Learning and sharing on the side of a Mountain

During my first year of teaching skiing (1988) I rode up the lift with a gentleman around the age of 60. I was skiing at Bear Mountain (formerly Goldmine) in Southern California. It was 7 minutes of my life that could have just as well been a dream. He said to me:
“Do you enjoy what your are doing?” Yes, I love it.
“Are you any good at skiing?” I’m ok, but getting better.
“Do you get paid well doing it?” $5.50/hr… so not really.

He then said, “The last question is the least important question at this time in your life. You will have plenty of time to earn money, if that is what you choose.” “I have spent my entire life earning money. And I have done well growing and selling a few businesses. But you know what I will never have back? The time to get ‘really good’ at some activities that I love doing. That window has closed for me. But it doesn’t stop me from trying :)” We laughed, and then shortly thereafter unloaded the chair. He left me with a hearty, “Enjoy yourself Jonathan.”

I taught and worked in guest services at Bear Mtn for a few more years during winter breaks and winter weekends. Graduated College and then sold a business I had grown during college. The sale of that business financed my move to Colorado, and helped subsidize a few years. I had a list of goals and Breckenridge met most of them. The top of my list: Excellent training staff, many students to teach, and property to buy.

The first year in Colorado I earned my PSIA Full Certification (Level 3). Within 4 years I had become a staff trainer, and by 1999 I earned my PSIA Accredited Trainer status (RMT). I did this for many reasons: Improve my teaching ability; teaching a greater variety lesson levels; and earning relatively high pay for a resort instructor.

I continue to do what I love, and I have taught nearly 20,000 hours of lessons and clinics. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I stayed in California, as I imagine my life would be radically different. But upon reflection I mostly appreciating the people I have met, and friends I have made. Primarily appreciating the things which I have learned and continue to share on the side of a mountain.

My December. Teaching Children with a higher level of understanding.

Colorado snow has been light this year, but the snow making crew has been providing. We have started receiving a few storm cycles in the Central Rockies, and that is helping quite a bit. I’ve been traveling a little for the powder days. Traveled to Monarch Ski Area last week for a day. They have received more snow this week as well. I am looking forward to planning a few MySnowPro.com trips this winter. Snowcat Trips to Monarch, Silverton, and Steamboat are in order. 

Continue reading “My December. Teaching Children with a higher level of understanding.”

Copper Mountain here I come

I am looking forward to writing about skiing, ski teaching, and a day in the life of a ski instructor with my students. I was very actively writing a few years ago at Breckenridge while teach mostly upper level lessons and private lessons. 

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However the past two years teaching and training staff at Loveland, and raising two pre-teens didn’t allow me the time to do daily ski and ride posts.

This year I moved to Copper Mountain. This was a ski area that I have considered working with over the past 19 years. However I waited until the era of “Interwest” had passed. A real estate development company usually does not provide the best ski experience. However, with new and experienced ownership, Copper (2433 acres) is a “Momma Bear” mountain for me. “Papa Bear” Breckenridge (2031 acres) and the Publicly Traded “MTN” aka Vail Resorts had become spirit sucking place to work. 

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 Baby Bear” Loveland (1570 acres) had the small mountain charm with family ownership. Copper Mountain is a family owned by a medium size privately held ski company POWDR. 

Copper is a tremendous mountain with varied terrain (TRAIL MAP). Naturally divided starting from the base areas (Base Area MAP): West Villiage (easiest), Center Village (intermediate+), to East Village (Advanced+). And with the addition of the Union Creek express you can make it from one side to the other with one lift. My favorite terrain for “day off” and upper level skiing takes place in Copper Bowl, Union Bowl, Spaulding Bowl, and off the Resolution lift. I am looking forward to getting a snowcat ride up to the top of Tucker Mountain. Impressive acreage too!

At Breckenridge I specialized in advanced lessons (Private and Group), and Loveland I worked with advanced lessons and staff training. 

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At Copper I will be working a variety of age groups, and Group & Private lesson at Copper. And my previous students @ Breck will take lessons for 25% less at Copper Mtn. A relatively large percentage of the students book their lessons in advance at Copper.

This season I will be busy with Certification Training. Specifically I will be pursuing my Freestyle Accreditation, Children’s Specialist Accreditation, and a PSIA-RM Examiner position. I will document those pursuits as well. I look forward to sharing the season with you, and answering any question that you post as comments.

The season has been low on snow, but Copper has an impressive amount of terrain open. Thank you for following the journey.