Perfect your form before braving real-life slopes with Pro-Fit Ski & Mountain Sports’ new simulator.
In October, Pro-Fit Ski & Mountain Sports, located in Leesburg’s Virginia Village Shopping Center (34-B Catoctin Circle SE), opened its Inside Ski Training Center—effectively establishing the mid-Atlantic’s first indoor ski training facility.
Via an infinite slope simulator, owner Brian Deely and his wife, Nancy, can help beginners and seasoned skiers alike identify issues in both their boot fit and form.
“There is a joke in the ski industry that you date your skis and marry your boots,” Cindy Trochlil, Inside Ski Training Center’s marketing director and instructor said. “You really want boots that fit well.”
But the shop’s new addition isn’t only focused on figuring out whether or not the shoe fits.
“This is training,” Trochlil said. “It is a way to get better at something you want to do, so the next time you go to the snow, you are that much better and it is that much more enjoyable.”
Made of an AstroTurf-like material, the gradient and speed of the infinite slope’s revolving carpet—think a treadmill—can be controlled to mimic real-life ski slopes. But unlike an experience in the great outdoors, the machine is equipped with various safety features such as automatic stops and a hand-held remote control wielded by an instructor, all of which are PSIA/AASI certified. There’s also a bar at the bottom of the simulated slope that novices can hold on to for support.
“This takes any mistakes in your form and amplifies them,” Katie Brennan, also an instructor, said. “It is great for improving technique because you can’t cheat it. The better we can make their form in here, the better prepared they are … on the hill.”
Ensuring instant feedback, an instructor stands at the base of slope while the skier is able to observe and adjust their technique by looking into a mirror.
“Normally when we are teaching, [students] are flying right by us and we [only] get a glimpse of [their skiing technique],” said Trochlil.
But now, thanks to the infinite slope, what would normally take all day on the mountain can be accomplished in 30 minutes.
“We are at the whim of mother nature in this crazy area. Last year, we had a five-week season,” Trochlil pointed out. “We want people to be confident the first time they hit the snow for the season, which is hard in this area. You can come here and get your ski legs ready before the season starts.”
The Northern Virginia ski season generally runs from mid-December through mid-March, so long as there are five consecutive days of temperatures at or below 32 degrees—necessary to begin making artificial snow at local ski resorts.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own boots and helmets if they have them, but the facility will provide rentals if they do not. Only special dulled skis can be used on the slope’s carpet, also provided by the facility.
The Inside Ski Training Center offers both adult (13+) and kids group and private lessons, as well as a $25 30-minute conditioning session. For $199, the slope can be rented for one hour.
So, regardless of what the weather has in store, Northern Virginia’s skiers can check “hit the slopes” off their winter to-do list.