A Day in the Life of a Blizzard Member...

The Blizzard day is a fun-filled safe day of education, free skiing to practice what you learned in lessons, and social interaction with other Blizzard members.

Blizzard maintains an area and a desk which has an adult supervisor present at all times during the ski day. Members are instructed to leave their more valuable possessions at home, but they can bring a small bag into the Mountain House and stow it near the Blizzard Desk for use during the day. While we are not responsible for lost or stolen articles, over the years bags left within the Blizzard “area” have been safe from others. Similarly there is a Corral and racks for stowing Skis and Boards during the day while the member is inside the Mountain House. We highly recommend the use of the Corral (if present) to prevent unnecessary angst over missing or swapped equipment. 

The day starts at the mountain at 9:30AM when we arrive. If your name has been called on the bus or you were told while boarding, and you need to be classified or tested in your level, you will show up  by the Blizzard Lesson Area flags for a quick lesson assignment. After you have been classified, you are free to ski/board until your lesson time:  Typical times of lessons are: 10AM or 10:30AM. Although this is subject to change. On rare ski trip days, the ski school becomes overwhelmed and we limit our lessons to fewer levels and instruct the remaining members to practice certain skills. Please see the weekly Lesson times, provided each week and read to students on the bus.

Skier Level A, A+, B, and C lessons are at 10:00 AM*

Snowboard A and A+ lessons are at 10:00 AM

Snowboard B, C, D, E, F, and G lessons are at 10:30 AM

Skiers D, E, F, and G lessons are at 12:00 PM*

Lessons range in length from 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the level. On occasion, lessons are also available for a longer session at the beginners’ level of A (which is a minimum 2.5-hour lesson.).

All lessons are taught by a certified PSIA/AASI instructor. Higher level classes are only taught by those certified to teach at that level. Blizzard has 2 certified instructors on staff and they use the Ski School staff for most of the classes. Class size is typically a maximum of 8 students. We are very careful to ensure that students stay in level-appropriate classes and do not move up a level before they are ready. This may mean that a student can stay at a level for a significant amount of time before being advanced. A student may also be asked to step back a level to work on a particular skillset before returning to the higher level. As a student progresses the skills are more complicated and require additional time to master, so movement at the higher levels is slower than at the lower levels.

The entire point of Blizzard is education balanced with safety. We at least require that a student is classified at the beginning of the season so that we know their relative skill level. Any student below a level “C” will be strongly encouraged to attend lessons as those students are not capable of handling all the terrain at the ski area and we cannot monitor each individual from choosing their slope – even injudiciously. We advise all students at the level of "C" and below to avoid the runs called Exhibition and Superior by the quad chair at Wilmot or any of the Terrain Parks at Alpine.

The levels used by Blizzard roughly correspond to those used by PSIA/AASI. There are 7 Blizzard levels and 9 PSIA/AASI levels. Due to the lack of extremely difficult slopes at the hill we have only one level that equates to the most difficult (single Black Diamond) skiing and one less intermediate (Blue) level.

At the end of the lesson, the instructor is required to tell the student what they should practice and what are the steps to get to the next level. If anyone has been moved to the next level, the instructor reports that information back to the Blizzard Desk. The Blizzard tag will be “punched” for the appropriate level. Initially cards may not reflect the appropriate level from the previous year. This is to ensure members start each year at the appropriate skill level. Tracking lesson participation is easy - just by looking at the card and seeing if the week numbers are punched. No punch in a week, means no lesson was attended.

Since the lesson times vary, so does lunch. The resorts have a variety of lunch stations. Breakfast foods are also available. Lunch costs about $20.00 and sometimes far less. Members are welcome to also bring their lunch with them. Nut-friendly selections are available as well as gluten-free at the cafeteria. Wilmot is completely cashless, so credit cards, ApplePay and debit cards should be used. By contrast the outdoor grill at Alpine ONLY takes cash. 

Other places to spend time and money  include the Ski Shop. On cold days we often recommend that skiers and boarders pick up hand-warmers available at the Blizzard Desk (while supplies last) or at the shop for $3 per pack. I discourage the kids from spending any time at the game machines at Alpine.

The afternoon is spent free-skiing or boarding. Supervisors are on the slopes generally monitoring what is happening, but they don’t know all the members, so we rely on the Wilmot Ski Patrol and others to monitor for inappropriate behavior and horseplay. We also monitor for students skiing or boarding on terrain that is too difficult for their level. We have a full view of the most difficult slopes from our desk. The Black Diamond runs are not runs for our A, B, or C level members. While I am not as worried about the ability of our members, I am worried about the other people who choose to take these runs in kamikaze fashion and bowl down others on the slope. It also tends to have more moguls as the season progresses. There are Terrain Parks for both skiers and boarders. They are invited to participate (skiers level "D" and above.) We hold Terrain Park classes for skiers as they are most likely to be unfamiliar with skiing techniques in the Park. The classes are available for those in level “D” and higher. Over the past few years we have seen an increase in injuries (few of them have been serious) and they are almost all related to the Terrain Park. A word of caution is always advised.

We have Zero Tolerance for disrespectful or inappropriate behavior on a bus or at the Mountain towards fellow members, supervisors or others. Our goal is to provide a safe and supportive environment in which everyone can build a lifetime love of snowsports!

* subject to change