Sunday, November 11, 2007

Skiing day 3: A bridge too far?

8th Sept 2007:

The weather changed for day three. The previous two days had been blue skies with no wind, whereas today started cloudy, was much colder and there was a slight breeze. I could feel my face drying out more and more with each passing minute and had to wrap my scarf tightly around my whole head.

This scarf-cocoon is what I'm blaming for my first mistake of the day. In preparation for this mornings class I went back to one of the beginner slopes and at the top of the slope I pushed off and was soon whizzing down. Despite the wind, I still just about heard someone shouting behind me "Stop!". I was already committed to going down though at that stage so I kept going and soon noticed that the slope was very quiet and there was nobody else around... It turned out that the slope was closed and more importantly the ski escalator to bring me back up the slope was shut off... On the positive side, I was no longer cold after trekking back up the mountain side :)

Progress with the ski-learning had gone well in the previous two days so after skiing for a combined total of 7 hours, today I took it to the next level and moved onto the Blue intermediate slopes.

There were eight of us in today's group and together we took the skilift to the top of the main intermediate slope. In hindsight, 7 hours of skiing may have been a little quick to move onto the next level... Whereas I found the green slope exhilarating, for the blue slope I was just nervous. I had not fallen over yet while skiing but when I saw how steep the blue slope was I had a feeling I wouldn't escape much longer.

Our instructor for the day, Melina from Japan, took us through the lesson, guiding us on the correct technique to use for the steeper slope. I stuck near her the whole time and we gradually tackled the slope in sections. I lasted longer than I had thought before I fell over, but it did eventually happen and my until then dry jacket tasted snow. As the class wore on and I became more and more drained it happened again and just before the bottom of the slope it happened a third time... I was pretty relived once it was over. I reckon I'll stick with the green slopes for the foreseeable future.

Despite my over-exuberance on the last day, I found skiing to be great. The main experience I will take away though from the last three days is that its best to take it in steps and most importantly: its best not to rush!