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Ask a Local: Amy McCormick

Feb 19th 2014

Amy McCormick skiing steep terrain at Kirkwood

Skiing and snowboarding are often seen as sports dominated by men. So we're pleased to interview a woman in this edition of our Ask A Local blog series. Amy McCormick is a long-time local whose passion for skiing is clearly evidenced in her career. She is a member of the K2 Ski Alliance, works in marketing at Heavenly Mountain Resort, and is also an Expedition Guide specializing in women’s clinics at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. She coaches numerous women’s specific clinics at Kirkwood, including an upcoming one-day event on February 22, 2014.

What brought you to Tahoe? I moved to Tahoe to actually finish my AA degree at Lake Tahoe Community College because I’ve always loved this place and used to spend my summers here, and figured I would spend a quarter up here finishing it before I moved got into a real school. That was 21 years ago. I did finish my AA degree and applied to a bunch of schools, and ended up getting into Sierra Nevada College (in Incline Village). So I decided that it wasn’t time for me to leave. After I graduated from college I decided to become a ski instructor for a year before I got a ‘real’ job. And I’ve been here ever since.

Why do you call Tahoe home? It’s the lifestyle, it’s the people, and it’s the quality of life I have here. I love it here, year round, every season. There are so many things to do here, and while I live for the winter, the summers here are amazing.

Skier or snowboarder? I’m a skier. I taught myself how to ski when I was eight at Squaw Valley. I was on a school ski trip, and my mom had given me money to take a lesson, and I didn’t take the lesson, as I believed I could figure it out on my own. I started out on Searchlight at Squaw Valley, which by the way is *not* a beginner run. I was with a friend who knew how to ski, so she taught me how to get on and off the ski lift, and I decided that I could figure the rest out. At that point I realized that this was the coolest thing ever. There was something about skiing that made me realize that I always wanted to be a skier.

It’s been really rewarding to teach skiing – I’ve taught women’s clinics at Kirkwood for about 10 years now. The momentum in the women’s ski world is picking up, and there are a lot of women who want to learn to ski that scary off-piste terrain and not just take a women’s clinic focused on perfecting turns. It’s about giving women a bag of tricks to use while they are skiing variable terrain, building their confidence, and showing them that they can do it if they are in the right environment. That’s the coolest thing about teaching. It’s so awesome to watch women and girls push themselves, taking them through a steep chute and showing them what they skied at the bottom.

Describe an ideal winter’s day. It would be a sunny blue bird midweek powder day with my best girlfriends, where we laugh, get goofy and just have an all-around good time. Most of the time we end up at the bar at the end of the day, but skiing with a great group of friends can make even the worst day of skiing great no matter what.

What’s one place a visitor can’t miss while here? I have to say the view from the top of the Heavenly Gondola. Even though I get to experience it all the time, it never ceases to amaze me. It really is that awesome.

Posted by Jenn Gleckman 

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