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ADIRONDACK LIVING: 104 days at Whiteface, a lifetime of lessons for local skier

May 4, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - Chelsea Walker had a goal on the ski mountain one day. She was going to have fun and ski her favorite trails, and if she just so happened to ski 50,000 vertical feet, that would be a bonus.

Walker showed up at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington with a backpack containing a piece of fried chicken and a handful of fun-size Snickers bars. She skied 26 runs, stopping to use the bathroom only twice, and she managed to reach about 54,000 vertical feet in one day.

"Looking back on it now," Walker said, "I feel like if I tried that in the beginning of the season, my legs would have been like noodles."

Article Photos

Chelsea Walker takes a selfie while skiing on Whiteface Mountain.
(Photo provided)

Though 54,000 feet in one day might seem like an impressive feat, this was actually just one day within Walker's bigger goal: Skiing 100 days at Whiteface in one season.

Not only did she achieve the goal, but she surpassed it.

Walker skied 104 days at Whiteface this past season. Whiteface was open for 154 days this year, so that means Walker skied 68 percent of the total season.

Walker began downhill skiing last year toward the end of Whiteface's 2016-17 season. This was shortly after she bought a house in Wilmington and started working as an activities coordinator at Mountain Lake Academy in Lake Placid.

"I got a little bit addicted this year," she said. "It was just a really good way to discipline myself. It was also a really good therapy for a very large career change and buying a house. It's really good way to start my morning every day, so that kind of gave me motivation on days when I was exhausted, didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to go to work."

One day, early this past season, Walker fell down. A well-known local at Whiteface, Ron "Ron Kon" Konowitz, reached out with a hand and helped her back to her feet.

"Hey, it's all about putting in your time," Konowitz said.

"That might have been one of the most inspirational moments," Walker said.

She realized that Konowitz's sentiment was more than just words of encouragement about skiing.

"I remember thinking like if we just apply that to more things in life - being nice, being healthier, doing better at your job," she said. "If we just put our time into it, it's amazing how anything can become that easy."

Walker now applies this philosophy to her own life and work.

At Mountain Lake Academy, Walker works with students who need a little bit more time and encouragement to grasp certain concepts and behaviors. In her home life, she and her boyfriend have started tapping trees a making maple syrup, a process that takes a fair amount of time.

"I feel that anybody could have the strength to do it. It's just you have to realize that you're going to start somewhere you're gonna fall you're going to have days where you're feeling like you're not successful but then things are going to change."



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