Best of the Boat 2012 ski instructor Nancy Barrows Gray grew up in Steamboat. For 41 years she has been giving expert advice and encouragement to everyone from first timers to powder junkies.
The youngest of four, Nancy was raised with three very competitive brothers, one of whom (Moose) was on the 1968 Olympic ski team. A ski racer herself, Nancy turned from competing to teaching, a move her clients are so thankful for. Oozing with kindness and fun, she is one of Steamboat’s all time treasures.
For our friends at Condos in Steamboat, Nancy sat down for 5 minutes (a rare occurance for such a busy gal), to share a little of what she loves so much about being here.
1. Who are you mostly teaching?
Most of my clients are repeats who come year after year from all over. I do teach the women’s seminars twice a year (a 3 day program), plus Women’s Wednesdays (7.45am until noon).
2. What advice would you give someone wanting to ski for the first time?
Give it more than one day, take a lesson and learn to let your skis go downhill. Also wear layers, so many people think they need to wear a tonne of clothing as the temperatures are colder, but a beginner uses so much energy and gets hot quick.
3. What is the craziest thing you have seen or heard on the mountain?
It has to be how many men and women I see trying to teach their spouse to ski – 90% ends up in an argument.
4. What is your favorite run?
Hot Cakes – it makes me giggle.
5. What do you like most about what you do for a living?
Building relationships – many of my best friends are people I’ve skied with.
6. What do you like doing here in your free time?
I love being at home as I don’t get much time to myself. When the snow melts off, Nancy can be found hiking and biking.
7. When you have guests in town what kind of things do you like to do with them?
Always Fish Creek Falls and the downtown hot springs. (Nancy is the swim lesson co-ordinator there). In summer Devils Causeway and Trappeurs Lake.
8. What is your favorite Steamboat tradition?
Winter Carnival for sure. Nancy and her daughter Jessica are the only two past carnival queens to be mother and daughter. (1970 and 2000).
9. Where do you take vacations?
Anywhere we can find a beach, mostly the outer banks in North Carolina. We also love Zion National Park.
10. How has the town changed in your lifetime?
Aside from the physical changes in the town, which have evolved over time, I would say nothing has changed. The attitudes have remained the same. People are here because they want to be here.