Next winter, I am planning to really focus my winter on teaching skiing. I am a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). PSIA has three levels of certification for ski instructors and I'm currently certified at the second level. Getting a level III certification is much more difficult than level I or level II, as it should be. It is my goal to get that level III certification at some point, but I really need a winter where my focus is on skiing and teaching and not so much on training for ultras. After I got accepted into Western States for this year, I decided to reduce my focus on skiing this winter and focus on the race instead.
In a typical ski season, I ski about 50 days. This winter, I probably won't ski 40 days, and I haven't taken a single day off work to ski this winter. Next winter, I hope to ski 60 or more days as I focus on my level III skiing exam.
So, what's all of this got to do with the subject line above?
We currently have a winter storm warning posted for overnight. We are going to get another 6"-10" of snow by Sunday morning, with more likely in the mountains. We are expecting another big storm on Tuesday night or Wednesday.
It seems like I picked the wrong winter to run more and ski less. Right now, I have more snow in my yard than at any other time in the 10 winters I've now spent in Vermont. This winter would have been perfect to focus on skiing rather than running. If the month of March is anything like March of 2001, I will have snow halfway up the windows on the ground floor of my house soon.
But, if I could choose between a finish at Western States and getting my level III PSIA certification, I'd take the Western States finish. I love both sports and both goals are difficult, but the running is a bit more important. So, I'll gladly ski when I can this winter and hope that next winter is just as snowy as this one.
I often wonder what I would do if I had to choose between skiing and ultrarunning. I have suffered two knee injuries while skiing that have affected my running, including one in 2002 that caused me to undergo surgery and miss Western States that year. Hopefully, I'll never have to make the choice to pick one sport over the other, and I'll participate in both for many more years.
For now, I'll plan on running a bit this evening and then really enjoying the snow this weekend.