A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

First lift serve of the year

December 19, 2020
Emilie Phillips

The first thing we saw when we arrived at Crotched was a line of people from the base of the mountain to halfway across the parking lot. We almost turned around and went home then. It’s early season, so we usually spend some time at a lift serve ski area practicing technique and protecting our skis from the rocks. But, it’s 2020, and covid, and there was a two foot snow storm on Thursday. We ended up parked in the satellite parking. The line turned out to be people picking up tickets they had ordered online.

some of the ticket line after lunch

We bought tickets the night before online. Luckily we had picked up Vail Resorts RFID cards during our trip to Colorado last winter. So we could refill online. I had wanted to ski at Gunstock, but their website said they were sold out. Crotched claimed to be capping ticket sales. The long lines seemed to say otherwise. We skipped the ticket line, but then had to wait in chair lift lines. For the cafeteria, they seemed to be using a PWM algorithm. Let everyone in until it hit capacity, then close the doors until it had emptied out again. We took our lunch food back to the car.


Isaac has been skiing on Telemark boots and bindings for three years, but he hasn’t learned the Telemark turn yet. This year, he decided he wanted to learn. We started with a shuffling exercise. Tyson quickly realized that Isaac had no upper-lower body separation. That’s typical for kids. But before we can teach Isaac to Telemark, he needs some ability to control his upper body separately from his lower body. We did some shuffling on a flat green area while holding one pole horizontal. That’s to focus on the feeling of holding the pole steady. Then, instead of holding the pole horizontal, we changed to balancing it on our wrists. At this point we switched to parallel turns. We introduced the concept of looking downhill while turning left and right. Then we worked on edging, initiating the parallel turn by moving both knees downhill. And the same for garlands where you do dips going across the hill.

Isaac got better over the few runs we did. Nothing is in muscle memory yet, so we need to go back out and practice. I realized on the last run that I hadn’t worked on the mono-mark drill for my technique. So, somehow, we need to find a less chaotic next place to do lift serve skiing. Also, I need to find a mask solution that doesn’t fog up my glasses and goggles.

All Photos