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A Beginner Reveals It All

A Beginner Reveals It All


 "I felt strong, athletic and aggressive. I could go faster than I ever had until that point because I felt like I could actually control my skis at higher speeds."


Last winter I moved to a mountain town and realized pretty quickly that there was no way I was going to keep up with my new friends on the slopes. The first snow day of the season, I cruised over to Alpine Meadows and strapped on an old set up I picked up at a ski swap. I wasn’t a complete rookie or gaper, but let’s just say I didn’t wow anyone that day.


I was taught to ski as a kid by my aunt and older cousins, but never really had much formal instruction past pizza and French fries. I stopped skiing sometime around middle school when lift tickets became more expensive, my aunt’s gear no longer fit me, and I started focusing on other winter sports.


During my first season in Tahoe last year, my friends off hand comments taught me more about how to ski (and how not to ski) than they realized. Comments ranged from “the idea is to keep your shoulders facing downhill,” to “your skis are way too short for you,” and one of my personal favorites, “Jill, why aren’t you using your poles?”


I had heard about Coalition skis through an all-women’s whitewater kayaking group the previous summer when I met Coalition Snow Athlete Violet Callahan and the more skiing I did the more I would stalk their site and covet the rad graphics, explanations of how they design women’s skis and the pro-female athlete messaging. One day shortly before Christmas, I emailed COO Jenn Sheridan and asked her if the SOS women's skis would be a good fit for me.

I was stoked when I received a reply right away. After assuring me she didn’t think the 173s were too tall for me (I’m 5’8 and until this point had been skiing on 158s that were only 53 centimeters underfoot), Jenn and I arranged a time to meet up for a demo.

Once I got the resort, I felt the difference immediately. I was skiing by myself and for the first time I chose to spend the whole day on black diamonds. I honestly had never even known what people meant by holding an edge until that day. It was slightly icy out, but I bent my knees and somehow didn’t skid the whole way down the slope. Instead, I felt like I was carving. I felt strong, athletic and aggressive. I could go faster than I ever had until that point because I felt like I could actually control my skis at higher speeds.

There were a few falls—I was still figuring out how to turn in that off-piste snow. But for the most part I was skiing better than I ever had and loving life. Before I knew it hours had flown by.

Almost 30 days on the slope later, I ended the 2015-16 ski season skiing through some slushy crud on my own pair of SOS skis and with a crew of girls all repping Coalition Snow gear. I’ve still got a ways to grow as a skier—special shout out to my ladies and our dude pals who are willing to wait for me at the bottom of most runs. But I’m pretty fired up to continue growing into my SOS skis—and maybe even expand my ski rack by adding in the new backcountry skis this upcoming season.


Get yourself a pair of Coalition Snow's SOS All Mountain women's skis here.


Jill Sanford is a Truckee, CA based freelance writer and outdoors woman. Follow Jill on Instagram or check out her website here.


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