Published on: November 12, 2021

It’s Your Turn for our women’s ski clinic

LAKE PLACID – After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Lisa Ballard’s Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic will return to the Mirror Lake Inn and Whiteface Mountain January 7-9.

Ballard, a native of nearby Saranac Lake in Upstate New York, is a former member of the United States Ski Team. Since 1991, she has hosted over 7,000 women at various resorts and ski areas around the country, including a 2019 event right here in the Adirondacks.

In those early days, Ballard teamed with Head, her ski sponsor at the time, to encourage women back into the sport who may have left skiing for personal and/or business reasons. Ballard and Head partnered with the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund and Subaru. Together, the joint effort raised some $250,000 for the NBCCF in that first year.

“I was so proud of that, but I also learned how much women want to be encouraged by and learn in an all-women’s environment,” said Ballard. “It really is a different dynamic than mixed groups of men and women. Though that program only lasted two years and I now have Volkl as my ski sponsor, I’ve taught women’s ski clinics ever since.

“I love watching everyone not only have a breakthrough in their skiing, but also gain the confidence to tackle bigger challenges both on and off the slopes. As importantly, it’s a fun time. What can be better than the chance to ski with some great gals.”

Lisa Ballard skiing
Former US Ski Team member Lisa Ballard demonstrates precision turning

Even the name of her clinics has special significance beyond the ability to arc a precise turn. Ballard says, “it’s your turn to have a great experience on the slopes. This is your time.”

As with any sport, knowledge of equipment is a starting point. This is especially central to skiing which has witnessed a sea change in the evolution of its’ gear over the past 25 years. Drilling further into the topic, Ballard feels it’s important to learn about women’s specific equipment and what the emerging trends look like.

“Your skis, boots and poles are your tools for the sport,” she continued. “You can’t use a hammer to insert a screw. We start by making sure everyone has the right tools, or at least knows what the options are.”

Thereafter, the ladies are split into small skiing groups, each with a coach who can give every skier the individual attention that she needs to ski better in a supportive environment. This is where Ballard’s trusty associate, Olympic silver and bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht, enters the picture. The three-time Olympian has spent many hours and sessions in his own clinics in recent years with both men and women.

“Everyone in each ski group has similar ability levels, attitudes and goals,” added Ballard. “Everyone helps each other, plus you’ve got a great role model with you who can explain and show you how to do it.”

Tapping into modern teaching methods used in many sports, the participants are video recorded thus verifying and collecting the feel and the real of ski technique for the student to see.

“Unless you see yourself on camera, you really don’t know if your hands are in the right spot, your skis are on edge or if your weight is in the right place, so what we do off-snow – especially video analysis – is a cornerstone of improving on the snow. Plus, everyone makes new friends and has lots of laughs together.”

When the lifts at Whiteface Mountain close, the skiers will return to the Mirror Lake Inn and further the conversations of the day. It’s a time to relax with your favorite beverage in The View Lounge or The Cottage Café, Lake Placid’s hip apres-ski spot on the shore of Mirror Lake.

For all the details on the clinic and lodging package, please log on to:
https://mirrorlakeinn.com/our-package/your-turn-womens-ski-clinic/

For further information, please email Lisa Ballard (lisaballardoutdoors@gmail.com) or Andrew Weibrecht (andrew@mirrorlakeinn.com).

Photos provided