Adam’s skiing blog: Part 2

17/5/2011'Charity skiers and celebrities at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre.
17/5/2011'Charity skiers and celebrities at Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre.

After a successful first skiing lesson, I could not wait to get back on the snow and continue my progress.

Having learnt the very basics in week one, it was now time to move on to some more testing activities such as using the rope lift, ploughing and turning.

Full of confidence after a good start (and having not fallen over...yet) I was keen to get back into the swing of things, and kitted up ready for lesson number two.

After getting used to the skis once again, instructors Stephen McKay and Sue Richman told us we would be using the rope lift for the first time to hoist ourselves up the practice slope.

Simple, I thought and took hold of the rope. Up I went, making smooth progress and hopped off at the other end, only to realise that getting off wasn’t quite as easy as getting on.

Eventually I clambered to the position where the group were gathering, and Sue informed me that I needed to make sure my right leg was as eager to dismount as my left. That way I wouldn’t simply slide backwards.

So I made a mental note - must sort out lazy right leg. Got it.

Once we had all made it up the slope, we were given a demonstration of the plough position – skis pointing inwards in a v-shape, effectively creating a snow plough (hence the name) as you slide downwards. That way, the speed of the descent could be regulated.

Although finding it initially difficult to get into the position without sliding forward, we gradually began to get to grips with what was asked of us and, slowly but surely, thinks started to click.

Having just about worked out the art of dismounting from the rope – lazy leg suitable rectified – and realising that the plough was all about making sure the balance and initial set-up were right, I felt like lesson two had been another success and I was ready to go on to the third instalment.

So one week later I headed back to The Snow Centre to meet up with the group, once again ready for the challenge ahead.

We kitted up, got on the slope, and prepared to practice what we had learnt last time out.

Not particularly by choice, but rather due to the fact that I was closest to the lift, it was down to me to go first...and then the dreaded happened.

We were on the opposite side of the slope to the week before, and as I prepared to get into the plough position, it suddenly dawned on my – I couldn’t work out how to do it the other way round.

From that moment there was only going to be one outcome and, sure enough, as soon as I attempted to get into position, my skis took a life of their own and began to slide down the slope – with me gracefully following behind on my backside.

So it had happened – I had fallen over. Despite the initial embarrassment at my rather ungraceful decent, though, I think in a way it actually helped me.

I knew what falling over was like and would be ready for it next time. Every cloud and all that.

With my confidence slightly dented, I prepared for my next attempt – and then experienced what has to be described as a ‘eureka moment’.

While I was getting into position, Sue pointed out that my knees were far too stiff – restricting my movement as I tried to turn my skis into the v-shape.

By allowing more flexibility, it suddenly made sense to me that I could move my legs into a wider position more quickly, thus creating more stability. It had clicked.

With this in mind, I felt far more secure on the slope as I prepared for my descent.

And although there were a few hairy moments over the course of my numerous runs as turns were introduced, I had got my confidence back.

I know that I still need to work on maintaining the plough position to keep a check on my speed, but I am sure that will come with practice.

A third of the way through the course, myself and the other guys would all agree that our progress so far has been pretty rapid and we are already starting to feel like we are on the way to becoming skiers.

Obviously there’s still a long way to go, but the signs are there that we are on course to achieve our aim of becoming fairly competent by the end of week 10.

Hopefully it’s not all downhill from here.