Dot and I had our first skiing lesson on Friday – wow! Who knew it would be so good. We loved it.
Dot was more nervous than I was, which unfortunately meant she didn’t progress as quickly as she could have done, but she did brilliantly nonetheless. I fell almost straightaway and that had the effect of making me less nervous. It was a shock, but it didn’t hurt very much. When you have gone out the side door, falling from a 6ft 6 horse as many times as I have, watching him gallop off into the distance as you hit the ground, then falling when skiing is a doddle.
We were going very slowly and on a very low slope at this point I should add (some might say it was even flat), so obviously I don’t know what it feels like to fall down up a mountain at speed, I imagine that hurts a lot.
We stayed on the nursery slopes and though we did gradually go higher, we didn’t reach the summit. Little kids flew past us on their skis, skilfully turning and snow ploughing like they had been doing it all their lives, which of course many of them probably had. Hinterglemm is a village in the mountains so everybody who lives and grows up here must ski as it’s often the easiest way to get around. I can say that with authority after having walked into a deep snow drift and getting stuck up to my hip – it’s very difficult to pull yourself out of something like that – especially when the people you are with are too busy laughing to help! I couldn’t stop laughing either mind you.
Despite how it looks – graceful and easy – skiing is hard work and Dot had had enough before the end of our three-hour lesson on Friday, so we were able to carry the final hour over to Saturday. So yesterday we donned our skis again and went out to meet Viktor our instructor (he has been skiing since he was 3 and he’s now 50, see, told you, I think children learn to ski as soon as they can walk over here.)
Dot didn’t really get into it – I think she was still tired from the lesson the day before. I loved it and practised my snow plough and moved on to turns, slowly getting the hang of them. I still wasn’t very high on the slope but each time I picked up speed I panicked and stopped myself. It took a while to get over that, but by the end of the lesson I was more calm and able to move as Viktor instructed. What a lovely guy and a great instructor; I love his accent when he speaks English.
Too soon our lesson was over so we headed back to the hotel, said goodbye to Viktor and got ready to return our skis to the hire shop. I decided to have one last go on my own, on the small slope at the side of our hotel. I side stepped up the slope easily, planted my ski poles facing downwards as I turned my skis to point in the direction I wanted to go, then I began gliding forwards. I snow ploughed then turned, picking up a little speed as I went, down to the bottom… and straight into the hotel fence…