07 January 2014
Learning to Ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…
After having made my way through primary and secondary school without signing up to a winter trip, I decided skiing may not be a sport I would be privileged enough to try. It’s true when I say I was brought up with very little money and in all honesty I am thankful for that as it has made me realise what is important in life; money is not one of them. That’s not to say I didn’t dream about flying down slopes and face planting in the snow, which my Mum may find hard to believe as I really was a down-right wuss as a child.
Originally, when being accepted as part of Collett’s Mountain Holidays I was all set to head out for winter 2012. A completely different experience popped its head up last minute however and I opted for that and instead got myself ready for a summer season in the Dolomites for 2013. Unsurprisingly I fell in love with the area and jumped at the chance to come back for my first ever winter season! In hindsight, returning with great knowledge of the Dolomites and South Tyrol has put less pressure on my lack of skiing ability so a lot more energy and time can go into it.
So, with 6 weeks to get myself sorted I had to find all of the ski gear, squeeze some lessons in and juggle a new temporary job in order to afford to get myself back to the mountains. The hardest part? Living and working in London. It couldn’t have been better however as I landed a job with an on-line outdoor retailer and subsequently collected bits of ski gear with a very generous discount. Leaving early every Thursday, I jumped on 2 tube trains, one overground and drove 1 hour each way for my 2 hour dry-slope ski lesson – phew! 6 hours of lessons later, a 6 week London experience under my belt and all of the gear packed, I really had no idea what to expect for the next 4 months ahead.
My first day on snow was definitely one to remember. I’m pretty sure my first words as I clipped onto my ski’s were “This snow is pretty slippery!” and as I stared down the (what felt like a steep) long, white and intimidating slope I questioned what the hell I had signed myself up for. Crashing my way through the barrier and gripping nervously onto the button lift I also started questioning who had named this the Nursery Slope – it looked huge and steep from where I was standing! Remembering everything I was taught, my snow plough was strong and I got down with only 1 or 2 (perhaps 3) graceful falls to the bottom. And so the process repeated for 3 hours as I slowly became more and more comfortable.
After a much needed rest and calf muscle stretch, I was met by the lovely Mario who whisked me away for my very own private lesson. We headed to Colfosco to try out the long blue run which offers a wide slope and an extended time to practise turning. It was also a good lesson in how the chairlifts work, a scary experience in itself when you’re unsure of what to do as you zoom towards a snow mound which drops down the other side. But never fear, with Mario in one hand and my poles in the other, I successfully avoided an embarrassing moment… this time.
The techniques he showed me were great and I really felt a significant improvement throughout the day. That was until tiredness kicked in and boy, did it come from nowhere! One minute I was happily doing my thing and the next my legs refused to turn. Being only halfway down the slope I had to carry on before I could call it a day. Many falls and a fed up grumble later, we were back on the chairlift and a big grin spread across my face – could I now officially call myself a skier?! The warm applause I received from the lift men upon my return suggested that yes, I jolly well could.
Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle. If you are out on a winter walk, snowshoe itinerary or ski day with her you are sure to be included in her photographs in one of her weekly blogs. Kelly’s personal travel blog can be found here.