Sunday, January 11, 2009

1-11-09: Skiing After a 15 Year Break

I hadn't gone skiing since I was about seven years old until today. Why the long break? In short: ice hockey, and a move away from the mountains. I also had some issues with my last memory of trying to ski, in which I repeatedly crossed the tips and fell, a lot. That was when I was seven, though.

The lady friend is a big skier, in the upper-intermediate level. She's gone on ski trips to various locales in New England (pretty much all the big mountains) and is going on a trip to Whistler, British Columbia at the end of the month. But today, she and I headed up to Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall, CT.

Despite the treacherous road conditions, we made it up to the mountain at about 9:30AM, a bit later than expected, but still plenty of time to enjoy the quite good conditions. I started off with a lesson at 11:00AM, after getting all set with rentals and whatnot. The lesson was with an older instructor named Bill Pierpont, who was awesome. We started off with myself and a nice girl named Jill, who was probably in her mid to late 20's. As stated above, I hadn't been skiing since I was seven. Jill had gone once about ten years ago. Bill started us off with a quick lesson in stopping at the bottom of the Nutmeg trail ("bunny slope"), then we went up on the lift to the top of the run.

Jill was nice but had some issues with staying upright. For whatever reason (most likely luck), I didn't fall once the entire day. After a couple runs of just working on basic turns, Bill made it a one-one-one lesson and we went through a couple runs of more dynamic turns and stops. I told him I had played hockey since I was three, and he was really good at making the connection to skating. I found that when I built up some speed, turning was easier. I almost lost my edge and/or crossed the tips a few times, but recovered. For whatever reason, and I have a working theory, I have a little more difficulty turning right than turning left. My theory is that, since my right foot is the dominant foot, I use it for balance. When I turn to the right on skis, I had to balance on my left ski. I worked at it, and got better over the course of a few hours.

After my lesson, it was lunch with the lady friend. She had packed us some sandwiches, which hit the spot. She spent the time I was in my lesson doing some of the tougher runs, which seemed decent. We spent a few hours going up and down the bunny slope, trying to get me to turn correctly. I have to admit that I was impressed by her patience, but she seems to think I'm good enough to go on the other trails. I've got stopping and turning down OK for a beginner. I'm looking forward to it! Great day.

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