Ryan’s Blog: A Gift…
Ski Club Leader Ryan Davison Crisp has skipped Europe to spend an entire season in Whistler. To conclude his epic season, he’s donned the Ski Club Leader jacket to share his new playground with lucky members.
My first experience with our Ski Club of Great Britain was back in 2007, out in the Colorado Rockies. Introducing my partner to skiing for the very first time I needed someone to ski with whilst she was in lessons. I discovered the Club’s leading service through some online research. It seemed perfect.
I’d like to say that I turned up bright eyed and bushy tailed on that first morning, but alas, I arrived gasping for air and feeling terribly unfit. Not the first impression I was hoping for. Struggling through the day, my introduction to the resort leading service was a real shock to the system. I felt rotten until the Leader assured me that it was likely I was feeling the effects of Breckenridge’s notorious altitude rather than my own lack of preparation. Revelled by such encouragement, I turned up the following day feeling more human and ended up having one of the best ski holidays of my life. The Ski Club of Great Britain was definitely for me!
After that I begun organising all my future ski trips around where there was a resort leading presence, so good was my initial two week introduction. The regular theme I begun to notice over these trips was several Leaders saying they thought I’d make a good Leader myself. A sucker for flattery and coupled with my developing admiration for the Club, the cogs began whirring and ideas forming. I set about a two year plan to “safeguard my skiing future” (as I put it to my wife).
Fast forward to the present and I am sat here in Whistler, the end of my season in sight, my first three week stint as a Leader in my own right completed, the two year adventure almost over. Was I successful in “safeguarding” my skiing future? I’d like to think yes. My training with ALLTRACKS Academy has most certainly taken my skiing from one level and catapulted it to an entirely different one. Also, I’m delighted to say that my first experience as a Ski Club Leader has assured me that it will continue to play a huge role in my life going forward. I loved it!
My three weeks as Leader at Whistler-Blackcomb seemed to go in the blink of an eye. Time flies when you’re having fun eh? For sure it does. Meeting new people every other day, all uber keen and enthusiastic about their skiing never felt like hard work to me. I had a mix of people, from those that had never skied North America to a few that had been coming to Whistler year after year. Having been out here for the season, I was pretty confident in showing off its goods, both the secret spots and the greatest hits. Judging myself on smiles alone, the ultimate Leaders’ reward in my opinion, I felt pretty assured in my role.
Although my leading slot was primarily in April, we were mostly blessed with excellent conditions, including several genuine fresh tracks powder days. But even in the latter part of my second week when the resort experienced some very testing conditions, the group always had fun and ended the day with high-fives all round and an après session full of laughter. A ‘bad’ day spent skiing in the mountains, is usually better than the very best day at work. I think that’s the beauty of skiing. The beauty of being in the mountains. The beauty of sharing experiences with like-minded people. It’s a gift.
Back in the December of 2012 I was very proud to become a Ski Club Leader. I stood amongst good company and have since watched many of them enjoy their own leading experiences whilst I navigated my own ski adventure. I am now delighted to have chalked up my first slot and look forward to many more in the future. We’re all different us Leaders. We will all have our own unique styles and approaches. I certainly do! However, one thing I believe we will all have in common is that upon hearing things like “that was the best day skiing I’ve ever had”, “no way did I think I could ski that”, “thank you”, or “that was amazing, I owe you a beer”, we’re encouraged to keep going.
For me personally, the ability to create new experiences for skiers and boarders is one I don’t think will ever get old for me. I love it! As I say, it’s a gift.
So for all those that joined me this season, I say thank you. It was a blast! To all those that make the Leaders programme possible, I also extend my humblest thanks. And going out on a limb here, I hope nobody minds, but speaking on behalf of all fellow Ski Club Leaders, we thank each and every one of you that joined us this season. Thank you!
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Ski Club as a volunteer Ski Club Leader, find out more about the training programme on www.skiclub.co.uk.