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Deseret News Ski School is almost in session

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There are definite similarities between football and skiing. Same with soccer, basketball, tennis and skiing.

Having played one sport, instructors often convey in their opening remarks, will give students a step up in skiing. And, learning to ski gives students support in other sports.Which, of course, puts more emphasis on the opening of the 51st session of the Deseret News Ski School on Nov. 14.

Over the four weeks of the school, students will learn such things as balance, momentum and eye contact. And, by the end of class on Dec. 12, they'll be skiing.

There will be four classes over a five-week period. Students will have the Thanksgiving weekend off. Cost of the four classes is $15. Students must register before closing hours on Nov. 13.

The first class will be at Sugarhouse Park. Starting time will be 9 a.m. The remaining three classes will be at Alta.

During the first class, students will learn the basic stance in skiing, which is feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, hands up, eyes forward . . . "Which is the same basic stance you take in football or soccer or tennis. At this point you are balanced and are ready to move in any direction.

"The differences in skiing are that there are heavy boots on the feet and not athletic shoes, and long extenders called skis, which can sometimes feel like logs. And, of course, you slide on a slippery surface as opposed to picking up the feet and moving," said John Bartlett, a veteran ski instructor at Alta.

Registration is open to the first 1,000 students.

This is a school for entry level or beginning skiers. Instruction is intended to get the would-be skier past the fears and anxiety of not knowing what to do, to a point where the student will be able to negotiate beginner slopes with confidence and turns. The fee will include lift rides, which usually come on the final class. The school is open to skiers ages 8 years old and older.

Since not everyone who wants to learn to ski has the proper equipment, the Deseret News - in cooperation with Canyon Sports - is offering a special ski equipment rental package. For $28, students will be able to pick up skis before the first class on Nov. 14 and not return the equipment until after the final class on Dec. 12. The package includes up-to-date skis, boots, bindings and ski poles, with ski packages available for both alpine and cross country students.

Realizing some will want to continue the sport through the winter, the company is also offering season rentals at a special price - $79 for kids and $89 for adults - to Deseret News ski schoolers.

Canyon Sports' store at 1844 E. Fort Union (7000 South) is open and accepting Deseret News registrations and renting skis. Two more locations - 517 S. 200 West and its newest store at 45 W. 10600 South, across from the South Towne Mall - will open on Nov. 2. Equipment can be picked up anytime before the first class. For information call 942-3100.

Students can also mail in their entries and fees to the Deseret News, 30 First South, Salt Lake City, UT 84110, or personally stop by the newspaper offices.

There will be bus service available for the three Alta sessions. Cost of the round-trip bus service is $6. Pickup points will be at Skyline High School or the Cottonwood Mall.

Directing the school will be Alan Engen, director of skiing at Alta.

The pool of instructors will come from Alta and the University of Utah ski program. Already, instructors have been involved in teaching classes in advance of the upcoming classes.

Part of this year's celebration will be Alta's 60th birthday. As part of the celebration, it will be offering a special discount Anniversary Card to skiers. The card, if purchased before Nov. 15, will be valid the entire season, and will entitle skiers to purchase a book of 10 passes for $275.

The first class will be held in the park for a specific purpose. It was the idea of the late Alf Engen and has proven very beneficial.

Many of the first steps in skiing involve limited movement on a flat or slight incline. Students are shown how to walk, climb up a hill and to fall and get up again.

Teaching them on the grassy hills at the park, said Engen, gives them confidence without the worry of slipping and sliding. Once this has been learned, then they feel much more comfortable and pro-gress much more rapidly when they do get on snow for the first time.

Students will progress through this class, eventually getting to the point where they will know how to get on and off a ski lift and how to make linked turns down a gentle slope.

Fifty-one years of working and refining the program has turned this school into one of the best and least expensive learning tools available to new skiers.