A Beginner’s Guide to Skiing (sort of)

Skiing. Anyone who’s been raves about it, and people who haven’t appear generally indifferent to it. Whether the latter comes through jealousy or inability to go skiing, or whether it is simply an indifference towards the activity, depends on the person.

Before going skiing, I can safely say I was indifferent to it. In fact, I was probably more actively against going, convinced I wouldn’t be any good at it and that it was far too expensive. As it turns out, both those things were true, and although I am no longer actively against going skiing again, I think I’ve only progressed to simply indifferent.

The holiday as a whole was actually fantastic, and I’ll do a separate post about it. However, this post is just about skiing. Skiing for beginners, for the uninitiated, for those not in the know. Because, as I said before, everyone who goes skiing raves about it, and I used to find myself wondering just what was so amazing about skiing.

I didn’t have any lessons whilst we were away, but Matt’s a pretty good skier and taught me the basics, which was fine. After I got over the initial panic, and we were on a decent learning slope, I was really getting the hang of it. The second day we were at Krvavec ski resort was, indeed, amazing. The sun was shining, we were above the clouds, there were amazing views, and I was really improving. By the end of the day I could ski down the baby slope myself, and was really getting the hang of controlling the skis. Best of all, I could finally stop all by myself and without falling over!

The trouble really began the next day, when it became very obvious just how scared of heights and falling I am. Trying any steeper slopes made me panicky, and I’d just freeze up. I was fine going up on a drag lift, but it was the skiing back down again which was the problem. I was still fine on the flatter slopes, and I could remember all the basic and technically how to get down, I was just terrified of shooting off down the hill too fast and coming a cropper on the way down.

I still enjoyed the last couple of days, but more for the atmosphere than the actual skiing. It was always a triumph when I got to the bottom of a slope, and despite how long it took me I always felt quite proud of myself, but I just wasn’t able to let myself go and progress any further.

It’s a shame, because skiing is truly euphoric, which I suppose is why everyone who goes constantly spouts its praises. When you’re skiing down a slope – however slowly – there’s a sense of independence offered by the fact that you, alone, are doing this (even if someone’s shouting at you to turn now or point your skis in a certain direction…). There’s a sense of calm from being surrounded by white, as far as the eye can see. And there’s the beauty of the place. It’s quite a surreal feeling, and of course the skiing itself is an unusual type of movement which the body isn’t used to.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I can see why people love skiing so much. Unfortunately, I think to really appreciate it, you kind of have to be quite good at it in the first place.

So here’s to getting better at skiing. And if that fails, here’s to sitting inside a log cabin for most of the day, enjoying the scenery and a constant stream of nice warm cocoa.

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