There’s nothing like skiing on a cold winter’s day; your skis gliding over a perfectly prepared slope, the wind blowing through your hair, and the Norwich Christmas shoppers passing by below you…
Yes, I can see your puzzled expressions and no, climate change has not been so drastic as to turn Norwich into a winter wonderland complete with snow-laden mountains. Nor was there a concerted effort to store snow or import the best snow guns for some winter fun (Norwich is no Sochi).
Instead, the iSki came to town.
Essentially, the iSki is a bit like a giant treadmill, but instead of pounding the track with your trainers, you pop on a pair of skis, or a snowboard, and glide across the surface. The speed and gradient of the slope can be altered so that beginners (me!) could give it a go, while more experienced skiers or boarders could hone their skills on something more challenging.
After a small slope was erected in the city centre, I dared myself to have a go. For the first couple of weeks I merely drifted past and eyeballed the slope, weighing up my chances of falling flat on my face and providing passers-by with an impromptu slapstick performance. Eventually, however, I mustered up the courage and dragged a few friends to the slope during a lunch break.
Two, I am ASHAMED to say, bottled it as soon as they laid eyes on the sloping treadmill (you know who you are – wimps!). However, my brave friend Chantal decided to give it a whirl with me (and subsequently showed me up with her very impressive snowplough turns).
Once you are geared up, you can hold on to a rail at the front until you learn to balance on the moving carpet. It’s the weirdest feeling, but after a few minutes you do get used to it. Chantal and I then had a go at making different size snowploughs, which helps you to move up and down the slope. After we had mastered that, we had a go at doing a few turns.
Now, the session only lasted for 15 minutes but I was EXHAUSTED well before the end. If you have been looking for a killer workout for your thighs – THIS IS IT. I felt the burn for quite a few days afterwards – so much for all the gym work!
Although I struggled to keep going, the session definitely gave me a chance to practise what I had been learning in my lessons. It also gave me an insight in to how hard it was going to be to ski down a whole run on a mountain…
Of course, I didn’t escape without a little fall, but luckily any standers-by were very kind and didn’t burst into hysterical laughter.
If you ever get the chance to try one of these things out, give it a go! Having a continuous slope means that you have less stop-and-start, and you also don’t waste time queuing for lifts. Plus, if you do take a fall, the slope is stopped, so you don’t have to worry about careering off the end.