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Slopeside: Smugglers' Notch - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Slopeside: Smugglers' Notch

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. -

Even if you've been skiing almost all of your life it's never too late to take a lesson. In this week's Slopeside reporter Nick Borelli heads to Smugglers' Notch to brush up on skiing technique and check out conditions.

Like a lot of die-hard skiers, I learned to ski at a young age.

My dad, a professional instructor, got me on the slopes at the ripe old age of 2.

But even with a parent's best efforts sometimes as a little guy you just don't listen all of the time.

I can remember my dad used to always say don't lean so far back. Bend at the knees, not the waist. 

Old habits can be hard to break. That's why even for experienced skiers an occasional lesson never hurts.

Oliver Blackman is a ski instructor at Smugglers' Notch. He's been teaching for a long time.

"Full time for 23 years," said Blackmon. 

January is learn to ski and ride month, so it's the perfect time to brush up on technique.

"If you or somebody was looking to ski steeper terrain, bumps or trees, I would remind you to make your pole touch habitual," said Blackmon. 

Pole plants are used as a timing device and an anchor point for making turns.

Time to head to the steeper terrain.

Oliver encourages me to bend at the ankles, in order to keep my weight forward which makes skiing easier.

But a big part of learning as an adult is to expand your range of comfortable terrain.

"The things that we can do for people are broaden their horizons a little bit. Particularly at upper levels," said Blackmon. 

Onto a gladded bump run we go, a place I would not normally be making turns.

He says you start by mapping your path down and do your best to stay on the softer snow.

"I like to keep my skis on the uphill flatter part of the bumps, as opposed to trying to cut off the steep, icy backside," said Blackmon. 

Blackmon says the trick is repetition.

Snow conditions are nice right now. There's a firm base, with a layer of packed powder on top.

Snow surfaces are going to be changing quite a bit over the next few days. We have some warmer temperatures moving in toward the middle of the week, and even a little rain on Thursday, which will soften things up. But that won't last long. By the end of the week we turn a whole lot colder and will be back to firm and fast conditions going into the weekend. 

Whether you're checking out the mountain to take a lesson, or just making casual turns...

"Look at the mountain as something to play with," said Blackmon. 

You'll make the most progress by just having some fun.

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