Skiing escapades

Clichéd but true: Practice makes perfect

 | December 25, 2009

It’s true what they say. When you’re learning anything new, it’s best to practise, practise, practise. And if that’s not enough, practise some more.

I didn’t practise.

After a two-week hiatus from the slopes (I was away to attend my best friend’s wedding in warm and sunny Bangkok, but that’s a different story), I’m back and ready to continue my winter adventure. Today, the slopes were swarming with people. There was a group of tiny tots herded by an enthusiastic female ski instructor, like a mother duck teaching her ducklings how to glide on water for the first time. Boarders and skiers of all ages were zipping down the slope beside the platter lift, all enjoying a nice day outside under blue skies.

My instructor for my second lesson was Robert, a soft-spoken, mellow guy from the UK. The other student was Claire, also from the UK, who’s visiting the resort with her husband and kids.

Despite having a grand time in Thailand, I realized it came with a price. My newly acquired skills on skis (i.e. making turns and stopping) had gotten a little rusty, which means my performance on the slopes today wasn’t as stellar as the last one. But that’s okay. Just like in everything, there’ll be days that are great and others that are, well, not so great.

However, I did learn a lot of things. For example, I learned that skiing requires total mental and physical commitment for any action you’ve begun. It requires concentration so you’re always prepared for what’s ahead, what manoeuvres you’ll make, and what direction you’ll take. At the same time, you need to be mentally relaxed so you’re not overthinking every move. It’s about having fun while maintaining control. Hesitating, even for a moment, can result in a wipe out or a ridiculous attempt at regaining your balance.

Skiing also requires a lot of trust. Robert said skis are like giant boots, and their range of movement extends as an arch on each side. One must learn to balance by putting one’s weight at the centre of the skis or the balls of the feet. At this point, I have a tendency to lean back when I’m going too fast, putting most of my weight on the heels, which according to my instructor, limits my control to about a third of the skis. My next goal is to perfect my skiing posture (shins forward, knees past the toes and head past the knees) and to trust the skis.

But the best analogy I heard today from Robert is that skiing is like a dance. It’s “turn to the left, straighten-up, turn to the right, straighten up” set to a three-quarters beat. In an instant, I had this waltz music playing in my head and I’m feeling calm.

Learning how to ski is like yoga with a little adrenaline mixed in. It’s mastering physical control tempered with an inner balance. I’m eager to continue learning in the few weeks ahead. Right now, I dream of the day when I’ll be skiing like a pro!

But to get there requires one more thing: practice. So as God is my witness, I promise to practise! See you on the slopes!

To book a ski lesson, contact Sun Peaks Resort’s Sports School at 250-578-5505.

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