Saturday, September 26, 2009

Great deals. No kidding.

Getting the kids interested in skiing is a win-win situation. It gets them out into the fresh air and involved in a sport they can enjoy throughout their lives, and it gives you an excuse to be out there, too ("But honey, the kids have to ski this weekend!").

To keep costs down, a number of state ski organizations are offering some pretty killer deals. Take a look:

  • New York: Fourth Grade Ski and Ride Passport. For $19. a booklet, you get three lift tickets to each of 35 resorts. There's a Learn to Ski Passport, too, which offers one free beginner lesson and 20% off a second. Go to

  • Colorado: Fifth & Sixth Grade Passports.: Fifth graders get three free days at each of the 21 participating resorts. Sixth graders get four days at each resort for $99. Go to

  • Michigan: Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport: Fourth graders get three free lift tickets to each of 22 participating resorts. Go to

  • Utah: The Fifth Grade Passport offers three free ticket at each of the state's 13 ski reosrts. The Sixth Grade Snowpass gets one free day at each. Go to

  • Vermont: Fifth Grade Passport offers three passes to each of the state's 21 resorts. Go to

  • New Hampshire: Fourth Grade Earn Your Turns Program. Fourth grade students must research some aspect of the history of skiing in New Hampshire, and summarize the information in a report to their teacher. If the teacher finds it satisfactory, the student gets a book that gives him one free lift pass to each of the state's 37 resorts. Go to

  • Be sure to visit, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    What you need to know about NASTC.

    A few weeks ago I announced the first ever TheSkiDiva/NASTC clinic, which will place March 1-3, 2010, at Lake Tahoe.

    I am so excited about this! NASTC, or the North American Ski Training Center, is one of the best clinic organizations out there. And it is going to be a real blast skiing and learning with the fantastic women from

    To give you a better idea of what NASTC is all about, I recently spoke with Jenny Fellows, who heads NASTC with her husband, Chris.

    Q: What is NASTC, and what makes it different from any other ski clinic?

    A: NASTC is an independent ski school with a proven unique philosphy and methodology towards ski improvement. NASTC offers full immersion, multi-day ski improvement programs at some of the best mountains in the world. NASTC ensures that your ski training experience is rewarding both physically and spiritually. Our goal is for you to have the best time on and off the snow.

    Q: Tell me about the history of NASTC. How and when did it get started? Do you have a particular philosophy for the clinic?

    A: My husband, Chris, and I started NASTC in 1994 to offer the general public a "ski academy" alternative to the quick-fix, one hour or half-day lesson. NASTC was modeled in part on the European ski school model for instructors, the Austrian Bundessportheim, which Chris had been chosen to attend for a season in 1989. We wanted people to have the chance to truly improve, to bring their skiing up a full level. Or, if they had "plateaued," to get off that intermediate or advanced plateau and up into the next realm of skiing. We felt, and still feel, that one only improves at a sport via a total immersion, multi-day approach where you have the chance to breakdown old movement patterns and rebuild with new ones. We also feel that by following and learning from the best pros in the ski business, your skiing will improve much faster and more permanently. The name we chose for our school, NASTC, or the North American Ski Training Center, contains the original vision of a home base, a "training center." We even had lodge plans drawn up by an architect friend. But we quickly saw that our clients wanted to go to different resorts, not be stuck at just one. So we now offer 28 clinics at 18 resorts in Tahoe, the US, and worldwide.

    Q: Tell me something about your staff. What does it take to be a NASTC instructor?

    A: Our staff is comprised of some of the top instructors in the United States. Our trainers are all Examiners and National and Regional Demo Team members, who have gone through a rigorous certification process and made a career of helping skiers like you have a better time on the snow. We handpick our instructors based on their excellence as skiers and coaches and their ability to create a fun and welcoming environment.

    Q: How do you envision TheSkiDiva clinic? Levels, group sizes, skills taught?

    A: We envision TheSkiDiva Clinic as a really good opportunity for women to come and improve their skiing, and also as a really good time with lots of laughter and smiles! Our NASTC Women's Team is excited to work with such an enthusiastic and passionate group of women. We will likely have several groups of different levels. Skiers will be grouped according to their skiing level and goals for the clinic. Each group will have about 7-8 skiers and will have their own focus based on the needs and goals of the group. The clinics begin with a short orientation where we split into groups and discuss our goals for the clinic. We head out to the snow and take a couple of warm up runs and make sure that everyone is in the right group. We ski all the way up to lunch. After that, you can head back outside for more free skiing and practice. We also take footage of everyone skiing, and your trainer reviews your footage with you. After the video review sessions we generally have a short tech talk on a topic that enhances your performance and knowledge of the sport. Typically the whole group gets together and goes out to dinner at one of the many wonderful local restaurants.

    # # #

    This is truly something not to be missed. The cost for the clinic is $790., which includes three half days of instruction, three days of lift passes, and one group dinner. Lodging packages are available at the Cedar House Sport Hotel.

    And get this: if you register by November 1, you'll get 5% off!

    To sign up or for more information, go to the NASTC web site or email NASTC at

    Be sure to visit, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    To buy or not to buy?

    That, indeed, is the question.

    Last season I vowed I'd buy nothing. Nadda. Zip. No new ski equipment at all.

    Yeah, right.

    Aside from skis, I bought all new everything: gloves, boots, poles, jackets (2 of these, actually), ski pants, base layers. You get the picture.

    It's really shameful. But the deals were just too good. I just couldn't pass them up.

    This year I vowed the same. After all, after last season, what else could I possibly need? Except I blew it already. During my visit to the outlets at Freeport, Maine (home of LL Bean), I succumbed. I ended up with a North Face Thunder Jacket (but it was just what I was looking for! And at such a good price!) and a classic ski sweater (perfect for book signings!).

    Did I need these things? No. But skiing is my weakness, and need had nothing to do with it.

    Anyway, my intention when I started this post was to direct you to a listing of the many ski swaps you can find this time of year; excellent sources for gear that's either used or just left over from last year. Follow this link to a thread over at TheSkiDiva.

    And happy shopping. Like me, you may find a deal that's just too good to pass up.

    Be sure to visit, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    40 miles and 7 lighthouses.

    That was the theme this morning, when my husband, Jon, and I did the Maine Lighthouse Ride, a fundraiser for the Eastern Trails Alliance in Portland, Maine. We came to Portland from Vermont especially to do this scenic ride.

    Well, that and to eat lobster rolls, of course.

    It really was a lot of fun. The coastline of Maine is beautiful. The ride took us along the shore, where we could see the islands of Casco Bay and enjoy the boats and ships going in and out of the harbor.

    About 300 people registered for the ride, some for 100 miles, some for 62, some for 40, and some for 25. We opted for 40, and for me, it was enough.

    Here are a few of the lighthouses we saw:

    What does this have to do with skiing? Well, if skiing starts in the middle of November -- and hopefully, it will -- it's important to concentrate on getting in shape. And biking is a great way to do it.

    This was a great day.

    Now excuse me -- it's time for more lobster roll!

    Be sure to visit, an internet forum especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.