By Alicia Dziak
Calling all intermediate and advanced female skiers! Your opportunity to become a better skier, try out new equipment and make new friends in the process is here. On Jan. 25 and 26, Lisa Densmore Ballard returns to Holiday Valley to lead the “Your Turn” women’s ski clinic. Ballard is a widely acclaimed coach, instructor and ski racer, and will be assisted by several of Holiday Valley’s female instructors during this two-day clinic.
Ballard’s goal is to help participants “improve as skiers, gain more confidence, meet great gals to ski with, and most importantly, have lots of fun!” She recommends the clinic to “any gal who is at least an intermediate skier or better.”
“I split everyone into ski groups according to their ability level, so even the experts, who might not feel like a typical ski school class will help them get better, receive personalized instruction,” Ballard explained. “Everyone can also demo new, well-tuned Elan women’s skis, so they have the right tool for the task. It’s the combination of good gear and good instruction that leads to a break-through in one’s skiing ability. I’ll also video analysis both days. Unless you can see yourself, you really don’t have a true clue about how you’re skiing.”
This will be the sixth year Ballard has offered the clinic in Ellicottville. The first year, she was invited by Holiday Valley’s Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh and former Snowsports School Director Ron Kubicki. Impressed with the warm welcome she received, she’s made it an annual stop ever since.
“Holiday Valley keeps inviting me back, and it’s very easy for me to say yes!” said Ballard. “The mountain rolls out the red carpet for the women who participate in the ‘Your Turn’ event. We have lots of fun! And it’s truly rewarding to help everyone improve their skiing. Some of the women come every year and some are new. Often the same local ski instructors work with me during the event. They are friends now, and this event is our annual reunion.”
The clinic includes a continental breakfast each day, talks about ski equipment and proper boot fitting, two lunches and one dinner, plenty of skiing with Ballard and HV Instructors, video analysis of each participant, demo equipment, door prizes and more.
This year, everyone who participates in a ‘Your Turn’ event (not only at Holiday Valley but also at the other 11 ‘Your Turn’ events across the U.S.) will also be automatically entered in a drawing to win a free pair of Dalbello ski boots.
As always, Ballard has accomplished a lot since her last visit to Ellicottville. “2017 was a memorable year for me,’ she said. “I have always wanted to try to win my age group on the FIS Masters Cup circuit (international masters circuit), and decided last year was my year to finally try. I juggled this with my women’s ski events around the U.S., so it was a big travel winter. After trips to ski race in Chile, Utah, and twice in Europe, I won the overall super G title for women. I believe I’m the first American woman to do this. It was such a thrill for me to hold that crystal globe!”
Ballard also wrote second editions of her two books, Hiking the Adirondacks and Best Easy Day Hikes Adirondacks for FalconGuides. Hiking the Adirondacks is now in color with more hike and more photos.
Last year, Ballard also wrote Ski Faster, and copies will be available for purchase at Holiday Valley during the clinic.
Cost of the clinic is $290 and includes two days of coaching, demo equipment, breakfast and lunch each day plus dinner on Thursday. Specially priced lift tickets will be available. Lodging special at the Inn at Holiday Valley for Wednesday and Thursday nights, Call 800-323-0020. To register, visit www.holidayvalley.com.