think 1000 steps and exagerated and repeated flexions/extensions (small/tall).  Try a few hockey stops and a few roller blade turns.  Then you’ll be ready to enjoy the fact that you’re spending the day doing he best activity on earth. 
When you’re back at home or in the hotel room, think about foam rolling:  your body will thank you tomorrow if you do.  If you’re not familiar with foam rolling, check out this blog article about it, as well as this set of how-to videos.
 

Blogging for your business – A few blogging tips

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Does blogging for your business feel like taking the leap into the unknown? Here are few blogging tips and strategies for you to try  The purpose of this post is to offer you, the business/brand related blogger beginning and intermediate strategy for the blogging component of your digital presence. 

As a company, brand, or individual “Why blog?” 

A quick search for “Breckenridge” queries 1770 results in the past 7 days.  Your visitors and guests are already reading about your industry, location, or product category.  Where are you?  A blog tends to have the voice of a peer or expert rather than sales copy and advertising, or at least it should.  If you are a ski or ride instructor we provide it here: http://www.mysnowpro.com/signup/    If you are not, you can get a free blog to practice your craft at WordPress

Here are a few more reasons:

  • It’s Free
  • Generate Positive Content
  • Build brand recognition and loyalty
  • Build Credibility with customers
  • Use for crisis managment
  • Customer Service
  • Provide timely and relevant content
  • Easily target industry trends and search terms

When our company designs a corporate website strategy, there are a few musts and a blog is a must.

Who in the company should blog?

It doesn’t have to be the CEO or CMO, although it could be.  It could even be shared between a few different people within the organization.  Ideally the blogger should be familiar with different aspects of the organization, as well as having comfort navigating the internet and finding information.

They should also read blogs themselves and may have some basic knowledge of SEO and keywording.  Here is a primer.  

The blogger should NOT be micromanaged, yet operate within the policies established by the company.  This said, the CMO or company owner should be able to read the blog and offer feedback.

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Blogging Suggestions:

Be a “true voice” and offer relevant information rather than simply a PR pumping machine.  Link to other articles where appropriate.

Host the blog on your server.  Don’t rely on blogger or another 3rd party hosting site!  If your blog and all of your content disappears, then you have no recourse.  And if this happens, your passion for blogging will diminish. 

It is best to maintain an honest, and informative blog which is useful to the visitor and the industry while benefiting the company.

  • Have guidelines for the blogger to follow. If something is potentially “edgy” or the timing is around earnings speak with the CMO or communications director for their input.
  • Content is Relevant and interesting.  Some companies, Industries or locations are interesting enough to write an article a day, although many do not.  So, where can we find content?  I follow a number of industry specific Facebook feeds, Google Reader, Google Insights or Trends.  For the ski industry, Oct-December regularly sees major spikes in global search interest . This is the information people are looking to find, create it for them.
  • Use images on your posts. Bring additional interest to the text.
  • Keep up with local event calendars.  For Breckenridge events, I follow GoBreck.com
  • Use the holiday or start of a season as a catalyst to create content.  

Frequency

Advice here varies, once a day, once a week, twice a week.   My recommendation – Make it regular!  If you start off once a day, and then move to once a month your readers will wonder what has happened, and stop following.  I would rather see a blog start off at once a week, and then build it’s frequency and quality rather than reduce frequency.  

Don’t just use it as a marketing tool

Mention your company, but keep it brief unless it is about company specific news.   Having company specials is fine as long as you keep them to once a week or so, as it offer an incentive to read the blog but won’t be overbearing.

Allow readers to comment and communicate with you.  Many business owners shy away from Social Media as they are concerned with negative comments and having a “bad press” on their website.  Here is a newsflash…  People in the world are already saying these things, however now you are able to address these concerns promptly and the communication you offer will add credibility for your company.

 

Create links and Publicize 

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  • Link to relevant posts and websites which are relevant to your posts.
  • Host the blog on your server.  Don’t rely on blogger or another 3rd party hosting site!  
  • Your blog link should appear on every page of your website if possible, have an RSS feed prominently located so that people can easily follow your writing.  

Enjoy your writing.  Blog what is relevant.  Blog what you enjoy, and do so regularly.

As a professional ski
instructor and digital media proponent, Jonathan Lawson began posting
daily photos and a few words a day on his
www.MySnowPro.com/jonthanlawson blog (2006).  Within a few weeks of
daily posts, he began picking up significant readership, he was
oblivious to Google Trends or Google Insights.  Jonathan didn’t know how
to optimize his blog posts.  However, through trial and error, and more
than 1000 individual posts and 100s of hours study he has become a
student of blogging best practices. In the past 4 years, he has
consulted with business regarding the structure, frequency, &  blog
and social media integration with their current digital presence. 

Blogging – Anticipating demand and using Google for keyword ideas

I started blogging in 2006, prior to that time I would put my thoughts in my journals.  It is often said, “The weakest ink remembers more than the strongest mind”.  I didn’t know that I could make money blogging, nor did I know that I could use google keywords to get more readership.

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I just wrote about ideas, about the lessons I had with my students, and about other passions of mine such as trading.  Prior to blogging my journals contained my ideas and muses. I still go back to them for inspiration for new ideas, and memories of previously comprehended ones. I have also found that certain situations spawn similar seeds of thoughts.  

For the past 3 years of “managing” a blogging website I have noticed trends, but until recently I have not been able to quantify them.  I would write timely information based on “my time” and experiences.  Indeed this is one of the powers of the blogging platform, however as a business I have found a few more structured ways to blog.  What if you ran a Recreation and Sports website and wanted to get the most readership on a given topic?  When would you start blogging about skiing, tennis, golf, yoga, weight lifting, physical therapy, etc?  And what terms are people ACTUALLY searching.
Before I go further, I am sure there are some blogging purists seeing this going in the way of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or SEM (Search Engine Marketing), or populist marketing.  Indeed you are seeing that!  
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I may write about a number of things, and for my “skiing business” I would like as many people who are interested in my subjects of expertise read these articles.  That is one of the main reasons I write and publish them.
So, how might you structure blogging with the Recreation and Sports…
Using Google Insights you could input a few of what you consider to be relevant topics.  Let’s say, Golf, Tennis, Skiing, Yoga, Sports.  Each of these terms have seasonality (which is why I initially picked them).  You may anticipate Skiing would see winter demand, and you would be right.  It peaks in December, and has since 2004. My question is, “When does it start seeing a ramp in activity? Reasonably simple to assume, but Insights let’s us see a bottom in June, ramping in Sept and spiking in Nov/Dec.  And what specific search term is chosen?  As I write this in June, the strong terms are “ski” and “cross country skiing”.
A person could assume we would see summer spikes in Golf and Tennis, and we would be right again. The term sports remains relatively high year-around, not seeing significant seasonality.  Golf troughs in November and begins to rise in February and peaks in July often around major events.  Although, over the past 6yrs we have been seeing lower lows and lower highs.  And the current top searches for Golf are “Golf” and “Golf Course” (but not “golf courses”).  With the top countries of origin being:
  1. Ireland
  2. US
  3. Canada
  4. UK

A final observation I will make in this post is regarding aggregate demand is that we can see trends over time, and relative interest.  Here is a list of 5 from high to low and their relative score out of 100 (taken on June 1st, 2010):

  1. Golf – 58
  2. Sports – 53Glory1.jpg
  3. Tennis – 21
  4. Yoga – 11
  5. Skiing – 3
In short, If I were going to write an article on skiing I would most likely write something regarding summer sports which can benefit my skiing, or summer activities which can be enjoyed at ski resort, etc.
To reminisce in an entire blog post about the great powder day we enjoyed in March may fall upon deaf ears, blind eyes and wither like a snowflake in June.
Stay relevant, and know what the audience is looking to read.  This relevance in blog posts can significantly impact your overall Organic ranking for your web presence in search.

Summit County Spring — busy

I am glad to be back blogging at MySnowPro.  For many instructors there is stress involved in dealing with the shoulder season as a ski instructor.

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Work, weather, living and family schedule arrangements, and ski/ride withdrawal. I have been going through all of the above.  The photo to the right is unfortunately what I PLAN to be doing at some point this summer.

A morning walk in the snow with The Fifth Agreement

Just had a nice morning walk through 10″ of late April powder.  I tend to read while I walk.  I have never thought much of it, although it seems other people don’t know how I do it.  I have been reading the follow up to one of my favorite books of all-time, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  
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This book is The Fifth Agreement  (You can go to MyOnlineBlastoff to get cash back discounts on all purchases) offers reasoning as to adding the additional agreement.  I have long thought of this agreement in my own life, but I did not previously see such a tight correlation.  
As I was walking I was re-reading the initial 4 agreements:
1)  Be Impeccable with your Word – Your mind is full of knowledge, but how are you using that knowledge.  “The word, as a symbol,  has the magic  and power of creation because it can reproduce an image, an idea, a feeling, or an entire story in your imagination.”I was reminded of the understanding of the power of what we say and how we say it.  It prompted me to understand 
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the way we use symbols as representation for a thought or a string of thoughts, or an entire belief system.  I thought of the way a series of words or symbols with action can completely change the course of history. Adam and Even, Original sin, Infidel, The Rich, The Poor, American Flag, Hand on our heart, Salute to the Leader of a country.  I also recounted how most humans use words.  Perhaps through gossip or opinion. And where did you learn your “words”. “Impeccability of the word is so important because the word is you, the messenger.  You are telling yourself a story, but is it the truth?”  “Being impeccable with your word means never using the power of the word against yourself.”
2)  Not Take Anything Personally We are dreaming.  Each of us is living our own lives. Others actions are based upon the agreements they have made with themselves, rather than your knowledge/agreements.  “Who is dreaming the story of your life?  You are. 
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 If you don’t like your life, if you don’t like what you believe about yourself, you are the only one who can change it.  It is your world; it’s your dream.”  How often do I become the supporting character in someone else’s dream, rather than the lead in my own.  (For me, all too often).  Others want ‘secondary’ characters the way they want them to be, and if they are not, they fell very hurt.  They take everything personally.  With this awareness, you can also understand the solution, and it’s something simple and logical.  Don’t take anything personally.
Those are the two I internalized this morning.  The remaining three will have to wait for tomorrows walk.
3) Don’t make assumptions
4) Always do your best
5th) Be skeptical, but learn to listen
To your success, 
Jon

The Breckenridge Lesson Pass information 2010-11 Season

Thx to Bob Booker for putting together the information


BRECKENRIDGE SKI & RIDE SCHOOL LESSON PASSES

STEP 1 – Renew or Buy an 10/11 Colorado, Summit or Epic Pass
STEP 2 – Renew or Buy your 10/11 Adult Lesson Pass for only $249 or Child Lesson Pass for only $560
STEP 3 – Take your skills to the next level!

 

Breckenridge Lesson Passes allows you to take class lessons throughout the 2010-2011 Season.

·         Valid Thursdays through Sundays

·         Breck Adult Lesson Pass- $249. Ages 14+ Valid for Ski, SB and Tele Saturday class lessons.

·         Breck Child Lesson Pass – $560. Ages 4-13, Valid for Ski and SB class lessons.

·         Spring sales through May 7th, 2010 or while supplies last.

·         Participants may redeem one Ski & Ride School group lesson ticket per day on the morning of the lesson.  The Breckenridge Lesson Passes are valid for classes Thursday through Sunday only.  The lesson ticket is NOT TRANSFERABLE.  You must have your season pass present to obtain a lesson ticket.

·         On your first day stop into a Ski & Ride School office to fill out a release form, a Breckenridge Lesson Pass agreement, and to obtain a lesson ticket. After your first day you will not be required to fill out a release however you will still need to obtain a lesson ticket.

·         Breckenridge Ski & Ride School Pass redemption is unavailable: 12/23/10-01/02/11, 1/08/11-1/09/11, 1/15/11-1/16/11, 2/19/11-2/20/11 & 3/12/11-03/20/11

·         Lessons meet at normal class lesson times; 9:45am for Adults and 9:15 for children, for morning and all day lessons. Afternoon lessons are only available to novice skiers and riders, levels 1-4, and depart at 1:30pm.

·         We will make every effort to accommodate instructor requests but reserve the right to make assignments according to business needs and policies. The final decision lies with the supervisor and not the instructor.

·         Not valid for Ultimate 4, Adventure Session, camp or special program participation. 

·         All dates/times/locations/prices subject to change. Please call 1888-576-2754 (970-453-3272) for updated information.

·         Refund policy: Before Dec 22 the one day window rate for an adult/child lesson will be subtracted based on usage. After Dec. 22, Breckenridge Lesson Ski & Ride School passes are non-refundable.

Late February Weekend in Breckenridge, CO

Skiing in Breckenridge this season has been pretty decent. We have been spoiled with great snow the past few seasons.  Although Father Winter made a nice showing in Mid February.  I have put together a short video to prove it. Although, videos have been less frequent this year due to some issues with MS Movie Maker Live. I sure wish I had a better and easier movie program.

I have great fortune to ski with some fun people from beginner through expert, although the advanced and expert skiers make for better action video.  Enjoy.  We are setting up for a very nice spring season of skiing.

Babes on Bumps 2010 – photo review

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I had a great 2 months skiing with the ladies of the Babes on Bumps.  We came to the season with diverse goals. 

1) Improve our skiing
2) Have fun
3) Push a few of our limits
After the first lesson we talked about Zones of Comfort, Performance, and Fear
Here is a slide show of a few of our adventures

We trying to focus and integrate 1 of the 3 skills (Rotary Movements, Edge Ctrl Movements, and Pressure Ctrl Movements) during the first 4 weeks of our time together.

We use a variety of Fore/Aft Balance queues (feeling the shins by flexing/extending the ankles)
Foot to foot balance in soft snow. Finding our equilibrium 80/20, 70, 30, 60/40, or 50/50
We also skied across the bumps to develop an awareness of movement in the ankles, knees, and hips.  Specific focus was give to “short circuiting” the extension reflex.  Flex as we cross the face of the bump, rather than extend or brace against the bump.
A constant theme was developing a “softer” ankle while we skidded through our turn. Understanding that a less edged ski as it skids will create friction, and friction will contorl our speed. If we want to increase our speed or hold our line we can roll to a higher edge and develop a carve.
In the second half of the sessions we traveled the mountain and worked more on application.  Whale’s Tail, North Bowl, Snow White, and E-Chair were fair game.   We still have plenty of practice to get in.  But I hope it was a fun time had by all.
Thank you Babes!
Here is a second and shorter slide show 

Wrapped up MLK weekend skiing in Breckenridge

We just finished a busy and pleasant weekend in Breckenridge, CO.  Skiing and riding was reasonably good. I can’t wait for some “horrible” weather to replenish the soft snow on the mountain.  It looks like storms are rolling through.

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I have been sampling a few tune shops in town. I have been using  Pup’s Glide Shop.  They have been putting on fine tunes. Although about 3 weeks ago I took my skis to Breckenridge Sports in the Maggie (Village of Breckenridge).  Rafe is the main tuner there. Wow, he has been doing FANTASTIC work on my skis.  The edges are great, and his base structure work is impeccable.  I can’t say enough about how much pride Rafe takes in his work.  I have been been sending my students to both of these locations for ski repair work this season. And heaven knows we need to have our skis repaired from the early season beating they have all taken.
I was fortunate to ski with some very nice people over the past few days.  On Saturday I skied with Vanessa R from Kansas City.  It was her first day back of the year.  Rather than skiing day one with her friends she joined me for a Level 5 lesson.  We skied Peak 7 in the morning and Peak 9 in the afternoon.  
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A few focuses were flattening then turning the inside leg throug the transition of the turn. By the end of the day she was comfortably making parallel turns, and even skied a blue/black.
On monday I was fortunate to ski with Tom and Mary from the UK. They had been skiing with us for 6 days prior, and wanted to technique adjustments but also some adventure seeking around the mountain.  We worked on some contemporary technique including an earlier tipping (rather than twisting) of the ski, and allowing a flexion of the inside leg from the ankle, knee, and hip.  Prior to the coaching, they both had a simultaneous flexing and extending of their legs. This was leading their moving back through the shaping and finish of the turn. 
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Later in the morning we took this on to the T-bar and North Bowl.  The snow was surprisingly good. Although only 3″ of new snow was reported we found considerably more in spots. The terrain features had softened as well. In the moguls we focused on bringing the feet UP toward the hips rather than the torso down to the feet.  This allowed better ski to snow contact earlier in the turn. In the afternoon we decided to move up into the Imperial Bowl.  We skied Whale’s Tail to Vertigo for our first run, and the Peak 8 Summit and Lake Chutes for our second.  Our third run took us back to the Whale’s Tail and the Boundary Chutes.  My hope for them is the enhanced technique and the exposure to new terrain will make the next 3 days even more enjoyable.
Tom and Mary’s Photo Album
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We are also planning a second MySnowPro.com ski trip to Silverton in February.  One day at Silverton Powerdercats, and the second at Silverton Mountain.