A snowshoe and pedal to a new winter place | Imogen Massey

Today, Newsy updated their look with a bunch of slideshows on the experience of New Yorkers and Marylanders skiing at Vail, but I wanted to share my experience snowshoeing with bike along the hills in Queens and make a play for the New York market.

On December 20th, a group of 30+ New Yorkers and Marylanders, from around the New York metropolitan area, went skiing in Vail, Colorado. In a group of strangers, I was most enthralled by Craig Smith, the founder of the group, who has been skiing at Vail since 1987 and decided to take the opportunity to share his passions for life, skiing, and business with people from across the country. Craig is the owner of SkioutNYC, who sponsors skiing and snowboarding events each winter at East Hampton Racquet Club. Although skiouts are more about making new friends than learning to ski, they are a wonderful addition to the town of East Hampton. In fact, one of the top five reasons for attending a skiout is to make new friends. This year, there were ten hosts for the skiouts, and each Host took five people to the skiouts.

For this week’s skiout, Craig and I went back and forth to Vail for four days, taking our skis for a spin on open, beginner terrain (open runs are good beginner trails), and then following a similar route to Silver Star ski area, south of Vail. Craig was kind enough to teach me and four other friends how to ski, and we all went down two separate runs, connecting together. My training consisted of being a walker on an anti-gravity treadmill at Columbia, which has a surface of rock and sand that I took advantage of while skiing, and I felt great heading down the hill.

I loved the feeling of camaraderie amongst the friends we met at the skiouts, and all of us were enthusiastic about skiing in the deep snow at Vail. Vail has a great ski school and medical aid area for things like crampons or ankle issues that could arise from being down on the hill (i.e. I felt all kinds of cramps during my initial ski session). Another great perk of skiing with Craig at Vail was the informative tutorial on how the shoulder pain we all felt after skiing comes from vertebrae shifting in the air when you land. The instructional skis displayed the sounds and movements of a ski sliding, and reminded me that I was about to skis myself. I managed to get a solid workout on the slopes, and plan to do another skiout this upcoming winter.

In addition to skiing at Vail, I had the chance to see Vail’s top-secret ski school, Training Room, which are private ski lessons that are offered for members. The lessons are prepared by renowned head coach Kevin Dick and certified instructor Dave Deitz, and help to hone the alpine skills of beginners to expert skiers.

About ten minutes from Vail, the Hoodoo Snow Park provides terrain to test the new ski season, and a high-end outdoor dog grooming program.

All of these experiences were great to have while being part of a group of new friends, bonding over a love of alpine skiing and snowboarding, and setting new goals together as a group.

How does my experience on skis compare to that of a snowboarder? I prefer to use the shoulder piece from my anti-gravity treadmill to tuck my shoulder into the ski run, because snowboarders tend to skip the step and can easily fall off the mountain. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between skiing and snowboarding and it’s not just because skiing has it’s own unique ability that snowboarding doesn’t. I saw a lot of snowboarders taking advantage of some of the lifts that were more open, and that made it extremely fun to snowboard in a mountain that was full of people. I also was extremely appreciative of the luxury lift service in Vail that included the use of a hot tub, which you can’t really get from snowboarding, and very easy ski/ride transfers between areas.

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