Novice Skier – Part 4

10 February 2014

Learning to ski in Italy
Preparation, Ski Equipment, Lessons & more…

When I mention the words black and run in the same sentence, does your blood run cold? When you get off the chairlift, head towards the edge and cannot see which direction the slope runs; does that make you want to run for the hills? How about being on a slope so steep you’re afraid to point your ski’s down because all of a sudden you have forgotten how to turn? Perhaps it has been a long time since you braved your first black run, but for me the answer rings a very loud truth; YES, skiing my way onto an extremely unnatural terrain is both terrifying and exhilarating.

(Don’t worry though; it’s nothing a few heart-stopping screams can’t do to control the adrenaline rush on the way down).

Some people have a tremendous ability to convince you to take on something you could easily turn your back on. Maybe because you’re scared or because you just don’t feel it is yet the right time. Then again, can anyone really convince you do to anything you don’t really want to do? Most likely not. But this does not mean you cannot later blame them for the experience endured. After only 5 weeks of skiing I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready to take on a dreaded black run, but me being me I quickly decided to go for it anyway.

Spending the day in a new area (Cortina d’Ampezzo) made the decision a lot easier as I was blind to the reality of what I was letting myself in for. By the time I had reached the top, it was too late to turn back. The ‘novice skier feeling’ came rushing back as I stood staring down in fear, my body slowly freezing to the spot. It must have been funny listening to a 23 yr old telling herself to get a grip whilst gently encouraging herself down the slope – if only I could have laughed along too.

I’d sussed it! The only way to get down was to let out a little scream (some might tell you these screams could be heard from the valley but I’d say that was an exaggeration) every time I pointed my ski’s downhill and then use the entire width of the slope before continuing the process. As the end neared my confidence grew (sort of) and I kept going until I was once again on flat, safe ground. Looking back at what I’d just descended, I was finally able to laugh at the whole experience as my hands trembled with adrenaline.

Yes, it may have taken an age to reach the bottom.
No, it wasn’t done with any hint of skill or technique.
Yes, I am a long way from bragging that I can ski black runs.
And no, I am not particularly bouncing my way to the next opportunity..

BUT I have officially overcome my initial fear of steep slopes and can say I have made my first step towards taking on any colour run that comes my way!

(and just for the record, I would only have blamed myself if I hadn’t made the attempt).

Collett’s blogs are written by our resort diarist, photographer, walker and skier, Kelly Diggle.

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