The Hippo


May 24, 2020








Take a local lesson

Perhaps just as important as picking out the gear that’s right for you is taking a lesson if you’ve never skied before. Stefan Hausberger, owner of Zimmermanns Skis, Boards and More in Nashua, said the Gateway Hills Snow Park in Nashua is one of the newest local parks where you can get professional beginner’s skiing lessons.
“[The park] is perfect to gain experience sliding around on the snow before you graduate up to the mountains,” he said.
Here are some other southern New Hampshire ski hills that offer group or private lessons in skiing and snowboarding:
• Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride (615 Francestown Road, Bennington, 588-3668, offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for participants of all ages and abilities. Group and private lessons are available at varying rates. Private lessons are offered every hour from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but reservations are recommended.
• McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester, 622-6159, offers a variety of beginner’s skiing and snowboarding programs on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m. Special lesson programs for kids are available. The registration deadline for the next session of lessons is Jan. 29.
• Pats Peak (686 Flanders Road, Henniker, 428-3245, offers several lesson packages for skiing and snowboarding lessons, including a “starter special” that enters you into the four-day passport program. On the fourth day of the program, you will receive free daily equipment use and 50 percent off additional group lessons.
Get on board
Proper clothing, equipment and preparation all apply for snowboarding as well, with a shorter and softer board often working better for novices. But Hausberger said taking lessons is more critical for success when it comes to snowboarding than skiing.
“Just like anything else, there are certain tricks you can learn for everything to feel like it can just fall into place,” he said. “With snowboarding, there are a few tricks you can learn that once you learn them, picking it up becomes much faster.”
Hausberger said one of these tricks involves eliminating the tendency to face your body and feet forward the whole time, since you are facing sideways on a snowboard.
“First-timers often may have a tendency to face forward down the hill, and one thing instructors will tell you is how to focus on different parts of the terrain down there with your eyes to kind of get your brain tricked into staying sideways,” he said. “That kind of thing is so counter-intuitive to what you might think until you actually try it. It’s almost like a behavior that needs to be taught.”

Easy enough
A quick-start guide to winter sports

By Matt Ingersoll

 If you’re looking to try skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing for the first time or would like to get back into winter sports this season, check out these tips on how to get ready before you hit the snow. 

Downhill skiing
Being dressed properly and having the proper equipment are essential to having a good time, says Stefan Hausberger, owner of Zimmermanns Skis, Boards and More in Nashua.
“The No. 1 reason people try skiing and then never want to do it again has to do with the equipment,” Hausberger said. “Having good equipment is key to the experience.”
Hausberger recommends the following before you hit the slopes for a lesson:
1. Wear a warm pair of wool socks as well as long underwear, snow pants and a comfortable jacket 
2. Wear a helmet
3. Wear boots that are made out of plastic and have an insulated padded liner 
4. Find the right skis; they are often shorter for beginners
Cross-country skiing
Peter Goedecke, vice president of the Bedford Cross-Country Ski Club, said cross-country skiing preparation is a little bit different.
1. Wear lighter clothing than you would downhill skiing: “You don’t need to wear much more than a light jacket, because once you’re out there and moving you quickly become plenty warm since you’re creating a lot of heat.”
2. Try skis with fish scales on the bottom: “It’s a waxless design for people who don’t care about going too fast,” he said. “The fish scales hit on the snow and allow you to step on that grip.”
Snowshoeing is an easy and affordable way to get on the snow fast. Chris Dunn of the Strafford-based Acidotic Racing event management company shared the basics:
1. Snowshoes are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes; recreational snowshoes are typically longer and wider than racing snowshoes. Check with a local sports shop to find the right fit for you.
2. As with cross-country skiing, dressing in lighter layers is recommended. “The amount of heat generated while running in snowshoes is tremendous,” Dunn said.
3. The same goes for footwear. Avoid heavier boots or hiking shoes because of the added weight.
4. The sport’s easy accessibility means you can jump right into social activities. One upcoming local snowshoe race is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. at Beaver Brook Maple Hill Farm in Hollis. Snowshoe rentals will be available for $8 per person during registration. 

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