Joe Darmofalski, director of [R801R, Canaan Valley]'s Ski School, doesn't recommend others learn to ski and ride on their own, as he did in the woods behind his Connecticut home.

"That's what I did - my parents bought me skis when I was 12, and I just walked into the woods behind my home. That worked, but the easiest way to learn is with instruction, with someone who knows what they're doing, and can explain what you should do to make skis or snowboards do what you want them to do," Darmofalski said.

He said one lesson of an hour, hour and a half, can lead an athletic person to the point where he or she is able to control speed, turn, stop and ride the beginner lift.

"That's the outcome we're looking for the first time," he said.

Darmofalski will lead a team of 40 ski and snowboard instructors at Canaan Valley. The program provides instructional programming for all ages. The Canaan Cub Club, for children ages 3 to 6, offers half-day and full-day sessions. The Mountain Adventure lessons, for ages 7 to 13, also offers half-day and full-day sessions for youth with more experience. Group, private and advanced lessons are offered for skiing, snowboarding and airboarding from youth to adult ages.

"When I learned to ski, I said to myself, ‘This is fun' and I kept at it. It's something to do in winter, to get outdoors. The views are gorgeous from the tops of mountains. You meet new friends. It's a good social sport. It's great for the whole family, because with skiing, snowboarding, tubing - and at Canaan we've also got ice skating and air boarding - it gives you something for everybody in the family," Darmofalski said.