I stood on a pair of skis

Yeah yeah, it’s skiing, every millennial has been on a season or a school trip.

Well no.

57 days shy of turning 29, today I stood on a pair of skis for the first time in my life. On a break in the Cairngorms, more specifically, Aviemore, with snow falling in the valley, I took the opportunity to take advantage of the situation.

I’ve been coming to Aviemore most years of my life, whether on a break or on business. The last time for fun was the Pyllon XP and you’ll know if you read the article, we had deep snow and high winds. In previous years, outside of sledding on a small hill in Glenmore Forest with family, life never took me to the slopes. Back 14 or so years ago, my father put me on a one day snowboarding course on the same mountain and I really enjoyed it, ditching the tows for running up the piste, snowboard on shoulder.

For what ever reason, I never ventured onto a piste again. Heck, outside of heading to Stockholm for a anniversary weekend, I’ve not headed anywhere in winter.

But wait, I may have made this sound like the stars aligned, it was pure coincidence. Knowing we were headed up here, my partner Lisa gave me ski lessons for our anniversary back in November. The plan was to get me some experience before we arrived….. We never booked them. With the best will in the world, life and our inability to book anything (the times we do, something always seems to go wrong) got in the way.lisa ski 1Booking in last minute with Skinorwest, for a private lesson 24 hours before the lesson would begin (I said we were crap at organising our life together), fingers crossed the weather gods would be on our side, as temperatures were due to plummet that night.

Coached by Mike, the beginner slopes were quiet and the pair of us got to grips with ploughing, turning and generally getting around with two planks clipped onto some of the least manoeuvrable boots I’ve experienced. Guess I’ll get used to them, that and the walk like your legs have splints and locked ankles.

james skiI was pretty stoked by the experience. With trail running, mountain biking, strength training and what ever I throw my hand at, fitness and general skills are enough to get the hand of the basics. But skiing is counterintuitive and the stance to plough certainly engages the legs in a different way. I was glad I didn’t go on the hill session I had in mind before the lesson.

Whereas Lisa used skill, I shot in front, rapidly gaining speed, ploughing left and right, in  a unsuccessful attempt to gain control. Both Lisa and Mike thought I looked strong and was doing well, internally, I knew I was throwing the lesson out the window and using my body to find some sort of grip.

It would be Lisa, after the lesson, as we put the fundamentals into practice, that she pointed out I was trying to plough in turns, rather then only with my outside foot. One T bar tow and putting these new wise words into action, boom, big difference. I could tame speed much better…. to a point ha!

Practice. Practice. Practice.

It’s the start, clearly there is a rate of progression and commitment to either the local snowdome in Milton Keynes or weekend breaks to the slopes are required to move forward.

If you’re thinking about trying a new sport, do it. Get the help you feel you need, walk before you can run and above all, keep a smile on your face.