I have to admit that I’m a creature of habit. There’s an inner peace that comes from having a routine in many of things I do, and the sport of skiing is no different. I’m fortunate to ski a lot, but Sunday mornings are my “quiet time,” and when I best reflect on my life (past and present).

Sunday mornings typically start about the same each week. I fuel up at Gondola Joe’s (coffee and food shop in Gondola Square) with my go-to order of breakfast burrito and small coffee. Unwrapping the warm foil and drizzling my sausage and bean creation with salsa begins to warm my insides and gets me mentally prepared for tackling the slopes.

After boarding the gondola, I tend to use the 11-minute ride for stretching my legs, tightening my boots and doing a final gear check. Gloves? Yep. Goggles? Check. All zipped up? Good to go.

When I arrive at the top, I try never to forget to take a long, deep breath and welcome the rising sun. Life in the mountains is glorious, and I’ve known people who begin to take it for granted. I make sure I greet the day with an open heart and give thanks for another day of living the privileged life, one where I get to do what I love within the embrace of Mother Nature and the great outdoors.

My first runs today were silky smooth. The overnight grooming machines have done an incredible job keeping our open runs in great shape. Ripping the corduroy of Heavenly Daze while role playing in my head that I’m an Olympic skier going for the gold was a sheer delight. The packed snow forced me to heavily weight my downhill ski and drive the edge. As I stopped to watch the local race team practice, I quickly saw how meticulous they are repeating proper turn technique. Conditions like this are perfect for working on your speed control and turn efficiency.

After a handful of runs, my body was properly warmed, and my muscles began to fatigue. It’s still early season, and I’m finding my stamina needs some work before we’re treated to those deep powder dumps that will inevitably come. In fact, looking at my weather app and watching the Doppler, I’m seeing that a storm is scheduled to roll through later this afternoon and through the night. I’m not sure how many inches we’re expected to see, but I find myself hoping for the best. If the breeze at the top of the gondola was any indication, there definitely seems to be some weather rolling in.

So keep those edges sharp and use this time on the hill to perfect your turns. This is a great time to train your muscles and coordination for peak performance.


Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier

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