Facing my fears

Right before our birthdays this year, my friends and I started a tradition of writing a list, something that helped us reflect on life. It consisted of three categories: what I am thankful for, what I have learned and what I look forward to. Life is a school and it seems like there’s a practicum for every season. I believe it’s important to keep on learning although a lot of times, it’s so easy to get lost in the mundane details of daily life. Having the list helps me to focus on achieving the goals I’ve set for myself.

I revisited my list and there it was, on the list of things I look forward to, I’ve written “Improving my skiing skills”.

Today, I read this quote from Sir John Lubbock: “In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking”. I admit, I’ve used lack of time as an excuse—sometimes when I’m legitimately busy, at other times when the will is weak.

So as I promised on my last entry, I did make time to go skiing. After the craziness of deadline yesterday (which marks the eighth year of SPIN, by the way), off to the village I went to line up on the Village Platter.

And who do you suppose I ran into? Nancy Greene Raine herself!

“How is your skiing going?” she asked.

I smiled, and admitted I was learning slowly. “This is why I’m going up there to practise,” I explained to her.

“What’s the most important thing about skiing?” she asked.

“Form?” I ventured, remembering how my last instructor kept reminding me of the importance of not leaning back when skiing.

“Balance,” she corrected. “You know you’re balanced if you can do this,” she said, and proceeded to lightly bounce on her skis while keeping them planted on the ground. “I’ll show you when we get to the top.”

So up the Platter lift we went and, lucky me, I got a few precious minutes of one-on-one ski instruction from Canada’s Athlete of the Century.

This morning, I had another ski lesson. I met Wendy, our ski instructor, and three other students. This is the biggest group of skiers I’ve been with so far. Ariadna is originally from Panama and now lives with her family in Prince George. Her family has been making a yearly pilgrimage to Sun Peaks Resort every winter for four years now. Carl and Angel are from Vancouver Island. They’re visiting Carl’s family in Kamloops and have decided to visit Sun Peaks, a first for Angel.

This lesson was to solidify previous skills we learned on turning and balance. Wendy told us to ski down Gentle Giant making gentle turns while holding our poles horizontally in front, then moving them down to the right knee, back up to the front and down to the left knee. This simple technique puts the body in the right position for turns. It also helps shift the body’s weight to facilitate the turn. Just as we were starting to feel comfortable, Wendy asked us to go down Sunbeam, a different run with a steeper incline to test our skills (the practicum part!). Despite taking a few spills and a few close calls, all three of us made it to the bottom in one piece.

Going back to that list, under the “Things I have learned” part, I wrote “I realize that it’s easier to face your fears and be done with it than have it hanging over your head all the time. Often, what you’re scared of isn’t really that scary at all”. As I learn to ski, I see it as facing my fear head on. And today, although I’m still a work in progress, I realize that it is, in fact, not that scary at all.

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