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Get started on slopes with Morning News ski, snowboard class

Instructor Catherine Eror encourages Kiersti Carlson, 9, down the hill at Deseret Morning News Ski School at Alta in 2005.
Instructor Catherine Eror encourages Kiersti Carlson, 9, down the hill at Deseret Morning News Ski School at Alta in 2005.
Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News

There are a number of ways people can learn to ski or snowboard.

Sometimes it's friends who become the teachers, which, at times, can be a harrowing experience for students. Tales of first-timers being taken to the top of a mountain and left there to get down on their own are not uncommon.

Then there is the full range of programs offered through the different ski schools at resorts. Professional instructors are a sure way of jumping on the learning curve quickly and effortlessly.

It was 60 years ago that the late Alf Engen came up with the idea of linking friendly classes and professional instructors and founded the Deseret Morning News Ski School.

Over the years, the program has graduated thousands of skiers and, after eight years of offering snowboard lessons, produced a couple of thousand new snowboarders.

Make it easy, inexpensive and professional, Engen would say, and people will fall in love with the sport.

Sixty years on the slopes is proof enough that Engen was right.

This year the program will start Nov. 17. Skiers will go to Alta and snowboarders to Snowbird.

For a fee of $35, students will receive three two-hour lessons from professional ski or snowboard instructors. They will begin with the basics — learning to walk with the long extensions on their feet — and finish up by making linked turns on a gentle slope.

They will also learn to load and unload from a chairlift.

The general consensus is that to bypass some of the pitfalls of learning the two sports, prospective participants should take a lesson or two.

Strange as it may seem to nonskiers, once a pair of turns is linked, in an upright position, skiing and snowboarding won't seem all that difficult.

Instruction also makes skiing and snowboarding a lot safer and more fun.

The three lessons will be Nov. 17, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.

There will be a split session for snowboarders at Snowbird. The first session will start at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 1 p.m. There will be a maximum of 150 applications for each session.

Those planning to take the snowboard school must register at Canyon Sports — 1844 E. Fort Union Blvd. (7000 South), 517 S. 200 West or 45 W. 10600 South. Entry forms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students need to make sure to register for either the morning or afternoon class.

Skiers will be able to register at Canyon Sports; the Deseret Morning News offices, 30 E. 100 South; or by mail. There is a ski school coupon in today's Outdoor section.

Each class will run for about two hours. After the first class on Nov. 17, skiers and snowboarders will have a break over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Because it's not always easy for beginning students to get the right equipment, Canyon Sports will be offering special rental programs to students.

Students will be able to pick up their equipment prior to the first class on Nov. 17 and return it after the last class Dec. 8.

Cost of the four-week rental for skis, boots, bindings and poles will be $31. Cost of the four-week rental for snowboard, bindings and boots will be $35. Special season rates are also available to those Deseret Morning News students who wish to continue skiing or snowboarding.

The school is intended for first-time skiers and snowboarders ages 8 and older. This means skiers and snowboarders who have yet to feel the crunch of snow underfoot or the exhilaration that comes from moving while standing perfectly still.

For information call 942-3100 or 237-2135.