Alyssa Miller

S-turns on the slopes

January 31, 2012 by Alyssa Miller, AOPA Online Managing Editor

I never would have thought flight training would help me on the ski slopes. But when Scott Edison, an instructor at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Mont., started teaching me how to adjust my bodyweight and bend my knees going into and out of turns, my mind immediately associated the task with S-turns.

We didn’t have a whiteboard session; instead, he drew the turns in the snow with his ski pole and walked through them bending and straightening his knees as he flowed through the “maneuver.” I couldn’t help but think of how I walk students through S-turns, steepening the bank angle while turning downwind and shallowing it going into the wind.

I also couldn’t help but smile at the complimentary, reassuring praise he gave me after each small accomplishment—getting off the magic carpet successfully in the training area, learning to turn and stop, and mastering my first run with him—mirroring the aviation instructor-student relationship.

After one run, he told me I was ready to solo, which stirred up some anxiety…but not as much as my first solo in a Cessna 172 more than a decade ago.

3 Responses to “S-turns on the slopes”

  1. jon eden Says:

    Really enjoyed meeting you on your cold lesson day. Your article is getting passed around to everyone’s delight. Are we going to get to see you again this year? Can’t you just hop into a 172! Jon

    ps….you did know that Scott’s BSR had lapsed

  2. CRAZEDpilot Says:

    It’s a good (and fair) analogy :) Keep up the skiing and the flying ! :P

  3. Philip Says:

    Yet another reason to fly, it makes you a better skier. I remember my first solo too, wasn’t to long ago actually. I’m excited to be a new pilot!

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