Born - Sometime around the Second World War ; Location - Val d'Isère, France / London, England / New York, USA ; Activity - Ski Instructor / tennis coach / creator of instructional ski books, dvd's and smartphone app, available at www.skitips.com
His 2nd ebook, "Powder & Off-Piste", is now available at the Apple iBookStore, along with the 1st one, "Learn To Ski"
Marty Heckelman has been skiing a long time. He should be pretty good by now....and he is.
Good enough to have taught many, many people to ski - and he's still doing so. He started skiing as a child, after the second world war, strapping skis loaned to the Boy Scouts by the US Army onto hiking boots, and worked it all out without the benefit of instruction. Skiing down snow-covered roads in the woods of up-state New York, then along winding, twisting paths through the woods themselves. Every weekend and no doubt during school holidays, and he still has the scars to show for it. Throughout his college years, while his friends were heading south to the warmth of the Florida sunshine, he would head up to Vermont and during the time he was in college, training as an engineer, he was good enough to pass his ski instructor's exam.
He says that he got the qualification only as a way of proving to himself that he really did know how to ski, but getting it was to alter the course of his life. After finishing college, he worked in engineering for a while. But soon his love of skiing and the outdoor life decided him to travel for a while in Europe and explore the world a bit. He arrived in Mégève in the French Alps and hooked up with a ski instructor friend, who was married to a French ski racer. He says he fell in love with Mégève, and France and French food, and everything that goes with living in France, and while there found that he could stay there and make use of his ski instructor's qualification to teach skiing since one of the big hotels in Mégève had plenty of English-speaking clients and no English-speaking instructor. And did he go back to engineering? Well, 40 years later he still loves to teach people to ski. Marty was always, and still is, one of the people exploring the skiing outside the marked runs, in what is known as the ‘off-piste’ in Val d’Isere and other ski areas in Europe. Along the way, he was encouraged to put his teaching technique into print in the very successful Ski Tips series of books, which became in turn a series of videos, then DVD's and now the "SkiTips" series of smartphone apps.
More of the day's skiing with Marty
Marty is a great believer in keeping his muscles strong and toned in order to be able to continue performing at such a high level. He also stresses the importance of flexibility to his continued, and continuing, capacity to ski at the level he does, and for the length of time he does each day. Part of this is due to the skiing itself, but he makes sure that when he is not skiing he indulges in his other passion of tennis, which he also coaches, and spends time in the gym keeping up his strength and stamina. He is certain that his active lifestyle also contributes to his relative resistance to the kind of bugs and illnesses that dog his contemporaries who haven't been lucky enough to spend the amount of time he has working on his physical condition.
Marty has found something that he loves - skiing and the outdoor life - and has spent his life doing it, teaching others to do it and freely admits that he is addicted; he calls it his drug. And he makes a point of the fact that one of the names for Heroin is "Snow" and skiing is his "heroin". But there the similarities end as he stresses how lucky he is that what he is addicted to is a healthy, life-affirming activity that enhances his well-being.
And the future, well for now he seems to have things pretty good, travelling the world between Val d'Isère, the UK and the USA. So, as long as he is able, we're sure that we'll be seeing Marty in all the usual places.