If you followed alpine ski racing in the late 1970s, you will surely remember the name Lisa Feinberg. Now going by Lisa Densmore, the champion world-class ski racer, coach and instructor will be conducting the Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic on Feb. 11 at Holiday Valley, assisted by their finest women instructors. It’s a very special chance to ski with an infectiously enthusiastic pro who truly loves skiing and people.
Born to Ski
How did Densmore evolve from talented teen ski racer to conducting ski clinics all over the country? The only explanation: It’s been in her blood before she was even born.
“I grew up near Lake Placid, N.Y.,” said Densmore. “My dad (Philip Feinberg) was a ski racer and an avid skier himself back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. My mom (Phyllis Feinberg) was a competitive figure skater. We were sort of an outdoor sports family. I ended up getting into skiing rather than skating and I’ve never looked back.”
Densmore has deep roots in the region. Her great grandfather was one of the first settlers of the Adirondacks in that area. Her family still lives near Lake Placid. Densmore maintains a second home there but hasn’t lived there since she was about 14 years old, spending her teen years racing for Stratton Mountain School, a winter sports academy.
Influences and Successes
At age 15, she made the U.S. Ski Team’s Women’s Development Team. At that time, she was heavily influenced by Ingemar Stenmark, one of the greatest giant slalom and slalom specialists of all time, whom she called her hero.
“I always tried to emulate (Stenmark’s) skiing,” said Densmore. “Phil Mahre was also my contemporary. He was older than I was, but we were on the U.S. Ski Team at about the same time.”
She had many successful years racing for the U.S. Ski team from 1976 to 1979, when she left to study economics at Dartmouth College. Of course, with the need for speed calling to her, Densmore didn’t stop skiing and raced for Dartmouth during her years there. After graduation, she spent six years on the Women’s Pro Tour, retiring in 1990.
Commentator, Writer and Consultant
Retirement for the average person generally means to stop working in a specific capacity, but in Densmore’s vocabulary, this word simply doesn’t exist. Since 1991, she has been an active racer on the Master’s Circuit, competing at the top level. She also acted as color commentator for ESPN ski coverage, and produced and hosted all kinds of sports programming for most major networks including ESPN, Fox Sports, ABC, NBC, CBS, A&E, The Weather Channel, The Travel Channel, PBS and Outside TV.
Since 1991, Densmore has been a spokesperson, athlete and product development consultant for Head, developing women’s hard goods like shaped skis. At the same time, she founded the Head-Subaru Women’s Ski Clinics, now the Your Turn Women’s Ski Events, which have helped over 6,000 women take their skiing to a new level over the past 18 years.
Densmore has written seven books and hundreds of articles. She was also the art director on many photography shoots in her position as instruction editor at Mountain Sports Living and Snow Country magazines. Densmore recently finished her first full-length documentary film called “Passion for Snow,” which took two years to produce and will be presented with the International Ski History Association’s Ski Film Award in April.
Still Going Strong
At age 50, Densmore was still every bit the competitive racer.
“Last year I swept my age group at the Women’s Master’s Championships, so I won the Super G, GS and Slalom. I’ve won four World Championships at this point,” she said. “I don’t compete every year at the Worlds, but I have had pretty good success on the few times that I’ve gone.”
What drives her to continue competing?
“I like going fast!” she answered with pure joy. “I just really enjoy ski racing. If you think about it, it’s the one situation where you have the whole trail to yourself, and you can go as fast as you dare and they’re not going to pull your pass.”
But the draw to ski racing is not only about the physical aspects of the sport.
“Master’s ski racing has a huge social component and that’s very enjoyable. I’ve got a big network of friends around the country and the world, at this point, through ski racing apart from all the other aspects of my career,” she explained. “It’s also the super motivator to stay fit and stay in shape to get out there.” Although skiing is still the main competitive outlet in this mega athlete’s life, she also enjoys tennis, waterskiing and other sports.
After spending 24 years living in New Hampshire, Densmore moved to Montana, where she lives with her “sweetheart” and children. She still races in the Masters and travels the country teaching specialized, all-women ski clinics. She is currently director of the master’s program and a coach for FIS-level racers at her home mountain in Red Lodge.
Fun Girls’ Day
on the Slopes
The Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic on Monday, Feb. 11 at Holiday Valley is a great opportunity for intermediate to advanced-level women skiers to take their skiing to the next level in a fun, social and supportive learning environment on the slopes.
“I really hope that anybody who is interested in improving their skiing or just having a fun day on the hill will come and join me, because it is really girls’ day out and it’s a really fun day and a great way to improve your skiing,” she said, explaining that Elan will have a demo area set up for women to try equipment.
This clinic is also sponsored by Mud, Sweat N’ Gears. Their knowledgeable crew will be on hand with the latest women’s ski demos, bootfitting analysis and some great prizes, too.
The clinic costs $150 plus lift tickets and will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and breakfast. Pre-registration is advised as attendance is limited. Stop at or call the Snowsports School Desk at (716) 699-2345 ext. 4422, or the Creekside Lodge Children’s Desk at (716) 699-2345 ext. 4424.