I had one more day of lessons, this time at the Park City Mountain Resort in Park City. Unlike homey Alta and large, something-for-everybody Canyons, Park City is a resort for people who don’t want to stay at a ski resort. It’s the most connected with the city around it, even offering a chair lift that drops skiers off at a whiskey distillery/restaurant at the end of Main Street. (Said distillery/restaurant, High West, is worth a visit on skis or not, and the drinks will make you so warm you don’t even notice the snow outside.) Despite the name “resort,” it doesn’t have a specific lodge associated with it, so guests can stay at hotels or rented apartments in town.
At Park City, my instructor, Bill, taught me how to get on and off the chairlift. When you stay safely on the bunny slope, there’s a “magic carpet,” sort of an escalator for skiers, that gets you back up to the top of the hill. But if you have any hope of being a non-beginner skier or accessing a slope that is slightly more than horizontal, you’re going to have to learn to take the chairlift eventually.
It turns out that mastering the chairlift is a lot like mastering skiing itself – it’s all about letting. As Thom Yorke would say, “gravity always wins.”
The “beginner 2.0” trail I skied at Park City ends just in front of the main entrance area for the resort, which means that people eating in some of the cafes or hanging up their skis on the rack will be there to watch you come down the hill. After a couple of runs with my instructor close by, I finally took off on my own, whizzing down, pulling my legs into a V-shape that looked like a slice of pizza. It wasn’t going to get me on the Olympic ski team, but it was an entire slope all by myself. I don’t think I’ll ever be a good enough skier to do double black diamond courses, but the fact that I made it down a slope full of teenagers instead of one covered with toddlers was a pretty big accomplishment for just three days of lessons.
Will I ever ski again? Maybe. If I wait for spring skiing or even until next January’s Learn to Ski Month, it might be cost-effective enough to be worth it. I’d most likely head back to Park City Mountain Resort and switch off ski days and “hanging out in town” days. But I’m pretty sure my muscles will remember how to handle the rest.
Text and Photos by Lilit Marcus for PeterGreenberg.com. Lilit is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn and tries to get out of it as much as possible. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, The Daily, and Jaunted.com. Follow her on Twitter at @saveassistants.
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