Chicks on Sticks: Adventures in Skiing

So I had my first ski lesson on Sunday. An adventure from beginning to end. The day begin with a massive snow storm. That would have ended the trip right then and there if it wasn’t for the fact that my friend who was taking the lesson with me had 4-wheel drive. (My little mini-van doesn’t do so well in snow). So we made it up the mountain, although it did take quite a bit longer than we had planned for. We got checked in, and fitted for the rental equipment.

Lesson 1 for the day: Even if the high school student working behind the counter says you don’t need to, and that it will be fine – make sure the boots fit into the skis they give you.

After getting checked in and getting our equipment we had just enough time for a quick bite for lunch before meeting up with the instructor. We set our skis outside the restaurant – I even made the comment “You mean, people just leave the ski equipment out here?? Nothing gets stolen??” My friend made the comment that we had rental equipment… True – if someone was going to walk off with equipment, I’m sure there was a better selection of items to chose from.

We then go to meet up with the instructor. First lesson… how to clear off snow from your ski boot – and get it into the ski. Ah yes, that’s when we realize my boot does not actually FIT into the ski!! At first we thought maybe someone had switched equipment on me, but no… after some back and forth – we finally got the skis fitting. Lots of wasted time there.

Then it was time to ski… sort of. I thought with skis on you were supposed to… I don’t know… move? I had to do a lot of pushing with my poles to move. The only time I would really start to go was if the hill got significantly steep. There were several points to the day that I just could not get moving, I was holding the class up, and the instructor literally had to tow me down the hill. Seriously? Tow me DOWN a HILL when I’m wearing SKIS??

Lesson 2 for the day: Going forward – I’m going to make the rental place wax the skis right then and there. I’m not wasting this much time again on equipment FAILS.

Where the lesson was – there was no “magic carpet” (I still have no idea what that is), so we took the chair lift up. That’s probably the biggest thing I took away from the lesson: getting over my intense fear of the chair lift. I mean, aside from the height issue – which isn’t really like a “phobia of heights” or anything – just like, I’d rather be somewhere else kind of feeling… but the getting off, I was having a huge panic attack about how to get off the chair lift without it killing me. After about 3 times through, I got the basic idea. You’re supposed to just go straight off the chair lift – you will stop eventually because it’s really flat just after the lift, but if you try to wedge and stop too soon or use your poles, you’re going to screw up the people next to you – which is what the others in the class were doing to me! LOL! But the instructor saw what I was doing and said I did it the right way and would have gotten off cleanly otherwise.

I feel like I really only got a very limited amount of real SKI time – so I’m only slightly more comfortable with the idea than I was before going into it. It’s going to take a lot of practice I think before I feel even vaguely ok just going down the beginner slope. The other factor that doesn’t help is other skiers. The ones zooming past me. Granted, I know they probably have more control than I do – but I’m not going to bet money on it. So there’s a lingering fear of someone screaming up behind me and crashing into me – with my being able to do little or nothing at all to stop it or get out of the way.

On a positive note, however, I really liked the instructor. With the deal I got for this ski package – I can go up another 4 times this season with my rentals, lift tickets and group ski lesson all costing only $25 each time I go. Or I can opt to just use the lift ticket and rental, and buy a private lesson – which is what I might do, if I can swing it. If so, I’ll be requesting THAT particular instructor because she was awesome.

I’m frustrated that I didn’t end the day feeling more confident on skis. But I also accept the fact that will probably take a long time, and I wasn’t given a fair advantage with my equipment. But as frustrating as it was, I’m willing to give it a few more tries before I concede and say “This is NOT FOR ME.”

1 Comment

  1. Natalie
    Dec 15, 2009

    I’m sorry for the equipment problems – I actually had that happen to me with my OWN skis one year, on a school trip – my skis WOULD NOT SLIDE. I ended up crying, walking down the (large) hill, and begging someone to wax my skis for me. So I feel your pain there. That can make a day VERY miserable.

    But I’m glad you’re getting the hang of it! You’re right about lifts though… I still get nervous every time I get off a lift, mostly because of the other idiots on the mountain. Definitely try it again, hopefully if you have no equipment problems you can actually enjoy the skiing part. 😉

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