Thursday, 23 February 2006

Phil and Nicole's Ski lessons

Phil began his lessons with in the intermediate group. He skied a few times in Australia many years ago (over 20, but who's counting??). When he got shorter skis and told the techniques had changed, he knew it was going to be an interesting week!

Starting off with Harry, after one day on the lower slopes he was 'cut from the herd' and sent with the very advanced group (with Hubsi, the instructor sitting at the front of his group in the photo at the cross at the top of the mountain). They took the Chairlift to the top and Phil quickly found that he really didn't have the 'new technique' for slopes of this standard. He skied with the group for 2 days, had a great time but found the difficult slopes a bit challenging (and hard on the backside!). After hurting his knee on day 3, Cookie (our new Aussie friend in the ski school) advised him to drop back a group and just ski for fun. The instructor of this new group (now Ron) also had had knee problems, and quickly fixed up Phils technique - with some massive outcomes: No more knee pain, an ability to ski and confidence to tackle all of the runs on the mountain. [And then all the things that Hubsie was trying to get him to do made sense!!!!] Ron even dragged him down some of the Black runs (super steep and hard) and Phil was exhilerated that he was able to cope (and conquer!) these. Phil is hooked, and I think he would have stayed for another week if he was given the chance...

Nicole started in the beginners group with Ronnie. The group were all quick learners, and we learnt to snow plough, stop, and turn down a small hill quite quickly. Then we moved onto the first beginners slope in the afternoon. That wasn't too bad. It was a gentle hill, and we learnt to go from side to side without too many great falls (well, maybe a couple of spectacular falls!) I leant heaps on the first day, and really enjoyed myself. I was exhausted by 3pm, and ready to hit the swimming pool to ease the muscles that I haven't used in a long time! The second day we began on the 1st beginners slope again. It was a bit harader, as there was no new snow, and the snow was icy, so it sounded really rough as you skied over it, and it felt more slippery than the day before. I lost a bit of nerve, and felt myself being more cautious, and slower. The beginners slope was quite busy, and it was a long wait for the chairlifts, so Ronnie took us to the 3rd beginners slope....where I lost all my nerve and got really scared when I looked down the slope. The more I thought about how steep this slope was, the more I forgot the techniques I should be using, and the more I fell. The second day was exhausting and I can honestly say I really didn't enjoy myself (only because of my fear of heights). The following day, I went into the office to speak to Cookie, and ask her if I could drop into another beginners group. no problem, she put me with Gunter. (the "Dude" at the beginning of the line in my ski photo.) Things were a bit slower, I felt more confident. We skiied on the 1st beginners slope and progressed to the 2nd beginners slope. The following day I attempted the 3rd slope again (the one I lost my nerve on previously) and I managed it really well. I skiied down it 3 times, without falling once! The next day (my final day of lessons) we went up the mountain and skiied down some really big slopes....where I managed to totally freak out over the steep slopes, forget everything Gunter and Ronnie had taught me, and fall over heaps. but I wasn't the only one to be a bit scared, and fall over a lot! We all had a good laugh about it (well, I think you needed to laugh about it, otherwise I think I would have just cried). Even though I have not overcome my fear of steep slopes, I had a great time, and I am quite comfortable skiing on the beginner slopes! Maybe next year I will try the steep slopes.....after a couple of barcardi and lemonades perhaps!

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