Many families head to the slopes for winter fun. Learning the rules of the mountain and how to ski or snowboard properly can enhance both fun and safety. One Portland family has found a long-term partner in that quest for family fun. Joyce Bernheim, John Ashworth and their children, Alexandra and Paul, have all taken lessons at Powder Hounds Ski School, owned by Victor Perry and his father, Lee.
“Skiing is a wonderful activity for the whole family, despite our different ability levels, and has completely transformed the long, dreary winters into an opportunity to play outside,” says Joyce.
The family’s ski adventures began in 1999.
“I started skiing when I was around 6, and it was a special thing that I would do with my dad,” says Alexandra. “We would take the ski bus up to Timberline, getting up at ungodly hours on Saturday (Sundays I had Sunday school at Temple Beth Israel, of course!), and he would get me M&Ms before I started my lessons. It was a tradition. Pretty soon my brother and mom started coming up with us.”
John says his appreciation for the ski school grew when Joyce and their son, Paul, started taking lessons too. John notes the staff was able to offer “accommodations for our son with autism through private and group lessons. He is now a very good skier.”
Joyce adds, “Lee Perry has had a long-time commitment to making skiing available to people of all abilities. He helped pioneer skiing for people with physical disabilities, including the blind.” She, too, appreciates the school’s instruction for Paul, who is an active participant in Tikvah, the Jewish Family & Child Service social program for adults with disabilities. For herself, Joyce says, “It’s never too late to learn. I didn’t really start to learn to ski until I was 50, when I started taking lessons from Lee (Perry), who was then 70. I figured if he could teach at 70 I could learn at 50.” John adds, “Skiing with Victor’s dad, Lee (the best skier on the mountain), is always a kick.”
Now in college, Alexandra says, “They (the instructors) watched me grow up, they taught me skiing etiquette and they taught me life etiquette. Powder Hounds doesn’t just teach skiing, it teaches etiquette. Plus I trusted them, which made me feel safe, and in turn taught me to teach others about safety.” Before she started college, Alexandra became a Powder Hounds assistant instructor. “I grew up with them. ”
Alexandra Ashworth started learning to ski at Powder Hounds when she was 6. Before she started college, she had become an assistant instructor. “Powder Hounds is kind of my family, in a way,” says Alexandra. “And I guess what’s funny about you writing an article about that and being Jewish is because Judaism and skiing were always my two kind of extracurricular activities (I was on the youth group board at my temple) while I was growing up, so both communities I think of as extensions of my home and family.”
Check out Powder Hounds at powderhound.com.