Posted Jul 30, 2018
I have loved skiing since I was a little girl and my parents first enrolled me in ski school at age 5. Some of my favorite memories from growing up are our ski trips to Colorado with family and friends. I was so excited to take my oldest daughter Clara skiing for her first time a few years ago and now it is something we look forward to doing together every winter.
I first heard about The Inside Ski Training Center just a couple weeks ago through CertifiKID and thought it sounded so amazing…..a place in Leesburg, Virginia where you can ski or snowboard all year round! We had to try it!
When we first arrived at The Inside Ski Training Center we met the owners, Nancy and Brian who were super friendly. I filled out a couple forms and then Brian got us set up with equipment – boots, skis, and helmets. It’s all the same equipment used out on the mountain.
While we were waiting for the lesson before us to finish, Brian had Clara practice a couple things on the carpeted slope and then she was ready to try the infinite slope.
The simulator is a revolving carpet made out of a material similar to astro turf that is sprayed with water. Wondering how it works exactly? The upward revolving surface simulates the slope that slides underneath you, like a treadmill. With variable pitch and speed, the slope can be tailored to the ability of the skiers or boarders on the slope. A support bar at the bottom of the slope offers stability and confidence for less experienced students. A large mirror at the base of the slope gives you real-time feedback.
It takes a little bit of time and practice to get used to but our instructor, Nancy was so great at getting us up to speed quickly. We started out at the bottom of the slope, holding on to the bar while the simulator turned on. Then we practiced pushing off the bar a little bit and moving across the bar and slope to get the feel of things.
Once Clara was comfortable, Nancy started working with her on “pizza and french fries” and she played “red light/yellow light/green light” with her to work on controlling her speed. Nancy also had Clara “draw” shapes on the slope to help her work a little on turning. As a beginner skier, this was so helpful for Clara to work on these skills.
A group lesson is divided into 3 ten minute sessions per student (equal to a whole day of skiing out on a mountain), so Clara and I alternated our ski time. Once I was comfortable on the slope, Nancy worked with me on turning. It was extremely helpful to have the huge mirror in front of me to watch my form. When she would tell me to square my hips or shoulders I could easily make the correction by looking at myself in the mirror. Even though I’ve skied for many, many years I haven’t had a lesson since I was a kid, so this was extremely helpful! I really focused on the little things that actually do make a big difference in improving skills like pressing down on my pinkie toes while turning.
At the end of our lesson, Clara and I skied together. She stayed towards the bottom and I skied at the top. This was so much fun but a little trickier as we had to make sure we didn’t run into each other. I did fall down once and I can assure you it doesn’t hurt at all! The surface is made of soft fibers so it’s not nearly as bad as falling on ice or packed snow. The instructor also carries a hand-held remote at all times and will stop the slope immediately if you fall.
The Inside Ski Training Center is for all ages and levels. It’s especially great if you have little kids that you want to get out on the mountain with you next winter. I’m planning on taking my younger daughter Mae who just turned 5 to the training center to see if it’s something she’ll enjoy before I take her up to the mountain. It’s also the perfect place to work on your skills if you are a more advanced skier. Most importantly it’s a ton of fun! It’s such a unique thing to try as there are only a handful of these infinite slopes in the entire U.S.
Alexis is a Washington, D.C.-based mother, wife, and author of the blog, Capitol Momma. She enjoys scouting out the best kid-friendly places, activities and events in the D.C. area with her two young daughters and baby boy. Follow their adventures on Instagram @capitol.momma. Alexis received a free lesson at The Inside Ski Training Center for her and her daughter in exchange for her honest review.
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