Learning to ski as an adult (also letting go of dignity)

I grew up in Queensland. While we have lovely beaches and warm winters, there isn’t much snow, and unless your family is the kind who does regular family holidays (mine wasn’t thank goodness – we would have killed each other) the chances of learning to ski are slim to none.

However, when I moved to Canberra, as my first (freezing!) winter approached, I started hearing people chatting about Perisher, Thredbo, chalets and skis. Who were these crazy people who wanted to leave cold Canberra to go to an even colder place and risk life and limb (and pay an exorbitant amount to do so)?

So I resisted my first few ski seasons and stayed away from the snow fields. Finally, a few years in, my partner convinced me to spend a day at the snow and managed to get me onto skis for the first time in my life. As we all know, sometimes it’s hard to learn new things as an adult. And why is that? Is it because we expect to be able to master it quickly? Or are we not willing to invest the energy (and in this case bumps and bruises)? Or are we just worried that we will look like an idiot?

My first day on the skis I was terrible. My method of changing direction was to fall over. As was my method of stopping. And slowing down. I am proud to say that I am really good at getting up again without taking my skis off.

I waited another five years before I went back to the snow after that day. But in the meantime I got some really good advice. Do not give up – you will be rubbish at the start, but so is everyone. And then, after practice and listening, watching and learning, you will get it. And when you get it you will love it. And everyone who can ski now has been through this process. They’ve all been there, in the snow, with their legs pointed in opposite directions and snowboarders whizzing past and miniature children spraying snow in your face as they carve up the slope.

And there’s a life lesson here. Never go into something expecting to be great on your first go, or even your second, or fifth go. But if you want to learn something new, be happy to be a beginner and take the tumbles, because if you want it enough (and that’s the real question) it will pay off.

And with that, I’m already planning my trip to Aspen, and how to coordinate my sunglasses and manicure with my ski jacket (because now I can ski (sort of) I can concentrate on looking good while I do it).

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