The trees are just changing colors and most of the leaves have yet to fall, but downhill ski season is in full swing in Loudoun County.
That’s because as of Nov. 1, the Inside Ski Training Center is officially open for business in Leesburg.
“It’s not LIKE skiing,” co-owner Brian Deely said. “You ARE skiing.”
The center is adjacent to Pro-Fit Ski & Mountain Sports, which is owned by Brian and his wife, Nancy. He is from the DC area and she is from West Virginia, and they turned their life-long avocation into a vocation with their ski equipment and fitting shop.
“We opened in the Bellewood Common Shopping Center in 1995 and had that shop for 14 years,” Nancy said. “We reopened in this shopping center for service only – no retail – for four seasons, then we opened this shop in October of 2013.”
Nancy said the idea of the simulators was planted about two years ago, and the property next to their store became available this summer.
“I had actually done this before back in the 1980s, when I was the director of an indoor ski training center in Maryland,” she said. “It’s way more sophisticated than it was 30 years ago and we needed to add something to our business not only for spring and summer sales, but to compete with the Internet and to make ourselves different from all the other brick-and-mortar retail stores. “This just adds a whole new dimension to retail.”
The Inside Ski Training Center has already started pre-selling lessons and recreational skiing packages. Nancy Deely said the center is catered to every level of interest and ability.
“It’s for people who have never skied before,” she said, pointing to their ‘bunny hill’ or, as she called it, their ‘never-ever skied before’ hill. Once they have progressed and are comfortable here, we will move them over the regular slope.”
The main hill adjusts in angle and elevation, going from roughly 13 degrees up to
“It’s a huge treadmill and we can change the pitch and adjust the speed of the carpet,” she said. “We start everybody out low and slow, and then depending on your skill level we can increase the pitch and the speed.”
While Brian Deely says the experience is so authentic that, “If you close your eyes, you would think you are on a ski slope,” there are actually advantages to the indoor approach. There is a mirror in the front so skiers can watch themselves and critique things like balance and ski position, and they can ski for up to 10 minutes at a time.
“it’s about constantly improving your skill level,” Nancy said. “Even if you are a really good skier, let’s say you’re a racer, you are still going to learn something on here. It magnifies everything you are doing wrong. There is instant feedback 100 percent of the time.”
The center offers lessons and individual training opportunities, and sells packages in blocks of 30 minutes.
“We split that up into three, 10-minute sessions, because you do get exhausted,” Nancy said. “So you can ski for 10 minutes, take a 10-minute break and do another 10 minutes.”
Brian pointed out that racers can “do the longest slalom run of their lives.”
“A typical slalom race is like 1 minute, 20 seconds,” he said. “Here, you can train and analyze your technique for longer periods of time. We will have racers coming here.”
Brian also pointed out that the simulators will help skiers with the equipment purchases and adjustments.
“I can actually have them try out the equipment and watch them and their technique,” he said. “This keeps them from having to guy equipment and, when they get to the ski slope, spend half their time getting their boots adjusted in the ski shop.”
For more information about the Inside Ski Training Center, visit insideski.com or call 703-771-SNOW (7669).