Skiing in the city centre

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.


Let’s get the slope moving!

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 Рwimps!).  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.


Going hands-free!

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.

You can watch a short clip of the iSki in action here and you can also find it on Facebook. Check it out!


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