Monday, January 30, 2006


They say one of the ways to keep happy and content is to learn a new skill every year. It can be a new spoken language, a new IT skill, joggling... Learning anything new can give you that feeling of contentment. This year I set out to learn snowboarding and the day of reckoning was today.

I was glad when they told me the ski resort has an instructor who speaks English, although I quickly realised the English was very little. He took me half the way up the hill and showed me how to strap the shoes on the snowboard, while we knelt down on the snow. Then he showed how to do a half turn on the hips to end up with the snowboard in front and the back pointing to the bottom of the hill. So far so good. Then he stood up and leaned slightly forward. I tried to stand up too, but before I knew it and he had finished saying "like this", I had involuntarily departed from him, sliding all the way down. I had done skateboarding when I was younger and actually managed to keep my balance on the snowboard while going down the hill. I was gathering up more and more speed, in fact I was going down quite fast. I still struggled to keep my balance, but how do I stop the damn thing?

I didnt wait long enough for the instructor to show me and he was half the way up the hill. At the same time I was approaching the bottom where people were queuing to get up with cable. Any second I would smash into the women and children. What do I do? Only one thing came to mind, fall! I leaned forward and crashed hard on my hands and knees. Ok I avoided running up to the people and I am now on the icy snow. What do I do now? I had to wait for the instructor to come down. Fortunately his English wasnt good enough to say what he thought. Other than "Wait, I tell you to go, then go". Yeah right as if I meant to go down.

We went up the hill again. I tried several times to get up without sliding off. The instructions were limited to "Not like this but like this". I gave up with him. As I was down on my knees again, the pist jockey started playing "Eye of the tiger", a song which has inspired for many years, every time I hear it. "Come on, Eye of the tiger Potkin" I said to myself. I also decided to ignore the instructor and learn things as I always have. Just think about what I have to do. Gin control of this damn wild board with the mind of its own.
"Have to learn this forward leaning balance", I said to myself. Few more tries and I was there. It all came together, I started going down the hill backwards, from side to side but with full control. Then as the control became second nature, I turned and aimed forward, leaning on my front leg, and then the most difficult part of the trick, using the shoulders to turn around the snowboard, then leaning slightly forward to stop in time.

Fantastic! I done it and it was so much fun. What a great day! Only one thing could top it. Bathing in the natural thermal waters at night in the open. Running like a maniac in the freezing cold with just swimming shorts and then jumping in this hot pool, soothing the earlier bumps and grazes, and then coming out and running back in again while still wet in sub zero temperatures. Fantastic :))

I will be trying the snowjets tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

wicked that must b well cool man i wish i could go snowboarding

Anonymous said...

I am happy to see that you found your way to the mountains please stay there!