Sunday, 6 April 2014

Kaprun & Zell Am See, Austria skiing

During December of 2013, I learnt how to ski at the Mendip dry ski slope near Bristol. I had a ski holiday booked to Kaprun in Austria in January and another trip to Chamonix in the pipeline for March. However,  my first encouter with skis didn't go to well...

Chris had asked if I wanted to join him for a ski so I accepted. I'd previously only had a 1 hour private lesson a year and a half ago, and naively thought I'd be able to self teach myself. I was wrong. I lasted 20 minutes, falling on my ass, failing to stop, crashing into the net at the bottom, and ultimately,  getting asked to leave the slope. Not defeated, I booked some lessons. A 1 hour private lesson and two 2.5 hour leassons and I felt ready to hit the slopes.

First chair lift up on a mountain called the Maiskogl and the nerves started to show. I hadn't actually learnt to ski parallel yet, but read a few books and watched a video on Youtube, so how hard can it be? Not very it turns out. Straight off the chair and straight into parallel skiing down a Blue run. I felt pretty happy that some self teaching had paid off. Now, being a little confident at this point, I decided to head up to the very top and get a longer run doen the mountain. Didn't start off to well though after putting a hole through the barrier at the side of the piste and nearly giving my girlfriend a heart attack. And then it didn't get much better after taking another high speed crash and hurting mu knee quite badly. Needless to say, I couldn't control my speed too well and was jumping the gun a bit. I had this image in my head of how I WANT to ski, and not how I SHOULD be skiing after only one run on real snow. So I swallowed my ego, and learnt how to control my speed with the advice of my girlfriend, using the entire slope and going slow and steady.
But after the minor details of the first day, I started to pick it up quite quickly and by the 3rd day, I was venturing onto reds and blacks and by the end of the week, was a confident black skier (in my eyes anyway). Now, bearing in mind these are Austrian blacks, which everyone was reminding me are actually just French reds. But I didn't care. I could ski most pisted runs by the end of the holiday,  so I was happy. Next goal, off piste, moguls and touring!

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