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Magic Carpet Ride
By Lyn Kidder/For the Ruidoso News
Dec 3, 2004, 07:30 am


Wild West Ski Shop owner Dave Anderson gives a demonstration of the Endless Slope Ski and Snowboard Deck. (Photo by Frederic Moras)

The first day of skiing or snowboarding used to be a painful and frustrating series of face plants in the snow.

It doesn’t have to be that way, according to Dave Anderson, owner of the Wild West Ski Shop and now a proud owner of the Magic Carpet — an essentially fall-proof way to learn to ski or snowboard.

Anderson, who has taught skiing at Ski Apache since 1978 and snowboarding since 1994, first learned about the carpet from his students.

“I would be teaching a beginning class, and I’d notice that a few of the kids would be a lot better than the rest,” Anderson said. “When I asked if they’d snowboarded before, it turned out that they’d never been on snow, but they had a lesson or two on the carpet. Once they got on the snow, they learned faster and had a better time.”

The Endless Slope Ski and Snowboard Deck consists of an angled carpet about six feet wide and eight feet deep. The student is supported by stainless steel bars in front and back and by a safety harness worn around the waist.

“It’s like moving down the mountain, except that the carpeted slope moves under you rather than you moving down the hill,” Anderson said.

Anderson begins the lesson by getting on the carpet himself and giving a short demonstration. Then he helps the student put on the boots, strap on the board and stand up.

With the student’s board pointing straight downhill, Anderson holds on to the front of it and turns on the carpet. When the student is comfortable with the sensation of movement, he begins to guide the board from side to side, instructing the student to pivot his or her feet.

“You never have this luxury on the hill,” he remarked.

When the student can pivot, Anderson lets go of the board and gives instructions for turning. “Flatten the board, twist, now up on the toes.” He can stop the carpet instantly via a remote control that he keeps in his hand.

“This is a way to learn the basics in a really safe way,” he said. “You avoid the pain of that first day. It’s also more comfortable in that you’re not outside with the wind blowing snow in your face and people buzzing by you.”

Anderson also gives private skiing and snowboarding lessons at Ski Apache, and can give a follow up session to help students transition from the carpet to the snow.

The Endless Slope is not just for beginners.

“I have instructors and people who work at ski shops — excellent skiers and boarders — who do a session on the carpet to work on technique,” he said. “It’s a safer way to learn to do a 180 or 360 degree turn than trying to do it on the mountain.”

Anderson will have the Magic Carpet at Snowblast Ruidoso, a ski and snowboard show at the Ruidoso Convention Center Dec. 17-18.


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