SAM Magazine—Princeton, Mass., Jan. 26, 2017—Head Skis has been working with the Professional Ski Instructors of America on a rekindled graduated-length method of learning, called Headway, which guarantees results in just one day. This “total immersion” program combines three different lengths of specially-designed rental skis with all-day instruction, and on-mountain testing of the program has officially begun at two participating resorts.
The three lengths include a shorter ski which allows for new skiers to work on balance; they then progress to a medium-length ski to work on gliding and stopping; and finally a regular length ski to perfect their steering skills. The program is being offered to anyone age 14 and up.
Wachusett Mountain, Mass., held its first session of the Headway program on Wednesday, Jan. 25, with a full class of five learn-to students made up of a mix of men and women ranging in age from 22-years-old to mid-40s. Prior to starting the program, PSIA sent an examiner to the mountain to train a small number of handpicked instructors on the curriculum of the program.
“We're all about trying the new thing to see if it works for the rest of the ski industry, so that's what we're doing with the Headway program,” said Wachusett vice president Carolyn Stimpson. “We have a very diverse clientele that is all about learning to ski, so if we have an opportunity to help accelerate that process for those enthusiastic newcomers, it's only natural we take advantage of it.”
According to Stimpson, one participant hadn't skied in more than 30 years and was “dragged to the mountain by a friend.” By the end of the day, Stimpson said, she loved it. “It changed her winter life forever.”
Wachusett's program runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and costs $299 for the lesson, rental, and lift ticket. The price includes additional perks, such as lift ticket, retail, and equipment rental discounts for future visits. The program must be booked in advance online.
Out West, the Headway program is being piloted at Colorado's Winter Park Resort. Winter Park's program runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and costs $259 when booked in advance, $269 when booked the day-of. It includes lesson, rental, lift ticket, and lunch.
Photo: Wachusett Mountain instructors show the three customized Head skis used in the Headway learning program.
Photo credit: Wachusett Mountain/Andrew Santoro