Sheryl Whiting can’t imagine a winter without skiing. Pomerelle Mountain Resort can’t imagine skiing without Sheryl Whiting.
For the past 29 years, Sheryl has taught literally thousands of skiers as an instructor at Pomerelle.
“How many people have the opportunity in their lifetime to have a job that they truly love to get up and go to every day?” she says. “I love it, and I don’t consider it a job. I tell people it’s my paid vacation. Some days I feel bad taking a check because it’s so much fun.”
Sheryl teaches so many clinics that regulars at Pomerelle are starting to think she only knows how to ski backwards.
“I’m a level two skiing forward and I’m a level three backwards,” she says.
Sheryl had just learned to ski two years prior when she was asked in 1978 to teach. “I think they were desperate for help,” she says. “I found that the best thing when I first started teaching was all of a sudden it made so much sense. What I was teaching was what I was doing. You don’t realize what you’re doing until you’re teaching somebody else.”
Sheryl still remembers her first pupils – a dozen 14-year-olds from Burley Junior High School. “I think I learned as much as they did about skiing that day because it was like, ‘Wow, that worked, let’s try that again.’”
Many years and many clinics later, Sheryl is now the most-requested instructor on the mountain, especially with young children and beginners. Her youngest student was 20 months old – “I don’t recommend people start their children that young; 3 is a really good age.” The oldest was an elderly man from Twin Falls – “We celebrated his 80th birthday. We had so much fun. Our goal was to make two runs down Milk run. And we did.”
Sheryl spends 6-7 days a week at Pomerelle during the season.
“I can’t imagine November coming without being able to go to Pomerelle. We start thinking of Pomerelle this time of year when there’s a chance of snow in the mountains. We start getting ready to go.”
Skiing is a Whiting family tradition. Sheryl’s husband Barry has been the Snow Sports Director at Pomerelle for 20 years. He’s a vital figure at the resort as he coordinates 8 full-time and 45 part-time instructors for the ski and snowboard school, which is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America. You won’t find a better or more affordable lesson anywhere else, and Sheryl is one of the reasons why.
“Everything I know about skiing and teaching, I have to credit to Barry,” Sheryl says.
Some of Sheryl’s most memorable lessons were with her three daughters, Molly, Amy and Hillary. She’s also taught all of her 12 grandchildren. She’ll teach her two great grandchildren when they are old enough. Each season, her love of skiing grows, but her love of teaching is even greater.
“I go back simply because of the love of doing what I do,” she says. “I’ll teach until I can’t ski anymore.”
“I love it, and I don’t consider it a job. It’s my paid vacation.”
By Ryan Howe • Photos by Jason Lugo