JUST over two months ago, I signed up for a beginners’ skiing course at The Snow Centre in Hemel.
Never having even set foot in a ski boot, let alone actually having a ski attached to my foot, it is fair to say that even the word beginner was overstating my ability. In short, I had no idea what to expect or whether I would be able to cut it.
Fast forward 10 weeks and the results are pretty dramatic, even if I do say so myself. It is not just me who has made rapid strides under the tutelage of instructors Steve McKay and Sue Richman, though – all of the trainees have grown in both confidence and expertise.
From our humble beginnings, stuttering Bambi-esque down the practice run, we progressed markedly to the point where we were winding our way (fairly) confidently down the main slope – with only the odd tumble here an there!
Over the course of the 10 weeks, we worked our way through the plough position – skis pointed inwards, effectively ploughing through the snow – and had started to enter the realms of parallel skiing. That one speaks for itself.
We also got to take a look at ourselves in the dreaded video analysis, while acquiring a first aid certificate and mountain safety knowledge in the process.
There have certainly been a number of thrills and spills on the way – not least one of my fledgling attempts on the main slope where a slight bump sent me careering downhill with nothing but an, ahem, graceful fall and the safety netting to stop me!
Doubtless, my technique still requires plenty of work – for example my somewhat shaky uphill leg, which tends to go a tad wobbly when I am in full flight – but the course has given me the knowledge and practice needed to continue my development in my own time, should the chance arise.
Tiring, yes, hard work at times, yes, but a worthwhile experience? Definitely.
Thanks are certainly due to Steve and Sue for putting up with our numerous dodgy runs and somewhat unorthodox attempts to get off the ski lift, but I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all.
Let’s face it, I’m certainly no Hermann Maier or Bode Miller just yet, but I and the rest of the guys on the course have certainly taken our first few steps on the slippery slope to ski success.
Come to think of it, the next winter Olympics are taking place in Russia in 2014 – I wonder if Team GB are recruiting...
> For anyone interested in following in my footsteps and trying out the experience for themselves, Steve and Sue will be launching another 10 week beginners’ course, starting in April.
To book a place on the course, or to find out more, please call 01442 817491.