Posted by Timothy FitzGerald on Feb 15, 2019
Luis Portillo is the Rotary Exchange Student from Mexico with the morning club. When our Exchange Student Coordinator, Garry McMillan, asked if anyone would take Luis to the Ellicottville (NY) Rotary Club Ski Day, I said "I'm in".
I picked Luis up from his Rotary host family (the Pecks) at 6:30 AM. We had spoken the day before and rehearsed that he had never skied before; but plays soccer and rides a road bike. "OK you're athletic and you understand what balance is" - I can work with that!
During the drive to Holimont Ski Resort, we spoke about aspects of skis and what makes them turn, families and travel. An objective of his is to hone his fluency in English. At the end of his year, Luis said he plans to take the eastern Canada tour (Ontario, Quebec, and Maritime cities) option with fellow Exchange Student's to experience more of Canada's cultures. Luis starts University in August - studying international commerce.
But - today skiing! We're going to advance from "pizza" (the "snow plough" - a beginner stance with skis in a wedge to control speed or stop), to "airplane" (no ski poles, arms out stretched just like kids running around the house - to initiate turns), to "french fries"  (skiing with both skis in parallel).
Luis learned quickly. After three "pizza" runs on the beginner slope, Luis was ready to advance to the main hill. Up the Exhibition Express Lift - introductions and conversation with two other skiers riding up on the same chair proposed  some "green" (easiest) runs over to the right. A few more "greens" and now we're skiing the "blues" (intermediate slopes) under the Meadows Lift.
High noon - into the lodge with Rotary friends, old and new, fantastic hot lunch, fundraiser 50/50 draw and mind testing quiz - all thanks to organization by John Weismantel and members of Ellicottville Rotary. After lunch and more good directions from table-mate Mike , we skied over to the Sunset Lift - a wide open slope. Bringing it all together, Luis was free-skiing "french fries" (pic below) in control and skied "blue" runs back to the lodge to end our day.
Service Above Self and fun at the same time!