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Its never too late to learn how to ski
Sunsports owner Denis Sandeno helps a customer pick out a new snowboard. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal
In January many look to the slopes for holiday and family fun. The latest ski report from Dodge Ridge includes 10 inches of new snowfall over the last two days. Bear Valley opened on Dec. 26 with limited terrain available, and First Tracks will open today.
“It’s looking beautiful for this weekend,” said Denis Sandeno, owner of Sunsports in Turlock.
Sandeno sells and rents ski and snowboard equipment for all ages. He said that his business is linked to the weather this time of year. When there is snow, there are customers.
“But the economy is still the economy, people are still hesitant to spend,” Sandeno said.
Despite the down economy, however, many skiers and snowboarders are not willing to give up a favorite past time. Sunsports is still seeing its fair share of new and returning customers. The shop was busy on Wednesday afternoon as people came in to get skis and boards waxed, repaired, and assembled.
Susan Reed was in the shop buying new boots and skis. She started skiing as a way to spend time with her 11-year-old son and her husband. After about seven skiing trips she decided to invest in better boots and her own pair of skis.
“I would definitely advise (a first time skier) to get the right equipment. Do not be discouraged and give it a chance,” Reed said.
Many avid skiers and snowboarders started hitting the slopes as soon as they could walk. Brittany Veeck has been skiing since she was three years old. On Wednesday she came into Sunsports to get her skis waxed and to look at new poles.
“I like trying new mountains that are faster and steeper. I love going new places,” Veeck said.
Unlike Veeck, many adults couldn’t tell a bunny slope from a double diamond. Luckily for those who have never seen snow before, skiers and snowboarders say that it’s never too late to learn.
“The great thing is that there is no age limit, no weight limit. Young, old, petite, big boned, anyone can ski,” Reed said.
Reed said she was scared to get on the lift during her first ski trip. She fell her first time off the lift, but nobody laughed or made fun of her.
“Everybody is so nice up there,” Reed said.
Sandeno said that his best advice to a first time skier or snowboarder is to get a lesson. He said that friends and family might mean well, but they are no substitute for a trained instructor. Experienced riders won’t enjoy themselves if they are hanging back with a first timer.
“You can learn to ride the right way, and while you take your lesson your buddies can ride and enjoy themselves. If they are trying to teach you how to ride then everyone gets frustrated,” Sandeno said.
Although skiing was once a sport for the rich, rentals and discount lift tickets now make it more affordable. Dodge Ridge, for example, offers a first timer package. For $79 a teen or adult can get a two-hour lesson, equipment rental, and a lift ticket. Rental gear is also available in Sunsports and most local sporting good stores that carry new skis and snowboards.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.