After my first ski holiday, I hung up my ski boots for a while. My aching body needed a little bit of recovery time. Then, when the time was ripe to hit the dry slope again, my social calendar became busy with things like birthdays, meals out, afternoons lying on the sofa…
Suddenly, after taking a break for a month or so, returning to the dry slope became a BIG DEAL. I pulled every form of delaying tactic I could think of to put off the inevitable. I was so good at this that a toddler well-versed in postponing bedtime would have applauded my efforts. However, I was eventually marched in to the car and taken down to the Norfolk Snowsports slope for a supervised session.
Clipping my boots into skis felt really weird again, as did going up the lift with no ski poles. I got stupidly nervous. Then, when I got off the lift about a quarter of the way up the slope, I became very afraid that I had forgotten everything I knew, and that I was going to plummet down this short stretch of slope and land in a messy heap.
I took a deep breath and pushed off.
I barely moved. The dry slope, after skiing on snow, felt like trying to move across treacle. My snow plough was all over the place and I struggled to pick up speed. I honestly felt like I was back at square one with my skiing. My hopes of being able to get signed off in this one session seemed to fade dramatically before me. I mentally kicked myself. Hard.
But I persevered. Gradually, I made it higher and higher up the slope and I was linking my snow ploughs the way I had done on holiday. I also stayed in control the whole time – a new experience for me on the dry slope. I even began to enjoy myself.
Towards the end of the session, I was given the go-ahead to start from the top of the slope. Eeek.
Now, before my ski trip, the top of the slope and I had had a series of disagreements. I didn’t like it and the feeling, I am sure, was mutual. For those of you who have used the dry slope in Norwich, you will know that at the top, on the left-hand side, is a strip of mud and grass. Guess where I went on my first ever visit to the top of the slope.
With this memory playing on my mind, I felt justifiably apprehensive. But as I looked down the slope, I realised that it wasn’t as steep as I remembered. In fact, it looked quite reasonable in comparison to some of the pistes I went down on holiday. I felt a little reassured.
So when it was my turn, I tipped over the edge and set off. I sailed all the way down without a single fall, slip, or lapse in control. I’d made it!
Throughout the rest of the session I skied down from the top. Over and over. By the end, I was disappointed that it was time to stop.
I went home with a big smile on my face. I got signed off to use the slope, and I hadn’t fallen over once. Well, that wasn’t strictly true, but for once my fall was not really my fault – there had been a pile-up on the lift when someone failed to get off it properly. At least I could comfort myself that I was not the only person taken out in this way. While I scrambled out of reach, the people behind me fell prey to same thing. We bonded over the experience.
So, with my new-found confidence, who knows what’s next? First step main slope, second step moguls and waves! Or maybe not…
Liked this? Check out my post on preparing to ski!