- Clark Vandeventer
Want to take your skiing to the next level?
I'm always trying to push myself a little further. You can always get better. So when I heard about the Peak Performance Academy at Heavenly Mountain, I said, "Where do I sign up?"
Here's how Heavenly bills Peak Performance:
"For those looking to take their skiing and riding to the next level, they need look no further than Heavenly’s Peak Performance Academy. This new set of clinics features the best of the best in snowsport education. Heavenly is home to the most members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) National Demo Teams."
I took part in the inaugural academy January 25-27.
After three days of hanging out with my coaches and fellow participants, here's what I can tell you:
Heavenly is way under-hyping Peak Performance.
You know how occasionally you'll do something and then realize after the fact that the marketing department got ahold of it and way over-hyped the experience? Yeah, I've been there too. Not with Peak Performance, though.
On the first morning we met our coaches and fellow participants at the Marriott Grand Residences in Heavenly Village. After getting acquainted, we loaded the gondola for a morning of skiing together. After lunch, we divided into two groups based on skill-level and remained in those groups for the rest of the weekend until the last few hours of the final day when we all wanted to just have fun as a group.
Peak Performance delivered what it promised. I think I can safely say I did take my skiing to the next level. I certainly saw the progress of others in the group.
But Peak Performance gave all of us something else that I don't think we were really expecting. As our group paused at the top of Milky Way before one of our final runs, we all agreed that this had been three of the best days of skiing we'd ever had.
It was about more than the coaching and the training. Camaraderie developed amongst the group. We were rooting for each other. We were having fun. We laughed and developed our own portfolio of inside jokes. We shared meals at some of Heavenly's best on-mountain dining spots and back at Heavenly Village. And, at the end of the weekend, we were all exchanging contact information and friending each other on Facebook.
For the participants who don't live in Tahoe and don't ski Heavenly all the time, they loved being with people who knew the mountain - people who could take them around to the cool spots. Our coaches even managed to find a few spots us locals didn't really know about either.
Heavenly is running two more Peak Performance Academies this season on February 8-10 and March 4 - 8. Check out the Peak Performance Academy page on the Heavenly website for more information. You can also feel free to contact me with any questions on Twitter or Facebook.
Clark Vandeventer used to wear business suits and go to important meetings. He moved to South Lake Tahoe to reinvent his life and now wears Helly Hansen gear and skis 50+ days a year. When he’s not being a professional ski bum or playing with his kids, he’s blogging. You can read about his family’s quest to work less, live more, and travel the world at FamilyTrek.org.