How to Ski Through Life Without Crashing

4 Lessons from the Slope from Sought-after Instructor & Keynote Speaker

Be enthusiastic about learning and working.

Be enthusiastic about learning and working.

If you’ve ever been told that you cannot do something, but you refuse to give up on your dream, you have something in common with Chalky White.

After repeatedly failing to achieve full ski instructor certification in the United Kingdom, then being repeatedly denied entry into another certification program, White eventually accomplished his goal of being a world-class ski instructor. He’s been inspiring confidence in skiers of all levels for more than three decades.

“Adversity is simply the flipside of success; I was told that I had the ‘wrong body shape’ for skiing and I experienced three consecutive failures at achieving the full British certification,” says Chalky, who flew across the world to New Zealand for training and certification there. Denied entry, his tenacity finally convinced the coach to take him on.

“The negativity I’d experienced in following my dreams only served to increase my determination. Also, I believe the difficulty I had helped me be far more empathetic as an instructor.”

Chalky is the author of Amazon’s bestselling “The 7 Secrets of Skiing.” The enormous response to the how-to book enabled him to craft a new program for business professionals and celebrities, called Ski the World with Chalky White, (

He discusses lessons in skiing, both for the slopes and in life.

•  Keep in mind the “calculated risk factor.” Of course, giving your all can be scary, because no matter how much you invest in time, effort and money, there’s no guarantee it will work. And, even for experienced skiers, standing at the top of a big, steep hill with the intention of throwing your body down it – albeit with the intention of control – can be nerve-racking. 

“That’s where preparation and systematic training comes in,” Chalky says. “You’re not simply hurling yourself down the mountain; you’re taking a calculated risk, estimating that your training and ability to stay calm and focused will serve your purpose. The same goes with any risk you take in life.”

•  Always show up first. Whether you’re the most gifted person in your field of passion or, like Chalky, you have the “wrong body shape,” be so enthusiastic about learning and working, you’re always the first one on the slope. Never take your talent or your experience for granted. The always-show-up-first mentality keeps you humble, hungry and sharp.

“I was extremely fortunate to have a ski instructor trainer in Peter Curtis; after I’d finally achieved my dream of becoming a fully certified instructor, he said to me, ‘Congratulations, now go and learn to ski,’ ” Chalky says. “Initially taken aback at such a key juncture in my life and career, the simple command set me on the path that I still follow today. With each ski season, I try eking out that little bit of improvement that helps both me and my clients.”

•  Skiing is balancing on a moving platform. Simply put, skiing is balance. An efficiently poised skier who has found his or her balance can ski harder, better and longer through difficult twists and turns. That’s true for skiing and an excellent metaphor for attacking the slalom of life.

“The right balance of physical and mental preparation and determination can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go,” he says.

•  Never take “no” for an answer; be willing to alter your plan to achieve your goal. In order to fund his attempt to make his living as a fully certified instructor, Chalky needed money. At age 26, he left his position as a British policeman and took a job that no one wanted as an encyclopedia salesman in Germany.

“Nearly every step along the way, I wanted to quit — from the tedious job selection process to knocking on my first German door on a cold, wet evening to continuing the position month after month,” he says. “But I did it, and I did it well, which taught me the rewards of persevering through the tough stuff. I didn’t say ‘no,’ and I’ve since lived the life I’ve wanted. Sometimes, in order to fulfill a dream, one must do things that are not part of the original plan.”

About Chalky White

For many years, Chalky White has been a professional ski instructor who is highly regarded for being able to help develop balance and confidence in beginners and new insights for intermediate and advanced skiers. Through his business, Seven Secrets International Ski Services LLC, he has taught students in the Alps, New Zealand and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, where he remains a longtime member of the esteemed Vail and Beaver Creek Ski School. Since 2011, his book, “The 7 Secrets of Skiing,” (, has been at or near the No.1 for ski books on Amazon. White is a sought-after inspirational/motivational speaker on his specialty subject and his keynote, “The Calculated Risk Factor – What a wonderful World – If you Don’t Quit!”

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