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Hitting the slopes with Dr. Danielle Wang

How did you get your start skiing?
I was born and raised in Billings, Montana. While Billings isn't a ski town, it is close enough to Red Lodge and skiing was a way of life in the winter months for my family. My parents are both skiers and they recognized that skiing is a great way to get outdoors and stay active. I've been skiing since I was about three years old.

What is your ski style?
I consider myself an intermediate skier. I enjoy groomed runs (usually blues or greens) and taking my time getting down the hill. I enjoy the calm and quiet of being up on a hill and the amazing scenery. However my playful competitive spirit is revealed anytime I ski with my younger brother. We love to spray each other with as much snow as possible when we stop. Then when we are actually stopped we try to push each other over—it's especially fun in deep snow to watch the other work so hard to get upright again!

Hitting the slopes with Dr. Danielle Wang_photo2

Where is your favorite place to ski?
My favorite place to ski is still Red Lodge. It hasn't changed much since my youth, and it holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Even now that I'm older, I tend to return home during holidays and breaks for a trip to Red Lodge with my mom, dad and younger brother.

Even all these years later, many of our ski traditions are still the same. We'll start the day skiing a few runs together, then separate to pursue our own skill levels. I usually ski with my dad since our ski styles are similar, while my brother heads off to the challenging black diamond runs. We still pack a lunch and meet up to eat right on a hill. Back in the day, we'd carry walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other; it's a bit easier now with cellphones!

What is your most memorable ski experience?
We took a family ski trip to Banff in Alberta, Canada, when I was in middle school. My father had his private pilot's license, and we flew in, staying for about a week. The skiing was amazing and, for someone like me who loves the scenery as much as skiing, it was perfect. The huge, expansive views from the top of a run made me feel like I could see forever. 

Hitting the slopes with Dr. Danielle Wang_photo1

Have you skied in Minnesota?
I only recently moved to Minnesota. I hear that the first place I should try is Lutsen Mountains in northern Minnesota.

What is your activity of choice during off-season months?
Well, I'm a skier at heart. In the summer, you'll find me in the water with a pair of skis or a wakeboard strapped to my feet.

Any advice for new skiers?
Don't let the idea of skiing intimidate you. Go with a friend who you trust or if you don't know anyone interested in skiing, try a half day of lessons to get comfortable and learn basic technique. Technique is important to keep you safe. Also, allow yourself to ease into how long you're on the slopes to prevent injury. And of course, have fun. Skiing is a great workout and a lot of fun.

Skiing can be an expensive sport, but there are ways to minimize expenses. Bringing your own lunch can save you big bucks. Plus, you can make it part of the experience, like my family did, by eating out on the hill. Also, look into ski swaps, where you can get used equipment for a reasonable price. Ski swaps are especially good for families with growing children who will only use the equipment for a season or two before outgrowing it.

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