Bethel Citizen 2/16/17

Prime Time Ski Club Column for Bethel Citizen 2/16/17 

By Terri Messer

For further information contact: 

Terri Messer at or 207-671-0715

With more than four feet of snow so far during the month of February, who can complain about conditions at Sunday River. Certainly not the Prime Time Ski Club members who have been enjoying a full trail count. (Ok, there’s “only” 135 trails open instead of 136 because Gnarnia, the trail under the Spruce Peak lift that is in the process of being replaced, is closed.) There’s been lots of groomed terrain as well as some “natural” trails, glades and terrain parks. So what’s not to like — maybe the strong winds that shut down some of the lifts and temperatures that dipped below zero less than 24 hours after climbing above the 40 degree mark. All and all there’s not too much to complain about and Prime Time members are appreciating the wonderful conditions this season.

However, sometimes too much snow can cut down on one’s enjoyment on the slopes. Skiing through deep powder isn’t always as easy as it looks, especially if you lack the confidence to ski the fall line rather than traversing across the hill. This year 15 club members decided to take group lessons, going back to the ski club’s beginnings a number of years ago as a Perfect Turn lesson group (which was discussed in last week’s column). Two groups of six members each have been taking a series of six weekly lessons with the same Perfect Turn instructor and three of our members are participating in Sunday River’s weekend seasonal program for adults called Peak Performance. Now halfway through the lessons, the participants are excited about the outcome. Said one member, “My goal was to ski steeper terrain and I have skied Vortex and Top Gun for the first time ever. The lessons began with the basics and continues to build skills. What is first accomplished on South Ridge can be used on double black diamond trails as well. It is fun to learn with peers and beneficial for practice sessions together.”

“I have been skiing forever,” another member added. “As I look back over the years, it’s amazing that I keep coming back every season as I struggled and never took lessons. Deciding that I wanted to take advantage of the latest technology in ski equipment and to stop struggling, I have taken lessons over the past five years. This year I signed up for the weekend seasonal program where you ski with a coach who gives participants a focus for the day. The great news is that it’s working and I’m looking forward to skiing well into my eighties and nineties.” A couple of the other participants said their goal was to gain confidence and lose bad habits and so far lessons have helped them with both. Next week I’ll continue with more member comments about lessons and share some tips that participants have found helpful.

As a brief aside, I was happy to be able to return to my Sunday River condo last week, less than three weeks after breaking my arm in a ski accident, and enjoyed a busy social schedule, including a game night and pot luck. I was very touched by the more than 30 Prime Time members who showed up to a luncheon at the Foggy Goggle to welcome me back to the mountain. What great camaraderie the club provides. Who needs skiing to have fun!! If you would like to experience the friendships that can develop through Prime Time Ski Club, meet us at 10 a.m. weekdays (lower level, to the left of staircase headed downstairs). After a brief time for announcements and discussion of terrain, trail closures and where the best skiing is, members usually break into small groups, based on skiing ability as well as speed and terrain preference. For more information, check out our website at

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