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
“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.