WINTER PARK, Colo. — T.J. Connolly glided downslope for a few yards, turned and watched. The skier she was observing then was encouraged to make his way toward her so she could have a look at his technique.
The skier swooshed his way down, doubtlessly using all the skills he’d picked up over the past few seasons. Now, it was critique time. "OK, I’ve seen what you’re doing, and you are better than what I thought,” she said with a distinctive Aussie accent. "But I’ve noticed some things you’re doing wrong, so we’ll try to fix that.” Connolly spends the bulk of her year on the slopes, either in this hemisphere or places south of the equator. She earns her living as a ski instructor, and she knows her business. The fact is that too few people take advantage of her services. Ski school is sometimes wrongly thought of as something just for kids, but the truth is too many skiers and snowboarders overestimate their abilities or learn from all the wrong places. For those who learned to ski as an adult, they probably took tips from more experienced friends and have unwittingly allowed bad habits to hinder their abilities. Others may have had more formal instruction and revisit the slopes a couple of times a year. But Connolly sets the record straight: Going skiing or boarding for 20 straight years (but only once or twice a season) does not make an expert.