A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ski monday...

I fell for an older man on Monday.

Well kind of fell on top of him, in front of him and then next to him...

I took my first ever ski lesson and let's just say that I expect I will be quite sore for a few days to come!

A lovely guy called Charlie was assigned to be my teacher for an hour or so on Monday morning before letting me loose on the slopes on my own!

I couldn't believe it when he said he was in his 60s and had only learnt to ski 7 years ago. Oh and he's been an instructor for 6 years now! Wow! So there was me thinking that I am an old dog trying to learn new tricks and he totally blew that theory out of the window!!

We went up to Bittersweet Snowboard and ski school where the kids took a lesson a few weeks ago. I can't be the only one on the family who doesn't ski can I?!

So I got suited and booted and then made my way to pick up my skis. First hurdle - working out how to walk in the boots. I was so slow and was kind of stomping my way along the room! Everyone else had the heel to toe thing figured out but it took me a while to catch on! Hmmm, I can't even walk in the boots, how am I ever going to figure out how to ski elegantly down the big ski slope outside the doors?!

Because let's face it, the professionals and just about everyone else I have ever seen skiing, make it looks so easy! As a child, I spent many sunday afternoons watching ski sunday and pretending to jump off the slopes (or sofa!) with my little brother.

Even Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards looked vaguely elegant when he whooshed off the ski jump!

So I was very excited and oh so very nervous about zooming down the big hill on skis!

We started on the bottom half of the bunny hill. Using the magic carpet to get to the starting point and then making my way down the hill with Charlie in front of me. Let's just say right now that I was far from elegant!

Views from the magic carpet

It's so counter-intuitive! I was told to lean forward to go slower or stop, when all I wanted to do was lean back! Shift your weight on your feet but not your whole body. Push right to go left. So much to think about.
Thankfully we were pretty much on our own for the first 30 minutes but then 150 school kids descended on us and I suddenly had moving objects to avoid!
I frightened the life out of little girl as I came hurtling down the hill screaming because my snow plow / pizza slice / tips pointed together manoeuvre wasn't slowing me down as fast as I hoped it would! I did the only thing I could think of and fell backwards onto my bum! Whoops!

But before long I was catching on and apparently ready for the longer steeper hill...

Except this involved catching the chair lift up to the top. I wasn't given long to think about it and before I knew it I was being whisked up the mountain. With nothing holding me in! No bar, just me sitting on a chair with big heavy skis and boots attached to my legs which were dangling below the chair. Did I mention that I am afraid of heights?!
Thankfully I didn't have long to worry about that as I had to work out how to get off the chair whilst it is moving. Apparently this would involve skiing off the end. Yeah that didn't go well. I fell off 2 out of 3 times (the other time Charlie pushed me off)! They stopped the lift as I was picked up off my bottom and back onto my ski-clad feet!

I made it down the hill 2 times with the instructor with varying degrees of success. No sooner than I had learnt to go in a straight line, he wanted me to do turns! But I finally got the hang of it and I was left to do 1 more run on my own whilst he showed Jeremy how to do something way more complicated... So we made it to the top of the hill and I told them I would follow them down so I knew which route to take.
I almost bottled it and very nearly stayed where I was, but I plucked up the courage to go for it and pushed off.
Except I started off too fast, picked up speed and flew past them in a blur of purple!
They were busy discussing the sideways moves that Jeremy was attempting then looked back up to see where I was. When they couldn't see me they looked down and couldn't believe I was already at the bottom!
Trust me, I couldn't either! I had a major adrenaline rush and was shaking for ages afterwards. I do not know how I made it down in one piece but I had to laugh afterwards!!
We headed to the restaurant for lunch and for me to calm down before we gave it another go.
I decided I didn't fancy falling off the chair lift again so stayed on the bunny hill, practicing my turns and how to stop (a pretty important thing to learn I think!).

Some of the school kids kept asking me for help. I found out later that it wasn't my amazing skiing skills, but that one of their instructors was also wearing a purple jacket and black ski pants so the kids were told to look out for someone wearing that outfit!

It was an absolutely beautiful day... Blue skies, fresh white snow and bright sunshine all day! Honestly we could not have asked for better weather (though I was worried when the car said -1oF at 8am!) - Michigan at it's finest.

At the top of the slope before my kamikaze trip to the bottom! 

So there you have it. I did it and really enjoyed it! I will definitely do it again but will make sure I get another lesson or two. It's one thing to get down an almost empty slope but goodness knows what I would have done if there were many more people on that hill!

P.S. How stunning is Michigan in the winter?! 

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