On Saturday I was given the opportunity to do what was basically my only aim for my Erasmus year, and that was to go skiing for the very first time. I’ve always wanted to go and see what all the fuss is about, so when I was invited to join my work team for a day in a trip to Ax les Thermes in the Pyrenées, I couldn’t refuse. As I have basically no ski things to my name, my avid skier of house mate lent me the essentials so I was at least then able to look the part, and also sent through a few YouTube videos on basic skiing to give me a bit of a background (as if this would actually help me AT ALL). I was so excited on Saturday morning that I jumped up at my 6am alarm and was ready in my ‘pro-skier’ guise long before I needed to be, then went to meet my colleagues and started the hour and a half drive to the mountains.
In this blog post I will be examining the pros and cons of learning to ski aged 21 years amongst a group of experienced snow sports men and women. I will begin by commenting those parts of the experience I enjoyed, followed by those I did not, in order to critically evaluate my first ski experience and suggest further actions (or not) for my future ski development.
Things I liked about skiing:
Having never been skiing, I’ve never seen (in the most simplistic terms), a mountain… covered in snow. A mountain covered in snow exudes a different ambiance to your back garden covered in snow, and so the first thing I liked about skiing is how beautiful everything looks. Especially since we had amazing amazing sun which just amplified the beautiful.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t freaking love feeling the part in decked out in my fleece and coat and pants, which in particular were so comfy that I would genuinely consider buying some just for lazy-day wear. The assortment of colours and patterns I saw zooming down the slopes was great and plus you don’t have to worry about looking bloated or pale or dirty because you’re just one big mass of synthetic material 🙂
Being outdoors all day
I’ve always loved the feeling you get when you’ve spent the whole day outside, had a shower and put on your comfy clothes. You lungs feel so happy for some fresh air and your cheeks are all pink and satisfied ^.^
Snow is just cool?????
Things I disliked about skiing:
Why did no one tell me how much these buggars hurt? My feet hurt, my calves hurt, these crippling machines probably brought me the biggest discomfort of the day even when we were sitting down. 0/10 would not recommend.
I also didn’t expect mere walking with skis on to be so distressful. At one particular point I had no momentum to ski up a slight hill on the piste (because I’d gone so slowly down the previous…) and so I had to try to WALK, UP THE HILL WITH THESE HEAVIER THAN LIFE INTENTIONALLY FRICTIONLESS PANELS ON MY FEET, which probably burnt more calories than the entire day itself and left me nearly in tears. I did however get the hang of this a bit, on the flat anyway, more and more towards the end of the day.
2 reasons: a) Seemingly whenever I fell, it was impossible to stop falling. I expected to, and was fine with, being on my arse all day while learning to ski, however I didn’t expect to fall from the TOP of the hill to the BOTTOM, which was not only embarrassing but pretty emotionally traumatic. b) In addition, once you’ve fallen and gathered your (detached) skis, it is almost impossible to get back up again, and I thought at one point my team might have to just leave me on the mountain to meet my fate because I just could, not, get back on my feet. I could not get the skiing scene from Bridget Jones out of my head for the entire day and I’m convinced the similarity is uncanny.
Similar to climbing the mountains a couple of months ago, coming down them was a similar roller-coaster of emotion. While there were points where I could have easily had a good cry if someone had let me, there were others where I was sort of getting the hang of it and I really started to enjoy myself! My team were so great at teaching me the basics and not skiing off without me, so without them I’m not sure really sure what I would have done. A day later, I don’t hurt nearly as much as I expected to and can’t stop thinking about when I might be able to have another stab at it 😀
See below a couple of snaps, I wish I’d taken more pictures but I was concentrating so hard on perfecting my snow plough all day there was no room left in my head for anything else!
Erasmus goal accomplished: I think I may have caught the bug…