On learning to ski.

I had hoped that as soon as I put a pair of skis on it would feel like the most natural thing, like I was born to do it, like there was some gene in my body that was finally going to get its chance to shine.
Sadly, that has not happened.  But I have not given up.

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That’s me and my wonderful friend Alice who has been helping me to ski while she snowboards (she can do both. I am so envious).

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That’s me down there, snowploughing like a champ.

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I think part (most?) of the problem is my fear.  Until November 2012 I had never been on a snowy mountain before.  Then suddenly I was on a literal slippery slope, surrounded by all this terminology that quite frankly, frightened me.  Piste, green run/blue run/black run (and let’s not talk about the double black diamond.  The name itself assures me that I will undoubtedly die if I ever find myself on one of those), powder days, bindings…
All these knowledgeable people with their fancy equipment, big words and passion for snow sports intimidated me.  Although I know what those words mean now, and I have all the equipment I need, I am still scared.  I like to stick to the same runs that I know, and to take my time.  I have had three ski lessons, and countless days practising with Jay, Alice and other people.  While I really appreciate all these people helping me, I would love to have someone to ski with who is at the same level as me.  I hate feeling like I am holding everyone else back.
Perhaps if I had a week or two where I could go up every day and just take a few solid lessons, I would improve.  Who am I kidding?  My legs could not take that.
I work five days a week so doing a ‘crash course’ isn’t possible. ( I actually work in the kids program in Whistler, so I watch as children as young as three years old go from total novices to confident mini skiers within a week.  There is definitely a lot to be said for learning skiing or snowboarding as a child.)

For now, I will keep on going, and try to shake off my fear of losing control and racing head-first into a tree before falling off the edge of a cliff.

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What about you?  When did you learn to ski or board?  Do you think it’s more difficult to learn as an adult?
I’d love to hear what you think (and any tips are always welcome).
:)

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3 thoughts on “On learning to ski.

  1. hayley says:

    Hi Naomi!

    I was a Whistler seasonal worker a few years ago now, and I was in the same boat as you. I was pretty happy with how I was doing at the end of the season, but it did take me a while. I have kept it up since I came home and now its pretty much an “any chance I get” thing. Doing lessons and finding people who are at your level (and make it social-treat yourself after a good day) are important. But two things I remember making a big difference is 1) learning to properly shift your weight so that you can stay out of snow plough, which will also get rid of some of the strain on your legs (that drill you do in lessons were you have to lift your inside leg so that the weight stays on your outside leg-that helps) and 2) planning the spot where you will take your next turn, rather than looking all the way down the slope or focusing on where you are at that point (i.e. always look one turn ahead) is a good one for not only getting smooth turns but keeping the nerves at bay. Hope that this is useful, there is probably a fantastic skier somewhere reading this going “Erm…no” but this is what helped me. Most of all, enjoy your season!

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you Hayley :) I had a great day on Blackcomb today, I’m definitely getting better (just very slowly!). I really tried to plan when I would make my turn, which helped a lot.
      Did you just do one season in Whistler? xx

      • hayley says:

        Hi Naomi, glad to hear you had a great day-Blackcomb had a lot of my favourite runs :-) Yep, I did one season (2008/09), I wanted to travel as much as I could before I ran out of cash and had to head home!

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