Guest Blog: Amy’s Experience at JHMR’s Camp Elevate!

February 2, 2017

Before my experience as a scholarship winner at the elevate ski camp, I knew I was using my family as an excuse. An excuse not to put myself in the middle of activities. It became easy over the years to focus on supporting others to reach their goals while not pushing myself to do the same.  When faced with the opportunity to face my own fears and goals, to be the one who was supported-to be honest, I was terrified.  

I cried watching my husband and youngest daughter drive away when they dropped me off in Jackson. I have not spent more than two or three days away from my family, and NEVER by myself. This was an experience facing fear that I hadn’t expected. I knew I would survive, but would they? Surely, they wouldn’t survive without me. As it turns out, of course, it was a smooth week at the homestead.  

The first minutes of the first day of camp were overwhelming. I was so jumpy.  I dropped a pole and a ski and had stuffed my lift ticket too deep in my pocket to get through the gondola turn stile . Many thanks go out to the lifties, and my very patient teacher Shelby. By mid-morning, we were separated into ability groups and enjoying skiing and getting to know each other.

Over the week I heard some outstanding stories of adventure. The experiences of heli-skiing, safaris and living in other countries-seem so far flung from my regular life, I couldn’t help but be inspired. To be surrounded by an amazing group of “go for it” women really brought me confidence.

The feeling of camaraderie was as important in this process as the ski instruction. Facing down the steepest ski slopes I’ve ever seen isn’t something I’ve ever thought of as fun. With kids that ski race, this type of skiing is a skill I need so I can keep up and watch their races. Being with a group that was learning to ski moguls and trees for fun was the push I needed to get my butt in the game and try. One of the toughest things I learned was pointing my skis over the top of a steep black run, making a plan of attack and willing myself to go down the hill. Yikes! Makes me sweat just writing that!  When my team-Natalie, Terry and Kathleen whizz right down a steep that looks impossible, I had to get myself together and keep up! This was peer pressure used in the correct way.

I learned to have more confidence in myself and to keep trying. Falling down is not the worst thing to happen. Every time I fell, I learned something. Once, when I fell there was someone who helped me back up. Another time, I learned to have a plan when going around moguls (something I suggest to everybody!). The most important technical skill I worked on was slowing down. This enabled me to begin to tackle the tougher terrain with less fear.

Thank you to the women of the Jackson Hole Babe Force. I love what you are doing for the sport of skiing. I am grateful, both as a woman and as a mother of five to be included in your scholarship program. I wouldn’t have seen myself as worthy for this type of experience. It has changed the way I look at skiing and facing all types of fear. Meeting you and sharing in your experiences has made an indelible impression on my life and it will, in turn, change the life of others.