A few weekends ago, I got the chance to go cross country skiing again, for the first time in a few years. I’d only ever done it a few times before, and my experience, while fun, basically consisted of sliding a few feet and then falling over.
Not the most painful thing when you are landing on a big cushion of snow, but not exactly how you want the whole experience to go either.
Part of my issue when I did my skiing before was I’d just rented a pair of skis and gone out into the wilds of British Columbia with only a few Youtube videos to prepare me on the mechanics of the actual skiing part. You know, the important part.
No teacher, no accomplices to show me where I was messing up. As such, doing basic things like not eating a face full of snow when going down mild declines were a little beyond me.
However, when I hit the proverbial slopes more recently, I had the benefit of actually having a teacher of sorts, and I was able to ask basic questions.
Questions like: “How do I stop?”
I’d Googled it, give me that much credit at least, and watched videos, but actually seeing someone perform this action in-person and explain why they moved a certain way finally made the information click.
My instructor and I had been on a golf course that had been graded for the purpose of cross country skiing, and even on that I ate snow a few times (one of these falls was especially embarrassing, when I tried to bunny-hop over a hole in the ground). But I was running high on new knowledge, and didn’t want to stop there.
I still had my rented skis for the day and decided to noodle on up to the mountains – obviously I was not in Missouri – for a little more practice.
Back on my own, and with the winter day winding down, I was nervous. Like a total rube, as I entered the ski area, I asked a few people if “this was the beginner’s course.”
I was especially nervous when I hit my first big hill on the course, as I don’t exactly relish the experience of pratfalling downhill with meter-long ankle-twisters strapped to my boots.
But just a few hours earlier, I’d been shown the trick I needed to survive, and for the first time, I skied a few miles up and down hills without falling once. And as I scooted back down to the starting area, heading down a steep hill, I felt a huge rush of exhilaration as I skimmed down over the snow in total control of my momentum.
Having a little to much pride is one of my foibles, and I’m especially prideful when it comes to figuring things out on my own. However, being shown the ropes by an expert, and the ease of implementing those skills after a helping hand really led me to an experience I won’t forget for a while.