A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom – Warren Miller.
I am back to blogging after a complete whirlwind of a week or so. A couple of weeks ago, I was messaging my best friend who is currently doing a ski season in Les Gets, France, and within the space of a few hours, I had book my flights to Geneva for five days later. Fast forward two weeks and I am on UK soil once more, ready to share with you my tips on skiing. You must take these with a pinch of salt because I am in no way a ski pro, at all. The bruises, aches and pains (as well as photographic and video evidence) can prove it. However, I can give you some tips and tricks that I learned along the – albeit short – way.
GET THE CORRECT GEAR
This goes without saying. What also goes without saying is that, in true Faye way, I was completely disorganised in the packing for any form of skiing. Luckily, said best friend, Dottie, had lots of layers and her boyfriend had a spare pair of salopettes for me to borrow. Not only will you look the part in multiple thermals, bright goggles and thick socks, but it won’t be so cold – and it won’t hurt as much – when you inevitably fall over.
YOU WILL FALL OVER
It is fact; do not try and deny that it won’t happen to you. My first day was either a complete fluke, or, skiing is my true calling and I just lost all confidence on the second day. A combination of confidence loss and being extremely tired will lead to lack of concentration and before you know it, you’re lying in a blanket of snow with your skis in the air and the sky above you. Embrace the falls because all skiers have them, even the pros.
DON’T LOSE THAT FEARLESSNESS
My biggest mistake was losing my fearlessness. On the first day, I threw myself down the slopes, and managed to stay vertical the entire afternoon. It not only pushed my confidence higher but gave me that child-like attitude of everything will be alright. However, falling over seven times in one hour does get to you a little bit and the frustration kicks in. The next time I was on the slopes, I was completely chicken and only wedged myself forward ever so slightly, until I lost all control and raced ahead, smacking into some snow. It was hilarious.
TRUST YOUR TEACHER
If anyone is not going to let you have a major accident on the slopes, it is your teacher. Luckily, I didn’t have to pay for lessons as Dottie’s friend and co-worker is pretty great at skiing. One of the things he said to me, as he led me down a Blue run (as a beginner, don’t do it if you’re not at least 70% sure you won’t fling yourself off the edge of a mountain), was “Do you trust me?” and I replied with, “I’m going to have to.” In truth, I did. I didn’t majorly hurt myself, and he caught me a lot of times, even when I dragged him down with me.
Your ski boots are very sturdy objects, and you will not fall out of them. They are built to take the weight of your entire body, even on one boot. Leaning into them is a strange feeling at first, as we are taught to stand straight, planting all of our weight on the soles of our feet; nevertheless, this is how you are more likely to control your movements on the skis as well as avoid falling backwards into the snow.
DON’T SNAIL PACE
Snail pacing = stopping. It is very hard not to when you are in the frame of mind of I’m going to fall… However, if you snail pace, you will stop dead in the snow, and have to shuffle forward, which essentially isn’t skiing. Let go! You can do it; believe me, the small people on the mountain skiing down steep slopes will make you want to push yourself to do better.
As in all things, having the confidence to do something is half the battle. This point goes hand in hand with the Fearlessness one above. You want to go skiing; you want to challenge yourself; you want to improve your skills. Have the confidence to do so.
The most obvious point, and it goes without saying but just in case…
Have you been skiing? Can you remember the first time you headed up the slopes? I want to know some of your ski-related stories!
Love, Faye xo