My Skiing Gets Better

The 96-97 season.



E-MAIL: tom@sitski.com

11-27-96 1st Trip we went to Hunter Mountain.

Bill, John and my self head to the slopes. This was a brutal day. My first time back on the slopes and I did not remember some things I learned last season. I dumped a lot and I was a hurting puppy at the end of the day. All in all it was a good day. I needed to get my ski set up and just get the feel for skiing again. I cracked the seat to my Grove last season. I sent it out to Grove to be fixed IN MAY! and just got it back IN NOVEMBER! That pissed me off. I got it back the night before the ski trip. So I spent the night mounting and adjusting the seat. Well I got it done and was ready for my first ski day. I did three small runs, each one getting better then the last.


12-11-96 2nd Trip. I went to Ski Windham.

I drove up alone, very boring but well worth it. I booked a lesson with George, and Millie assisted. What a team, I had a BLAST! The first run was good. The second run was much better. I felt much more control and was not dumping as much. I have made many friends because of this adaptive skiing web site. So keep the e-mail coming. One such friend is Kirsty. We e-mailed each other for a few mounts. Turns out she is an adaptive ski instructor at Windham and Shawnee. Kirsty is a 4-tracker and a very good mono-skier. After lunch she took some runs with us to see how I was doing. I watched her ski and she pointed out some things that I could do to improve my turns. It was magic. I got it. It all came together. For the next two runs I was putting it all together and then I nailed it. My first run with no falls. WOW! What a feeling. The runs to follow where great and the day was to total success.


12-27-96 3rd trip. Back to SkiWindam.

This was a great trip for me because my wife came with me and went skiing for the first time. Her friend Trish and my buddy Gus came along as well. I skied with George, Kirsty and some adaptive trainees. George shot some video of Kirsty and I skiing. It was a good day. We worked on keeping my head and shoulders pointing down the fall line and keeping my ski flat. I tend to use a lot of edge to control my self. After lunch I decided to try another ski. This was a mistake. It did through me off and my afternoon was not as good as the morning. Oh well live and learn. The day was still a total success.


12-31-96 4th trip. I went to Jack Frost.

I had learned so much in my last few lessons that I just needed some time on the snow to put it all together. I had a chance to ski with John. He is a mono-skier and instructor. We skied a few runs in the morning. Each one was better then the last. But I was still having a problem. All of my instructors had been telling me the same thing but I was not doing it. That is "LOOK DOWN THE HILL". I was watching the snow, the trees, every thing except down the hill. Well after lunch we went out. John tells me he is going down the slope and will be holding up a hand. He wanted me to yell out to him what hand he was holding up. "AS I SKI"? was my reply. He made me focus on him down the fall line and not on every thing else. Well that was it! The ski just followed my head and shoulders as I made some nice short radius turns and stopped right at his side. I was grinning from ear to ear. We did that for a run or two, then I was looking down the hill on my own picking things to focus on. For me it is not easy, I still want to look at the ground, but I am getting much better. The day was awesome.


01-04-97 5th trip. Back to Jack Frost.

INDEPENDANCE DAY!

What a great day. I started out on some easy trails and worked on my turns. Keeping my head and shoulders always down hill, I got myself into a nice rhythm and started to carve some nice turns. I added a little extension to the back on my riggers to give me a little more lift for loading on the chair. It works great. I have about an inch and a half more height on my load and I planted every load with ease.


01-15-96 6th trip. Ski Windham.

The day was a blast! Bill and I hooked up with George and Kirsty for some fun skiing. I am working on my style. I have a ways to go before I am nailing black diamonds, but It will happen. We shot some video and it was very good. Kirsty is a very graceful and effortless monoskier, She makes it look so easy (and it is) it just takes practice. Time on the snow is the key. I can tell George is proud of me and Kirsty as well. Bill was just blown away by the whole thing. The last time he and I skied together I was dumping every hundred feet. Now it was all he could do to keep me in focus. I just want to give a BIG THANKS to Bill for getting me on the slope. To George for understanding my personality and teaching me with an open mind and a big heart. To John for taking his training and experience and giving it back to the adaptive program and making me "look down the fall line". And to Kirsty for her understanding of the body in relation to the monoski and how to convey that to me. And her ability to pinpoint the area of trouble and give the correct input to correct it. I also want to thank all the other instructors and assistants that helped to get me skiing. Jeff, Millie, Stan, Scott, Kathleen, Wendy, Don, Frank, Melissa, and all the others. THANKS!


01-16-97 7th trip. Vernon Valley, NJ.

WOW! the last time I was there was in 1981. This was the first time I skied alone. I had no friends with me to depend on for help. I budded up with some people for a few runs, but after lunch I was solo. Self loaded with no problem and skied the rest of the day alone. Just me, the mountain, the sun and God. It was GREAT! I LOVE THIS SPORT! Vernon is accessible. There is no elevator to get up to the lounge, but food and restrooms are on the ground floor.


01-24-97 8th trip. Ski Windham, NY.

John, Rob and my self went up for a fun day of skiing. George and Millie were my instructors for the day. It was snowing and the visibility was not very good but it was a great day. I passed the SkiWindam self load test so now I am a card carrying independent monoskier. We did one difficult intermediate trail called Whistler, John thought it should have been a black diamond. I did it but I did not want to do it again, well not that day anyway. The rest of the day was good fast skiing. I got the do some bumps and that was a lot of fun, I just have to work on my timing and I even got a little air here and there. What else can I say, it was a GREAT DAY!


01-29-97 9th trip. Ski Windham, NY.

I was going to Hunter with the SKI BUMS of NJ. But I received an e-mail from Scott an adaptive instructor at Jack Frost. He and John, another adaptive instructor at Jack Frost, where going to Windham. He asked if I would care to join them, a little twist of my arm and I was there. To ski with two of the best monoskiers I know was a thrill. These guys are good. I skied with them most of the morning. Then I was time for some black diamonds. I forgot to wax my helmet that day so I passed. I skied alone most of the afternoon and I loved it. I was trying another ski. It is a PRE 200 with a 15 side cut. It was a challenge so I was working the ski all afternoon. I had a Great Day! Thanks Guys.


02-02-97 10th trip. Belleayre, NY.

This trip was "a trip". I went with the Watchung Ski Club. This was my first bus trip. The people were great, the bus ride was a blast. The only problem was Belleayre. It is not handicapped accessible. There is no elevator You can push your self around the outside of the lodge to the other level, only to find that the rest room has no handicapped stall. The staff was very helpful but the lodge itself was old and not equipped for wheelchairs. The mountain was not very big and the runs where short. If I am going that far into New York I would rather go to Windham or Hunter. I had a great time skiing with my Uncle Joe. I count the day as a good one, but I will not be going back to Belleayre.


02-08-97 11th trip. Jack Frost, PA.

Gus and I hit the slopes. It was time for my first black diamond. It was a snowy day with poor visibility, but lots of fun. The first black was steep, icy, and studded with big bumps. It had four head walls. I dumped on two. But the trail was marked "UNGROOMED" Oh well, live and learn. The next trail was a snap. I did it. My first black diamond.


02-10-97 12th trip. Ski Windham, NY.

I meet the MAN! Bill Grove. This was a great day. Bill and Mo and my self buzz up to Windham for a Grove demo day. Lots of mono-skis and skiers. I skied a few runs with Bill Grove. We shot some nice video. Get the tape. I used my parabolic K2 for the first time. I liked it a lot.


02-17-97 13th trip. Jack Frost, PA.

My wife, daughter and I hit the slopes. I GOT AIR! I found a nice jump and hit it every time I could. What a blast! Air Rules.


02-19-97 14th trip. Ski Windham, NY.

Gus, Mo and myself go for a warm day of slush skiing. More Air! I had a real good bump run. I really got the feel of turning over the top of the bump. I like bumps!


03-01-97 15th trip. Ski Windham, NY.

My wife and I go up for the Ralph Hartman Race. Rain, slush, The EAST BITES!!! But I had fun. And My wife got on a chair lift for the first time. She is doing So good! We had a great day of skiing in the slush.

03-02-97 Race Day! RAIN! but the show must go on! My first race. My time for my first run was 30 sec. and my 2nd run was 24 sec. I came in 2nd, but there was only two in the mono class so I guess I was last. But that's okay! I had a blast and we made some new friends. I can't wait to race again.


03-12-97 17th ski day. Hunter with NJ Ski Bums.

I had a good day of free skiing. I will be racing on the 15th, so I skied the trail that the race will be on. I skied some diamonds, some small bumps and battled the WIND. I don't like skiing in the wind. I did very well. I LOVE THIS SPORT! Hunter is a great mountain. It is accessible. They do have an elevator and the bathroom in the restaurant had a handicapped stall.


03-15-97 18th ski day. Hunter, Lyons/Sambora ski race.

This was my second ski race. I did the race in 44 sec. the winning time was 34 sec. The winner was a 4 tracker and a very experienced racer. Another monoskier did the race in 42 sec. The race had disabled athletes and able boded skiers using adaptive equipment. It was a lot of fun and I met some nice people.


03-19-97 19th ski day. Hunter with NJ Ski Bums.

There was no bus trip, so Steve, Glen and my self took to the slopes. It was cool skiing with these guys. At this point in my skiing I am totally independent, unless I fly off the trail into a ditch or the wood. But I will take a push up to the lift when I can get it. So Steve gave me a push up the hill to the lift and off we were. 1st run of the day "HELL GATE" a BD "Black Diamond", 2nd run "Huega Express" another BD. 3rd run "Way Out" another BD. Well I was "kicking butt" and they where having fun watching me ROCK this mountain in a monoski. After a few runs with them I went off on my own to ski some blues and do some bumps. We hook up later that day and I finished off the day back on the black diamonds. What a rush. Thanks guys, I had a blast.


04-01-97 20th ski day. Hunter Mount.

Well a big storm hit Hunter dumping 37 inches of new snow. Gus and I where there to make first tracks. I never skied conditions like this and I liked it. Skiing powder in a mono is a lot of fun, but be light on the riggers. I caught my rigger a few times in the deep stuff, only to find my self snatched up by the big white pillow. Bumps every where. What a work out. I loved it. BIG AIR too. I put some snowboarders to shame on this day. It is time for me to get a face guard for my helmet. I did one too many face plants, and a few mouse traps. All in all my skiing is great. I love the complements I get from other skiers, and I love to see the look on their faces when I rock a bump run, or get air. Gus snapped some pics and we had the best time. Not bad for the Catskills!


04-03-97 21th ski day. Hunter Mt.

I was thinking on my way to work, what better way to end my season in the Catskills then a solo ski trip to Hunter. So I made a right instead of a left, and I did not make it to work. But I did make it to Hunter, and I was on snow by 9:10 am. It was a beautiful day of spring skiing. Temps in the 50's and not a cloud in the sky. I skied with Scott Berwick, Chief Engineer of Hunter. We went to all the lifts to see how well the mono can load and unload. He is working to make Hunter a friendly and easy place for adaptive skiers to ski. And it is.


04-19-97 22th ski day. Sugarbush.

Gus and I planed this tip for a few weeks. Then Tim calls up and wants to join in on the fun. We headed up on Friday in a snow storm and where at the lodge by 9pm. Sugarbush has a VASS office. A small, but nice adaptive ski program. The accessibility in the lodge is okay, but getting to the lodge can be a nightmare. You need to get someone, to send someone with a sled, to pick you up at the parking lot, and bring you up to the lodge with your gear. This could take some time, a bummer when you just want to SKI! Once at the VASS office you are pretty much slope side. They have a lift in the lodge to get you to the lower level where you will find a sport shop and an accessible rest room. The people and staff are great, very helpful. The mountain ROCKS! It was very foggy the first morning. You could only see one chair in front of you on the lift. So much for the beautiful Vermont view. We skied some blues in the morning. Nice long runs. It was wet thick snow and temps where in the 40s and 50s. After lunch the fog lifted and the sun started to peak out. It was beautiful. The view was great and we could see the trail we where skiing on. We skied some of the Diamonds and went to the top on Heaven's Gate chair lift. I found the lifts to be very easy to load and off-load. The conditions where tough. It was a workout but well worth it. Lots of bumps and jumps, and thick wet snow at the bottom. Gus and I stopped skiing around two o'clock so we would not be hurting for tomorrow. Tim wanted to RAGE! until 4.

04-20-97 23rd ski day This day we got the mountain about 8:45 we where on snow by 9:45 do to a mix-up at the VASS office but it was the end of the season so "it's cool". A beautiful clear day. We headed right over to the snowboard park for some BIG AIR!. Gus had the camera and Tim had the camcorder. You would think that with two guys and two cameras I would have some nice pics, BUT NNOOOOOO!... Well there is always next season. I did get some HUGE! air but no pics to show for it, only this one of me approaching the jump. After the camera fiasco we went to the top to hit "Organgrinder". Gus the big man. "Come on dude!" "Organgrinder from the top dude!" Well when we got to the top he changed his tune. It is a steep, long run. I just pointed my rigger down and started to Rock n' Roll. It was a WORK OUT! The Heaven's Gate chair lift leaves you off at the top of Lincoln Peak. But it is not really the top. You have to push or be pushed up a hill to get to the top of Organgrinder and Jester. I was pushed . It was a steep hill about 50 or so feet up. Once you are there at the top it's a nice long run down. We skied some glades and I got some air and went into the trees. NOT FUN! I took some bark off some trees, but I came out of it okay. We skied until about 3. We where on the road at 3:45 and home at 9:30. That�s it friends. The end of my 96-97 ski season, 23 days on snow and I am a black diamond rocking, mogul running, Big Air getting, independent monoskier.

See you on the slopes in Nov. God Bless!


To see where I am going skiing next, check my Date Book


Well it's time again to hit the slopes. This page will grow through out the season as I tell you my adventures. So come back and send me some e-mail lets hook up and ski together.

Keep The Waxed Side Down!


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