By Ann Schissler
(January 2013) How cool is Pam Fletcher? In a word, very! For those readers who may not be familiar with Pam, let me tell you a little about her. Pam is a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team who won six U.S. National titles and a gold medal at the 1986 World Cup Downhill in Vail. She is also a 1988 Olympian. Pam is currently the Marketing/Sales/PR representative for Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA.
Recently I had the pleasure and the privilege of not only meeting Pam in person at an Eastern Ski Writers’ meeting held at Waterville Valley, NH, but also participating in a ski clinic run by Pam. Her talent, exuberance and passion for the sport of skiing is remarkable and inspirational.
I have been skiing for over 40 years and in only a couple of hours, Pam helped me change the way I will ski forever! How you ask? With the help of a video camera, Pam had each of the ten people in the clinic ski in single file as she filmed us. Then after giving us several instructions, she taped us again. After several runs we met as a group to review the videos. Pam critiqued each run and we all benefited from learning from each other. Here are a few key things to keep in mind that will help improve your skiing whatever your ability:
1) Keep your shoulders parallel to the hill. Your upper body should always be facing downhill, regardless of the terrain.
2) Keep your hands in front of you. They should reach down the hill, bringing you forward. Check out “Weighting the Outside Ski” Ski Tips with Pam Fletcher video on YouTube for a great look at the exercise we practiced in the clinic.
3) Ski with your feet apart. This will not only improve your balance and stability, but will help you carve your turns on today’s shaped skis.
4) Roll your edges. Push hard on the edges of both skis and they will respond by carving your turns. Practice by standing sideways on the slope, skis apart, and roll your edges, then proceed down the slope, concentrating on each turn. You will find yourself feeling very stable, in control and carving your turns.
5) Practice these tips on a slope with a gentle pitch that you are comfortable skiing.
Pam is a pint-sized package of energy. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to meet her and have her work with me on improving my skiing skills. Thanks, Pam! I hope we’ll get to ski together again soon. Look for me on the slopes, I’ll be the one carving my turns.