Good Ol' Jean Claude-Chris Jones

Good Ol' Jean Claude- Chris Jones, my dad. I call him that due to his super tight knee style he adopted from emulating Jean Claude Killy. I feel blessed that on a 1970's teacher's salary we still drove to Tahoe or Mammoth annually to have a family ski vacation. As a young father he used ski bum "dirtbag" techniques to squeeze the most skiing a family of four  could get on a budget. He also used his teaching skills to fire me up for life long love and desire for skiing.

My best memory was a President's Day weekend vacation at Mammoth in 1982. I was 11 years old. My dad was helping me work on my parallel Crissy turns off Chair 9, an advanced intermediate area. I had a wide open slope to swing those skis around and pretty soon I didn't need the whole slope to initiate the turn. We had been skiing the same run for a while, so he took me over to an area where there were two rock outcroppings. I remember it being a tight couloir but in reality the rocks were about 20 yards apart. There was no way I was going to drop in with the rocks on the slope...No way. My dad pumped me up, "listen, you can make it through this area in like four turns. You can link four turns can't you?"  I was not feeling confident, but yeah I could link four turns.

And that is where he gave me the best skiing advice I still use today..."Visualize it. Look at that slope and see yourself making those turns". My dad asked me if I could see myself making the four necessary turns, "Sure okay" I probably replied. "So point down there and show me where you are going to turn". With my little 36 inch ski pole I pointed to some places down slope, only now really seeing where I needed to turn while my dad listened. "Okay. Good plan. What if you don't make that turn?" My 11 year old brain didn't have an answer. Answering for me, "You side slip back and make the turn a little down slope". I made all of those turns and we skied that area three more times with more control and excitement each time. 
That day my dad set the hook for my love of skiing and skiing more difficult terrain. I ripped that line because I saw myself doing it. He helped me plan to see my future success. He also prepared me for missing a turn and how to recover. There were life lessons between those rocks and a thoughtful fatherly love.
Happy Father's Day Jean Claude Jones


  • Michael says...

    Cool tale. Brought a lump to my throat for sure. 👍🏼

    On June 25, 2020
  • Marc G says...

    Great story! I know a similar feeling from my own pops—with a different kind of skiing. Now I know why you’re so dialed in on the mountain, Davey!

    On June 19, 2020

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