Wednesday, January 27, 2016

West Mountain Tower Goes Pink

If you've had the pleasure of riding the West Mountain Express at Bretton Woods recently, you might have noticed something a bit different on your ride up the mountain. In a world of white snow accented by gray lift towers and evergreens, a pink lift tower now stands boldly near the top of West Mountain.
Tower 11 has been painted pink to raise awareness for breast cancer and honor survivors, as well as those who have lost their lives and those still battling the disease. 

The resort held a Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend January 16-17 and raised $1600 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at noon in the base lodge Saturday in front of a full lunch-time crowd.

The money raised went to the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, dedicated to supporting the services provided by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, a world-renowned cancer treatment and research facility affiliated with The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Started in 1982, the friends of Norris Cotton have contributed more that $27 million to cancer research.

"Breast cancer affects hundreds of thousands of women in the United States annually. October may have already passed, but it is never the wrong time to raise awareness for a disease afflicting so many," said events and activities coordinator Veronica Fernandez in her introduction.

Jim Bonney, Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center chairperson and cancer survivor cut the ceremonial ribbon and spoke to everyone about why this is such an important effort to take part in. "We can't spread awareness enough. It is wildly expensive to research and develop. What anyone can do to donate helps fund their cutting edge research and patient services."

The donated funds go to funding world class research, state of the art equipment, critical education programs, and clinical trials which help cancer patients all over the world.

"I'm also here as a cancer survivor, diagnosed 46 years ago. I'm at least one person who is a very greatful recipient of the services at Norris Cotton Cancer Center," Bonney told the audience.

Jim explained that NCCC is one of 45 designated cancer centers in the county and the only one in New Hampshire, making it an important resource for everyone in the state.

He added that research there is "cutting edge- truly cutting edge," with scientists exploring immunotherapy as well as drugs designed to go after the genetic structure of cancerous cells and nanotechnology, using magnetic nanoparticles to destroy malignant tumors.

"This is a pernicious and prevalent disease. One in eight women are affected by breast cancer. I'd like to urge you to do something. It can be a very lonely battle. It means a lot to support that person, even if it is just a casserole." Bonner also urged everyone to make a donation that will support research and patient services, such as wigs for breast cancer survivors.

Bretton Woods will be continuing fundraising efforts for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center over Valentine’s Day weekend. Guests can contribute by purchasing pink ribbons for $1.00 or they can donate any amount at our various outlets.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Fresh Look at Skiing with the Bretton Woods Women's Alpine Retreat

Bluebird skies above and corduroy below, I rode the lift last week with a group of women who’d
taken a few days off for the Bretton Woods Women’s Alpine Retreat. We joked about how our husbands were faring at parenting without us. My husband posted on Facebook that the joke was on me because he was unloading the dishwasher and putting everything away in the wrong place. Tracey knew her clan would be eating out every night we were away. Cathy was getting phone calls from the school nurse about a playground crash.

Yet once we were on the snow, distractions fell away as we focused on the drills our coach Miki Fera had us work on.

As excited as I was to learn from a pro, before the clinic I was a bit nervous about being critiqued. I knew this was a unique chance to improve my skiing and gain more confidence on the slopes, but there’s an element of vulnerability in having someone examine your technique and provide feedback. It was a leap of faith in joining a clinic like this and hoping that I didn’t find out that I was doing everything wrong.

But not only is Miki a pro in the sense that she’s an Olympian and World Cup racer who’s traveled the world on her skis, she had an amazing ability to humbly share her love of the sport by giving me tips and techniques that tweaked the way I thought about how I moved my body and skis down the mountain.

“I want the women that join us to get confidence and see what’s possible,” Miki told me. I’ll give you a few tools, a few things you can work on. It’s just looking at your skiing from a different eye.”

Meghan McCarthy McPhaul, fellow outdoor mom and kids ski coach, picked up some tips at the retreat as well. “Its really helpful to do something like this every once in a while. You don’t always know how to correct bad habits.”  Meghan added that as a kid who grew up racing, they were always doing drills, always getting feedback, “but as an adult, you don’t get that anymore.”

At the top of the Rosebrook lift, Miki had us practice sliding along a relatively flat slope with both ankles rolled in and then both ankles rolled out. I felt like a cowboy on a horse. We giggled as we watched one another come down the hill. Later, Meghan told me that edgework was great for her to work on. “I hadn’t really thought about how much I need to work on pressuring my outside edge until we did that awkward drill.”

Yet by the time we had gotten to that silly drill, it never even entered my mind that I should feel self conscious about putting myself into a situation that might make me look silly, might even make me lose balance and fall.  Even though I hadn’t spent much time with these women before the retreat, we had some great opportunities to get to know one another. 
Miki's mom, visiting from Romania, joined us for an evening at The Spa.

The retreat started off with a wine and cheese welcome reception at The Spa, a luxurious chance to relax, have a glass of wine, and grab a chair massage in between telling stories about what brought each of us to skiing and to the retreat. 

We warmed up with some stretching in the mornings and enjoyed some painting fun on Thursday night.

For Miki, leading the retreat is a chance to do something different from being a mom, wife, and ski coach. “Being a new mom, I knew there might be other women like me that just want to get away. For some moms, it’s a way to get back into the sport. I like to be active, and it’s hard to find time to do something for myself.” She added that she knows there are also women who might not be in charge of a family, but want the companionship of skiing with other like-minded women.

That opportunity to ski for a few days with other like-minded women made me think about how different the dynamic can be skiing with just the girls. Unlike skiing with the guys, I didn’t feel the compulsion to prove myself, to prove that I belonged there. Although I’m a competitive person, I think women tend to be more supportive rather than competitive. Perhaps is it is instinctual to be more nurturing – we cheer each other on rather than talk trash.

Our duties as moms were never too far away. For this group of women, the conversation often turned to our kids and the joys and challenges of raising rippers. But for a few days, Miki’s contagious enthusiasm encouraged us to embrace our own opportunities to make the best of our ski days. I’m ready to hit the slopes again with a few things to work on, and a few new friends I know will be ready to join me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Be A Part of History at the World's Largest Ski and Snowboard Lesson

I'm a huge fan of lessons. Ski lessons that is. I realized very quickly as my kids progressed from learning how to walk around with sticks attached to their feet to riding the magic carpet to tackling the bunny hill that even though I know intuitively what my body should be doing when I ski down the hill, it's a fully different task to explain to someone else how to make the body move, and how to approach the slope mentally, to get down the hill with confidence.

For several years, January has been Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and it's a chance to get a taste for a sport that so many of us have fallen in love with. Not only do you get to learn from the professionals, but many resorts make it affordable so that getting into a sport you're not familiar with isn't a total leap of faith.

This year, there's even more incentive for you, or someone you know would love it, to try skiing or snowboarding. On Friday, January 8, 2016 at 10 a.m., ski areas throughout the country will be participating in something that has never been done before. They will all be a part of a nationwide effort to set the World Record for the LARGEST multi-venue Ski and the LARGEST multi-venue Snowboard Lessons ever taught. And the best part? Those who sign up and join in are going to have FUN being a part of it.

This record will be for the Guinness Book of World Records. Ski resorts throughout the U.S. will be offering at 10 a.m. a beginner lesson for either ski or snowboard as part of this event.

Bretton Woods is offering a “10 at 10” deal - that is, for $10 at 10 a.m., new skiers and riders will receive a Level 1 lesson AND a chance to be a part of history. The Learn to Ski/Ride Package includes a beginner lesson, rentals, and a beginner terrain lift ticket.  Reservations required at least 24 hours in advance by calling ski school at (603) 278-3303.

Save the date and spread the word. If you are a beginner who wants to learn, then join us for this nationwide effort. If you already ski or snowboard then tell your beginner friends and family members.

This is not one giant lesson but many beginner lesson groups - ski or snowboard - all taking place at 10 a.m throughout the country.  Ski and snowboard lessons are taught separately.

January 8, 2016: World's Largest Ski and Snowboard Nationwide Lesson Event ($10)
January 11 - 15, 2016: Learn to Ski / Ride FREE Week (Complimentary)
January 2016: Learn to Ski / Ride Month, Sunday- Friday, January 4 - 7 and 19 -31 ($39)

These packages are for first-time alpine skiers and snowboarders, ages 13 plus. The package includes a Learn to Ski or Snowboard lesson, equipment rentals & beginner terrain lift ticket valid for the day of the lesson.

Once you've completed your lesson, you can join those of us who love the sport and you will receive a special Explore the Woods Discount Card. The cardholder will receive a 10 percent  discount at resort retail outlets and a 20 percent discount on rentals, lift tickets, and ski school lessons for the remainder of the 2015-2016 ski season. In addition, the cardholder will have the opportunity to purchase a 2016-2017 Bretton Woods season pass for 20 percent off the early season price. Additionally all Explore the Woods cardholders will be invited to the Season Passholder BBQ on March 20, 2016.