"Learn to Ski/Ski Better/Ski My Best"  SkiMyBest Contents  Synopsis  Choosing an Area to Ski  Skiing the Colorado Rockies  EpicMix of Vail Resorts  Why and How to Take a Ski Lesson from a Professional    How to Pick a Ski Instructor  Bill Jones, Ski Instructor  How To Reserve a Private Ski Lesson with Bill Jones   Ski Slope Ratings  Skier Skill Lesson-Levels 1-9  Skiing as a Career   Lnks to Skiing Websites  The Colorado Winter Outdoors   Books and Videos  Skiing Humor  A dedication... Contact Bill Jones Skier videos
"SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT"--a skiing web manual: contents (topics at page bottoms of manual)
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BILL JONES, Ski Instructor: Summit County, Colorado    
Certified Professional Ski Instructor (Registration #110478), Level III


Greetings fellow skier,

What anticipation there is looking forward to again slide down slippery slopes and feel the exhilaration of motion and the performance of our bodies in a clean white landscape! And with no mosquitoes or pesky flies as on summer excursions! We can again hope for those feelings of accomplishment when we succeed on a slope that had been difficult, improve a race time, tweak a little movement or balance position during a turn and sense the result, or watch a friend or family member do the same and see joy light them up.

Skiing is a sport we do. It is unlike so many sports we watch. There are skiers in their 80s—even ski instructors in their 80s—and skiers not yet two years old. It is truly a lifetime sport.

Sometimes I wonder why people ski. I even wonder why I ski. I cannot quite understand the sport’s draw. It is almost narcotic. Mostly the sport is not convenient. It is done in the cold. Its clothes are bulky and restricting. It can produce fear. It takes time from other activities and it costs money. It is not normal in the development of humans to slide or to use our muscles and joints in quite the same way as we do in skiing. Yet I and many are drawn to it time and again. Some cannot stay away and even arrange their lives to reside near a slope.

If you are reading this, you are one of those who like me is stuck on desire to do the sport again this winter as often as we can—and even to do it better than before. For me that means not only skiing for myself in what is about my 60th year of doing so, but instructing others again, for something like 34 years now. I suppose I have enjoyed the sport so much that I want to share it and to encourage others to try it out, or if they have already tried it to help them find ways to get even more from the sport. And I keep trying to improve, too, having again this autumn taken a two-day on-snow workshop to brush up on old technique and catch up on new. That clinic and more that I have scheduled will help me keep up, at least in understanding of the sport, with my grandson, who is now approaching the top of the heap of young American ski racers as he follows in the racing footsteps of his dad, mother, sister, cousin, and uncle.

Being based at Keystone (one of the Vail Resorts ski areas) I can give private lessons at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek/Arrowhead. I am also able to teach at Arapahoe Basin and even any resort with special arrangements. Because I have taught at all the named areas in the past, I can take you to the best terrain at each for your stage of skiing so you get the experience you want. Together, we can make the ski-sport more fun for you—with whatever you seek in skiing whether it be improved technique, new terrain, a family experience, just a ski guide or a fellow to ski with, or a combination of learning and exploring—your call. I’d like to share my ideas on how to help you enjoy the sport so you can “learn to ski/ski better/ski my best”.

 Thanks for skiing with me in the past. I hope to have the privilege this winter, too.                  

Once again I invite you to look over my website If you’ve been to the site before, you may have reviewed some of the tips in its included ski manual “Skiing is a Sliding Sport”; one dealing with the new wider skis is included with this letter. Too, I respond to queries about ski technique or anything else relating to the sport—including advice on planning your ski trip and lessons.,%20Videos%20&%20Resouces/GOwithApro(3-color)logo.gif“Let’s Ski!”

Bill Jones

Professional Ski Instructors of America—
(Registration #110478), Certified Level 3 (Gold)
website of Bill Jones:
home phone: 970/468-7673 (may leave message)
cell phone: 970/390-8821 (if no answer also call home phone & leave message both phones)
home address: 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498 USA
Bill Jones


To book a private session with Bill Jones at Keystone, Beaver Creek/Arrowhead, Breckenridge, or Vail, call the Keystone Ski School
1/800-255-3715 any day 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST.

You can also review for prices and cost-savings tips. 






Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.01.11 pmIf you have been tracking my grandson Riley Plant’s ski racing progress, here is a picture of him from last ski season. (A technical note: How close together should his skis be? Visit for ideas. Another technical note: See how his skis are bent into arcs, enhanced by tipping his body, the arcs causing him to turn. For more on this, visit This year he is skiing for Middlebury College in Vermont. (A recent slalom finish for him was 27th out of 199 racers. For his age group he is 10th best in USA in slalom and 61st in the world. For his age group in giant slalom he is 8th best in USA and 45th in the world.) Thanks to those who have taken an interest in his efforts and helped support his quest.














SKI TIPS 2014-2015

Unlike some recent years, there is not a lot new in the ski world this year. You probably know the aspects of rocker in skis, but if you missed ideas about this design factor, see and scroll down to “Camber and Rocker”. Following are some articles from my “Learn to Ski/Ski Better/Ski My Best” website:

Wide Skis  (see

Why are skis now wider? Eric Gerrmann tells why wide skis became popular, June 16, 2010:

“People ask us all the time about the width of skis... Will a wider ski perform well on groomed terrain? Will I be able to turn a wide ski? Are these skis only made for deep snow?

Skis waist width has been creeping wider over the last few years offering skiers a variety of wider platform choices. With so many wider ski options its hard to believe that so many skiers still haven't made the switch. A long time skiers initial thought seems to be... "Those look like waterskis!". Turn initiation and quickness edge to edge may present more of a challenge by being on a wider platform, but its not as difficult as you may think.

Added float is a huge benefit of having a wider ski. Whether its fresh powder or spring time slush, the greater amount of surface area will blast right over it. The construction quality of wider skis has improved drastically over the last few years. The skis are designed with deeper sidecuts in the shovel, or the tip of the ski, for easy turn initiation.  

Torsional rigidity has also improved dramatically since the conception of wider skis.  With better torsional stiffness wider skis perform exceptionally well on groomed and hardpack conditions. The torsional stiffness decreases chatter at higher speeds, and allows the ski to have increased edge hold on hardpack snow. 

Another huge advancement in the progression of wide skis are the ski bindings. Manufacturers are now making bindings specifically designed for wide skis. These bindings are wider and more rigid laterally making it easier to roll the ski edge to edge and more compact allowing the ski to have more flex. They also raise the skier higher off the snow allowing for more leverage to engage the ski. The way the wide-ride binding grips the boot adds for a increased level of responsiveness, when a skier is transferring from one edge to another.  Marker has done an awesome job of designing their "Royal Family" of bindings including the Marker Jester and Marker Griffon.

Wide skis take skiers to a new level of versatility by combining added float, without completely sacrificing edge hold and agility.  Whether your skiing on or off trail, in deep snow or hardpack a wider ski gives you the unique experience of being able to handle it all.  So don't be afraid to hop on a pair, it really changes the game.”  [end of quote]

An alternate view: Depending on the snow, you may not need extra flotation from a wider ski. Even though improved materials now provide greater torsional stiffness, a narrower ski may still be stiffer torsionally and also take less time and effort to move it from edge to edge. Consider a narrower ski for groomed- or packed-snow surfaces, but if  you are in powder much, at least have a wider ski in your quiver or at your rental shop. (Manufacturers report demand lessening for wider skis.)  Over                             

SKIING HUMOR  (See new invention should end the debate about whether the snowboard or the ski is the best tool for snow sliding!

A Skier's Dictionary (abridged)

Alp: One of a number of ski mountains in Europe. Also a shouted request for assistance made by a European skier on a U.S. mountain. An appropriate reply: "What Zermatter?"
Cross-Country Skiing: Touring on skis along trails in scenic wilderness, gliding through snow-hushed woods far from the hubbub of the ski slopes, hearing nothing but the whispery hiss of the skis slipping through snow and the muffled tinkle of car keys dropping into the puffy powder of a deep, wind-sculpted drift.
Exercises: A few simple warm-ups to make sure you're prepared for the slopes: *Tie a cinder block to each foot with old belts and climb a flight of stairs. *Sit on the outside of a second-story window ledge with your skis on and your poles in your lap for 30 minutes. *Bind your legs together at the ankles, lie flat on the floor; then, holding a banana in each hand, get to your feet.
Gloves: Designed to be tight enough around the wrist to restrict circulation, but not so closefitting as to allow any manual dexterity; they should also admit moisture from the outside without permitting any dampness within to escape.
Shin: The bruised area on the front of the leg that runs from the point where the ache from the wrenched knee ends to where the soreness from the strained ankle begins.
Ski!: A shout to alert people ahead that a loose ski is coming down the hill. Another warning skiers should be familiar with is "Avalanche!" - which tells everyone that a hill is coming down the hill.
Traverse: To ski across a slope at an angle; one of two quick and simple methods of reducing speed.
Tree: The other method.

Kids’ joke:
“How many winter months have 28 days?”                                         Answer on top of next page.                                  

Answer to kids’ joke prior page: “They all do!”


Which Conventional Skiing Wisdoms are true--if any? Always, or sometimes? Why? Why not? Actually, there is some or much truth in a number of these beliefs, but many have pitfalls. Some are downright wrong. In Learning to Ski/Ski Better/SkiMyBest, have an open mind. A conventional wisdom may have become part of your skiing style, so feels "right" just as the wrong use of a word in a sentence may "sound" right to you because you have used it that way many times. Thus a modification of ski technique might be logically better, but not feel as good as your pet Conventional Skiing Wisdom does--at least at first.

CONVENTIONAL SKI WISDOM #13: “Don’t wax skis; they would then go too fast.”

In alpine skiing, the purpose of waxing is to make skis more slippery. Fortunately, modern skis do not require as much attention to waxing as earlier models but there are still snow conditions where the right wax will make the skis less "sticky" in the snow. Waxing skis will not only make them go faster when pointed downhill but also make them easier to turn. That's our focus here: to make the skis easier to turn. Then we can change the direction they point more readily and position them in ways they won't run as fast. It will also reduce the effort to turn them, saving our legs for dancing or whatever. Sometimes on gentle slopes the skis will slide only slowly or not at all. Walking down such hills is obviously not preferred but sometimes is required on poorly maintained skis. Too, if you have ski that slides well, you can gather enough momentum skiing down a slope so that you can carry your speed up a rise, saving climbing up the rise.

CONVENTIONAL SKI WISDOM #23: "Skiing makes my thighs hurt (or calves, or etc.)"

Yes it may! But here are some defenses:
1) Get in shape--or better yet, be in shape.
2) Have good equipment that is well maintained so your skis can slide better and be turned more easily, being slippery.
3) Have boots that can be flexed forward so that you can bend your ankles, thus allowing you to move downward without moving backward, and so stay in balance over your foot’s center.
4) Move while skiing so that you rest some muscles while firing others.
5) When initiating a turn, rise and move somewhat forward so your body stays perpendicular to the angle of your skis on the slope. This will invoke use of the hamstring muscles on the backs of the thighs and give the thigh muscles (quads) a little relief.
6) Use technique that is efficient. Improve your technique so that it is--and so that it is versatile for different situations. Learn to use your skis as tools to turn you and to manage speed. 
7) Ski terrain that is within your fitness and skill levels.
8) Manage your exposure to altitude, fatigue, weather. Take breaks, hydrate, refuel with food.
9) Etc.    

What will be learned in each level and should be doable before the next level:

*Aware of the Responsibility Code
*Put on/take off equipment and complete flat terrain activities
*Demonstrate side stepping and movement patterns from foot to foot
*Learn to get up independently after a fall
*Glide in a straight run and use counter slope to stop
*Glide with varying wedge size
*Safely ride the Magic Carpet
*Demonstrate balanced, dynamic stance while sliding

*Develop balance and mobility, skating and herring bone
*Comfortable gliding in a wedge and adjusting wedge size to stop
*Demonstrate slight direction changes through turns in a gliding wedge
*Turn out of the fall line to a stop in both directions (J turn)
*Control speed by starting to link turns in both directions
*Demonstrate Edge control movements

*Knows Responsibility Code and skis in control
*Safely ride a chair lift
*Control speed and direction through linked turns
*Match skis between turns
*Demonstrate varying turn sizes and shapes
*Skid skis slightly at the end of the turn in both directions

*Ski beyond the beginner chair lift
*Balance on outside ski while completing a turn in both directions
*Steer inside foot to match skis at end of turn
*Manage speed through skidded turns on varying green pitches
*Control speed through varying turn size and shape on green runs
*Consistently ski in a parallel stance after the fall line

*Models the Responsibility Code
*Demonstrate proper pole position and usage
*Consistently hockey stop in both directions
*Perform skidded and carved turns in both directions
*Comfortable linking turns in control on gentle blue terrain
*Consistently ski in a parallel stance slightly before and across the fall line

*Demonstrate dynamic movements to match more difficult blue terrain
*Balance and turn on one ski (outside ski to outside ski)
*Consistently use poles for timing and rhythm
*Blend dynamic turns and tipping movements into skiing
*Ski un-groomed blue terrain
*Ski easy bumps in control
*Ski a groomed black run in control
*Consistently ski in a parallel stance throughout the turn

*Demonstrate the Responsibility Code
*Demonstrate rail road track turns on green and blue groomed terrain
*Confident in bumps on more difficult blue terrain
*Ski groomed black runs in control with confidence
*Blend technique and tactics to match terrain
*Make short turns with upper and lower body separation

*Understand big mountain safety
*Demonstrate dynamic turns on steep terrain with confidence
*Confident in bumps and trees on more difficult blue/black terrain
*Comfortable on off-piste terrain
*Center of mass consistently moves down the hill
*Blend technique and tactics to match more difficult blue/black terrain

*Demonstrate big mountain safety
*Identify and ski different lines in variable conditions, powder and crud
*Blend technique and tactics on all double black terrain
*Use poles to stabilize upper body in off-piste terrain
*Ambassador of the Ski & Snowboard culture 


BOOKS & VIDEOS—Advertisement
Through an arrangement with VistaBooks (, the following items can be supplied. Not all are kept in stock, so allow plenty of time for shipping. Add $3.50 per order (not per item) and send check to Bill Jones, 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498. Include your shipping address.
The Yosemite in Winter: an 1892 account. by James M. Carson, with extracts from John Muir's writings. An appreciation of Yosemite Valley's winter character and an early history of the first winter residents, with passages from John Muir, also a year-round valley resident in the early days. Reports of floods, in which trees were swept over the waterfalls, of the ice-cone at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall, snow-banners flying off rangecrest peaks, use of "snowshoes" (skis, today) to bring in the mail, winter-time climatic differences between north and south sides of this deep east-west trending valley due to shadows. Foreword by former Yosemite Chief Park Naturalist William Jones. Period engravings. 16 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-89646-053-9. Order #: VIST0053 paper$3.95
The Bluffer's Guide to Skiing. ISBN: 978-1-90604261-5. Order #: INPU8424 paper$7.95
Explore Winter! ages 6-9.
ISBN: 978-0-97850375-8. Order #:
NOMA8596 paper$12.95
Skiing in Fine Art and Design
. ISBN: 978-336100653-9. Order #:
INPU8438 cloth$39.00
Teton Skiing: a history & guide
. Thomas Turiano. Explore the history of skiing in the Tetons and take a tour of some of the spectacular ascents and descents, with descriptions of approaches to and from the ski routes. ISBN: 978-0-943972-43-5. Order #:
HOME6810 paper$18.95
Ski Like a Diva, by Jennifer & Jeff Bergeron. Explains special considerations for women skiiers. Contact Boot Fixation at Norway Haus, Main Street, Breckenridge, CO. Or order #PUBE8754 paper$8.95
Skiing: a guide to the Colorado high country
. ISBN: 1-55838-073-6 . Order # PRIM7600 paper$6.95
Downhill In Montana: Early Day Skiing in the Treasure State and Yellowstone National Park: by Stan Cohen. Alpine skiing in Montana and Yellowstone National Park has a rich past dating from the late 19th century. From simple homemade rope tows to present high-speed quad chair lifts and trams, the history of over 60 ski areas is illustrated in this book in black and white and color photographs, newspaper articles, correspondence, ski patches and personal accounts. 8 1/2"x 11", 278 pages, full color, 500 photos, maps brochures, letters, charts. Paper: $24.95.  ISBN 978-1-57510-136-1. Or DVD, 96 minutes: $19.95
 A Pictorial History of Downhill Skiing. by Stan Cohen. Here is a bountiful collection of photographs and illustrations, drawn from archives all over the United States, showing the history of downhill
skiing since 1850. Included are photos of what is perhaps the nation’s first ski lift, photos of 19th Century gold miners who schussed the slopes of the Sierra Mountains, ski fashion photos, photos from the 1930s and 1940s—the boom years of American skiing—as well as an unusual compilation of early 20th Century ski-jumping photos. More than 500 images are presented with a concise narrative outlining the history of the sport in America. 8 1/2" x 11", 256 pages, 500+ photos and drawings, full-color cover, 12 pages of color inside, $14.95. ISBN 978-0-933126558. Bird of Passage: The Story of My Life. by Otto Lang “ . . . vivid account of an interesting life, highly readable and very gentlemanly. Lang tells his story adeptly, almost gossip-free. That’s surely one reason that a dedicated ski instructor got as far in Hollywood as he did.” —Chris Goodrich, Book Review, Los Angeles Times. 6"x9", 380 pages, 96 photos. Paper, $19.95. ISBN 1-575100-26-6.                                                                                                                                                       


 Games of ’36: A Pictorial History of the 1936 Olympics in Germany. by Stan Cohen. This is a story about people and events that took place more than 70 years ago in Nazi Germany. It has all the elements of a great novel—power struggles, political intrigue, anti-Semitism, treachery, personal triumph and patriotism. It is the story of the 1936 Summer Olympic games held in Berlin and the 1936 Winter Olympics held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. 8 1/2"x 11", 248 pages, over 300 photos, diagrams, newspaper clippings, 12 color pages, paperback, $19.95. ISBN 1-57510-009-6



’s Gold: The Story of Gretchen Fraser, America’s First Gold Medalist in Olympic Skiing. by Luanne Pfeifer. “Gretchen’s Gold rates a platinum. It’s fastidiously researched, historically au point, inspiring and fascinating throughout.” —Doug Pfeiffer, Vice President of the International Skiing History Association and the editor of Skiing Magazine from 1963 to 1976. 6"x9", 184 pages, 90 photos, hardcover, $19.95. ISBN 1-57510-019-3




 Even. by Dick Barrymore. It was the winter of 1969 in Sun Valley. Ski film maker Dick Barrymore had just tried a pair of skis from a new American company. He loved the way they performed and called the company suggesting he shoot a film with the skis as the star. The company agreed to sponsor the film—and pay Dick with a pair of the skis. The rest is history. Barrymore became a well-known movie producer. 6"x9", 344 pages, 60 photos, paperback, $15.95. ISBN 1-57510-037-1







Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter, by May Theilgaard Watts and Tom Watts. Key to identifying deciduous trees in the winter (when they've lost their leaves) by examining twigs and other features. Describes parts of the twig and their function. Line drawings show twigs, buds, fruits, shape, habitat, and range of trees. Covers US and Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, except Florida. ISBN 0-912550-03-1. 64 pages. Order # NASG0998 paper $3.95


Yosemite: The Story Behind the Scenery. by William R. Jones, former Chief Naturalist of Yosemite National Park. Not a winter book but one written by Bill Jones, Ski Instructor.  Scenery, geology, history, plants and animals. Order # KCPU738 paper$11.95

Send orders to Bill Jones, 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498. Add $3.50 per order (not per item) for shipping. Include your shipping address with check. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.






FREE VIDEO: “Get Schooled with the Pros at Vail Resorts”. By Warren Miller. Limited supply; will ship free--first asked, first served. Send ship-to address to Bill Jones; 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498

 WALK-EZ: alpine ski boot walking accessory. The Walk-EZ Revolutions are clip-on attachments for the soles of ski boots that provide a safe, gripping surface and Rakuten: Residual value! WALK-EZ REVOLUTIONS( war Keyes revolution ...have a curved form which allows a skier to help eliminate a primary complaint that skiers have - walking in their boots. The product folds in half for storage. S (men’s 8-9.5) and XS (women’s 7-8.5). $20 shipped free. Check to Bill Jones; 637 Blue Ridge Rd., Silverthorne, CO 80498. Include ship-to address.




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