Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sister Mary Full of Grace, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Today I had my first cross-country ski lesson. It's a 5 week class focusing on classic skiing (versus skate skiing). It didn't go well. I can't glide; I can't balance; and Holy Moses I most certainly cannot go downhill.
Waxing our skis in the warming hut.
Demoralizing, really. My instructor, Tim, is in his 70's and virtually floats on his skis. He skied all 15km of trails at the University trail system yesterday.

I should have known there'd be trouble when I couldn't get my ski boots clipped into the bindings. It's a step-in system, people. All you have to do is put the toe of your boot in the clip and step down! I couldn't even do that.

I was progressing with gliding when Tim announced we were going to practice going downhill. "It's not really even a hill" he said.

Down the hill I went and immediately fell. No one else had fallen. You could say I was ahead of the class, because now I had to use the proper technique to get up. A technique we had not yet practiced as a class. I read about it in a book and employed it here -- keep your skis perpendicular to the hill.

I was just about to stand up when I saw that my poles were underneath my left ski. I moved my left leg off the poles and my right leg began sliding down the hill. Poles in hand I stopped myself, righted my legs and started to go uphill. Until that is, I started sliding downhill. Did I mention demoralizing? I finally managed to get to the top of the hill. Tim wanted each of us to have 3-4 runs down this hill. I opted out. 

Trying not to plow people over.
Others on their successful hill runs.
I'll have to practice on my own in between lessons. I desperately want to ski at night. Fairbanks has quite a few trails that are lit until about 10:00. Skiing at night sounds fantastic.