I’ve never been skiing

I’ve never been skiing so I can’t say whether I would enjoy it or not, but I rather think I wouldn’t. It’s not just my left right thing and imagining I might turn my skis the wrong way or lean in the opposite direction I was instructed to, or the number of times I would fall over, and the small amount of progress I would make compare to everyone other beginner… I think it’s the idea of being in all that gear, and trudging along carrying the skis, and pretending I was enjoying it because everyone else thought it was such fun, and feeling irritated and embarrassed by my uselessness.

To be honest, I’ve never had the opportunity to go skiing, I’ve never thought I could afford it – although I guess if I’d wanted to enough then I would have found the funds, and I was never with a group of people who all wanted to go which might have encouraged me to at least give it a try. I had a boss once whose family went skiing several times a year, and when I meekly said it didn’t appeal to me, she said she didn’t like it either but she loved all the après-ski, and she would sit on a balcony drinking delicious hot chocolate and other things while they went up and down the mountain. That didn’t appeal either, and not just because I don’t like hot chocolate. On holiday I like to discover new things, see new sites, explore different places and their history, so sitting on a balcony or terrace with a lot of other people sitting there drinking hot choc, didn’t persuade me that I’d like to go.

I did have one experience with a dry-ski slope in Lancashire. It was when I was teaching in a PRU and we took our young people out for different experiences, the sort of things they had never had the opportunity to do before such as canoeing, climbing, pot-holing, horse-riding – and going to a dry-ski slope. Because of the sort of students they were, those who had been expelled by several schools and had no other placement available, they needed a different sort of teaching. They called us by our first names, they had no uniform, and all the challenges we set them, we had to join in. So trying to conceal my inner grump, I pulled on the massive ski boots, clumped my way awkwardly to the lift thing and headed up the slope with as good grace as I could manage. I told myself to do my absolute best, not to sulk when I fell over, to try my hardest to do exactly what the instructor told me and not to be silly – much like the students, if things go wrong for me I often act the fool to try and get over it.

The instructor didn’t say much to me and my teaching chum, he just showed us – do it like this, bend this way, lean that way,  – and I really concentrated, and blow me, I managed to go all the way down the slope, somewhat slowly, but without falling over or crashing into anyone. My friend who was somewhat smitten by the instructor who was very dashing, was in a perpetual giggling heap, as the kids sailed merrily and confidently past us. I can’t say I enjoyed it, it was quite stressful, but at least I did it, and at least I stayed upright on my skis. It didn’t persuade me I might want to do it again, though.

I’ve mentioned before that I use the Wii to help keep fit. When I sit here for hours writing, I try to get up every so often and go and do some exercises on the Wii, to stop me getting stiff. Some of the exercises are in the form of games, and one of the balance games/exercises is skiing. And do you know, I’m really good at it! I knock the socks off my very sporty daughter!!

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