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Old 29.01.2007, 11:58
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New to Skiing - the nightmare

Hello all,
After years of avoiding the lure of skiing (including a 5 year stay in Canada), I went ahead and booked tickets to Davos this past weekend. I went with my husband, who has skiied before. He insisted that I didn't need lessons and, well, who am I to know? (I'll tell you, NOT a skiier).

I am not a fan of snow. Or cold. I always abhorred the concept of clunky equipment and being strapped or secure into something that impedes a quick getaway. Like skis.

But, I wanted to try ski ing (and still do) because it looks thrilling and I like adrenaline.

So we went and my husband showed me how to move about in my skis some, and then we set off to the lift (a pulley pommel thing). I didn't understand the lift mechanism, where to put my behind, hands, feet (I mean skis) and I panicked. Became a blubbering mess. The lift operator was purring something soothing and so was my husband so I went ahead and got on the thing.
So scared of falling off, or getting up there and not being able to come down.

So I get on this...thing with my husband and, I don't know what happened, but I FELL OFF, at the correct destination, but I FELL. Awful. I was at that point scared AND really embarassed.

So I pick myself up, sort of and my husband says something about going "over there", and points to some indistinct spot on the slope to our right. I am terrified of the midget ski whizzes zooming by and I don't understand the directive so I refuse to budge. I don't know how to turn on skis at this point. I only know how to sidestep and "pizza" and "french fry".

So my husband wearily suggests I turn around ( I am facing the slope laterally) 180. Still not sure why. But I do, like the spectacular beginner that I am, and I fall on my ass again.

I don't know how to fall in skis nor do I know how to GET UP in them. So, after wiggling about and whimpering some, I manage to take the damn things off and *walk* a heartbreaking walk of shame down the slope.

Of course, my husband and I are both very upset by this point. And I am hating the skis so much and they must have known, because after taking them off and leaning them against the wall, they slid and whacked my on the side of the head.

Do you guys think there is hope for me? I am 27.
Do I need a lesson?
Can all that harm (the fear, the falling, the failure) associated with my first time be undone? (don't smirk)
What did I do wrong? Technically?

Any advice is really appreciated. I am not ready to give up but I am thinking about sneaking away to Flumserberg on a weekday to learn on my own. And with a paid instructor. Unbeknownst to some.

Thanks guys.
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Old 29.01.2007, 12:05
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

There is definatley hope but not with your husband teaching you!! Get yourself booked into proper lessons and you will do much better.
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Old 29.01.2007, 12:09
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

My stepfather, who is from an Asian country and had not seen snow until he was, I think, 28, started to learn to ski a few years after arriving here and is still a bit wobbly but manages to get down most hills without falling over. He only goes one week a year though so that's not unusual.

To be honest, if you are relatively fit and have a good sense of balance, snowboarding is much faster to learn and the equipment is less painful. However, you can have much more annoying injuries with the snowboard.

Skiing is maybe more "elegant" and once you've mastered the basics, you stay up at all times, unlike snowboarding where the occasional sitting down is not really to be avoided. Injury-wise, the skis are meant to jump off if under to much pressure so twisted knees are usually avoided but you have to have the fittings at the right level.

I started skiing myself when I was three and had a brief stint with snowboarding. After harming my knee quite badly, I decided I was more of a skier. But I've started to be a little scared so my style is ruined. Plus I prefer the old-fashioned type of skis, affectionately called "pommes frites ski".

And not to forget, the most challenging type of skiing ever if you go by the price of the equipment of its most avid followers: The Après Ski.

There are lots of ways of getting down the hill, Big Foot, Telemark, Monoski, Snowbike - try one of the "Plausch Tag" a lot of skiing areas offer to see what you like best.
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Old 29.01.2007, 12:17
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

A word of advice: never ever learn to ski/board from a friend or relative. It will always end in tears (see also Engelberg-fall thread). Generally speaking the beginner will be frustrated and stressed and arguments will ensue, especially as teaching the beginner prevents and frustrates the more experienced party from actually doing any real skiing.

Lessons are fun, and you can be in a group other people with their face in the snow.

Additionally of course, with lessons you will actually learn from someone who knows what they are doing...

dave


Quote:
Hello all,
After years of avoiding the lure of skiing (including a 5 year stay in Canada), I went ahead and booked tickets to Davos this past weekend. I went with my husband, who has skiied before. He insisted that I didn't need lessons and, well, who am I to know? (I'll tell you, NOT a skiier).

.
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:06
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Hi (yes thats me Engelberg crash!)
I agree, getting a partner to teach you is demanding and stressful and not the best idea, luckily mine was patient and paid for my lift tickets hehe. If I had had the money I would have gone on a snowboard camp or had lessons. Still after some mistakes (his and mine) and bruises I think I picked it up very quickly despite not having the ideal snow, so he must have done something right.
I would hire an instructor in secret and surprise your hubbie (and stick to the baby slopes!) It is quite amusing being overtake by a 2year old on skis!
Good luck
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:06
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Davos was a big mistake - unless you start on the nursery slopes. And pommels/T-bars are not for beginners - though they often have them on beginners' slopes - but gentle ones.

If you have never skied before, then you first half day should have been walking around the foot of the nursery slope getting the feel of skis and learning how to walk up, slip down and STOP.

Skiing is VERY much a 'head' sport. Fear will prevent progress and starting on a Davos on a normal piste is likely to set a beginner back not advance them.

As stated above. Take lessons! Let hubby ski himself stupid, while you learn at your own pace. I didn't start skiing until I was 34 and have skied in the top level in French Ski School (Competition) where they're all total loonies. Sadly I am now working my way slowly down again...
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:14
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Arosa is a good place for beginners, they have a lot of wide, not so steep slopes.

And I'd invest in a ski instructor, like everyone else said, they can be a bit pricey for private lessons but it does help.
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:18
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Davos does have a little section fed by the chairlift in its way up to the Fuxagafer. It not a "real" piste and you can get a ticket to use that bit only for very little. As its at town level it needs snow currently.

I'd be a bit concerned taking a complete beginner up Jakobshorn or even Parsenn, unless they were comfortable on their skis/board.

Flumserberg/Hoch Ybrig is the best place to ease-in beginners IMO.

Engelberg is a trial by ordeal if you try Titlis. Nice village and sledging though.

dave

Quote:
Davos was a big mistake - unless you start on the nursery slopes. And pommels/T-bars are not for beginners - though they often have them on beginners' slopes - but gentle ones.

If you have never skied before, then you first half day should have been walking around the foot of the nursery slope getting the feel of skis and learning how to walk up, slip down and STOP.

Skiing is VERY much a 'head' sport. Fear will prevent progress and starting on a Davos on a normal piste is likely to set a beginner back not advance them.

As stated above. Take lessons! Let hubby ski himself stupid, while you learn at your own pace. I didn't start skiing until I was 34 and have skied in the top level in French Ski School (Competition) where they're all total loonies. Sadly I am now working my way slowly down again...
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:23
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

I achieved more in 3 hours with a private teacher (3 of us) than in hours and hours and hours and........

Titlis: coming from the very top where it says "Experts only" or something. That sorts the men from the boys....that's some black run and once you're there, you are there....!



The red dot above Stand is the one. I'm dumb and I've only done it once
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:26
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

I tried skiing once back in the States and it also ended with me walking down the kiddy hill, which was probably smaller than yours, as it sounds like it was a full-size one. I first couldn't stand up or move, and so decided to leave. As I was sliding out of line, telling my friends I wasn't going to attempt to ski anymore, I suddenly fell over sideways down a rather steep icy hill. One ski came off and got stuck in the snow, while the other stayed on with me for a 60 second tumble into a condo building. At this point I was rather frustrated and in quite a bit of pain. The fact that it was 1-2 C didn't help, and I could barely claw my way back up the hill (not used to ski, more of an embankment).

I somehow let myself be convinced to put the ski back on and get into line for the "bunny slope." After grabbing onto the pole that drags you up the tiny slope, I fell off rather dramatically midway. The operators at both ends had to stop everything they were doing and rush down / up to pick me up and put me back onto the lift. I made it the rest of the way, but then couldn't stop at the top and crashed into a group of 10-year-old learners.

Their instructor tried to tell me how to stop, but it didn't work, and I went flying into the middle of the full slope next to me. At this point I realized I was in trouble and had no chance of making it down in one piece... so in front of everyone I took off the skis, walked down the slope, went to the lodge, and returned the skis. Luckily since I decided to do this so early they actually gave me a full refund.

And now, sadly, my wife is insisting that I also learn how to ski, although I actually hate adrenaline and fast movement outside of a motor vehicle. Oy! What is so fantastic about skiing? I really don't get it! You have my solidarity!

Last edited by spmull06; 29.01.2007 at 17:37.
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Old 29.01.2007, 13:32
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Quote:
What is so fantastic about skiing? I really don't get it! You have my solidarity!
You are not the only one. I value my joints, bones, tendons etc etc way too much
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Old 29.01.2007, 14:39
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Quote:
Hello all,
Any advice is really appreciated. I am not ready to give up but I am thinking about sneaking away to Flumserberg on a weekday to learn on my own. And with a paid instructor. Unbeknownst to some.

Thanks guys.
the only advice: stick to it! living in switzerland and missing the snowlife is just crazy ;-). admiring the alps while riding is one of the best things this country has to offer, not to mention you tank clean air and the mountain's sun keeps your face tanned all the year around. get yourself a teacher or as dave advices, taking group lessons guarantee lots of fun. again, avoid realatives as teachers.
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Old 29.01.2007, 16:33
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Hey

Thank you for all your replies.

Dave: I knew, intellectually, that having someone close to me teach me was a bad idea and ineffectual. Why did I do it anyway. Well, I had to give it a shot. If I hadn't I couldn't have an excuse to go get a teacher. Waste of time I know. The dynamic of mutual failure was a way bigger downer than not being able to ski.

spmull: I laughed at your story. Don't worry,because I laughed at mine too. After an appropriate sulking period. Just to clarify...the slope I unwittingly ascended was really not that high (it was in Jakobshorn). I am just shocked that others have *walked* down a ski slope. Never knew it was an option!

As our new snowboarder said, in my husband's defense, he must have done something right. He taught me how to put skis on and how to move forward in skis. You however, seemed to have done something related to snowboarding other than fall!!!

It is great to know that you can learn when you are older, so thank you ab fab!

I want to go back and beat this dragon, then write about it, so that other newbies can say one day, hey, what about that girl who fell on her ass? She skis now. A la Molly Ringwald.

I am totally willing to believe skiing (and snowboarding) is a lot of fun. I picked skiing to try first because I figured it was more general than snowboarding.


Hope I made you and a few people in Davos chuckle. If there was a pro to this weekend it was the double serving of humility that I got. Yum. Seriously, man, the skis fell on my head.
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Old 29.01.2007, 17:41
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Quote:
It is great to know that you can learn when you are older, so thank you ab fab!
My Swiss in-laws didn't learn to ski until they were 25-30 years old. It is not only the "foreigners" who wait!

Quote:
Hope I made you and a few people in Davos chuckle.
Wasn't Davos a bit crowded on account of the WEF last week?! I actually was more surprised about you venturing out there at that time than anything else.
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Old 29.01.2007, 18:34
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Hi
PLease keep at it, I started at 29 in sheet ice in Pantecosa Spain. Now I am 60 and just love it more each time. I like it so much have bought a place and now moving out to live in Switzerland and do more skiing. Some very important things I have learnt...Never Never try and teach the wife... find your own style you are happy with you will progress naturally... Never be pushed where you don't want to go...learn not to fight the mountain .... try not to get too confused with all the advise
Just ENJOY
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Old 29.01.2007, 21:58
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

I would suggest Flumserberg is a good idea because.

1/. Easy reach by train via unterternzen to Tannenboden.
2 /. At Tennenboden they have very good beginners slope with a moving floor system that you just stand on and up you go.
3/. English is spoken by the ski school.
I totaly agree never learn with a relative.

DC
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Old 30.01.2007, 09:23
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

I'm awful at sports - definitely not a "natural" but I went for skiing and it was a lot of fun. I hardly fell (the first thing they teach you is the snow-plough - your safety net).

But book yourself some private lessons. That's how I did it. 1-1 with a teacher and within the first lesson, you will "go" down some small slopes but find that you are in control.

I didn't bother trying the group classes. Like I said, I'm awful at sports and group classes always meant me trying to catch up with the rest and giving my motivation and confidence the runner. So I opted for the private lessons and I must say, it is the way to go.

So No more skis on head. And Flumserberg does have some good blue runs.


Good luck

~ Nanda.
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Old 30.01.2007, 10:23
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

From previous years (havnt gone this past week to Davos) WEF is the best week of the season to ski in Davos. Usually there are good snow conditions late Jan., there are no skiers staying in Davos as all the hotels are booked by the worlds 'special' friends who aren't there to ski. People generally avoid traveling there to ski because of protest fears. So the slopes are quite vacant compared to normal.

Apparently some years ago my old officemate went there during WEF, before they were more organized with the protesters and in Landquart the police separated the skiers so there was 1 railcar with skiers and all the others with protesters. The train left, but promptly with only with one car, the one with the skiers, the protesters were all shipped back to Basel I think - who says the swiss aren't efficient!

Andrew
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Old 30.01.2007, 10:46
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

I don't know about you guys but I have not reached the maturity level where I don't think the word "Titlis" is funny!!! (same goes for "einfahrt" "abfahrt" etc)

As for Davos being busy this past weekend due to WEF, I didn't really notice. Switzerland is really amazing. There was nothing at Davos this weekend that indicated that Big Things were going on. We were half hoping that we would run into a really drunk important person who would invite us to a post-WEF after hours party Also, didn't notice any beefy security. The only thing we saw was what *might* have been a gaggle of colorful protesters.
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Old 30.01.2007, 14:31
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Re: New to Skiing - the nightmare

Quote:
Do you guys think there is hope for me? I am 27.
Do I need a lesson?
Can all that harm (the fear, the falling, the failure) associated with my first time be undone? (don't smirk)
What did I do wrong? Technically?

Any advice is really appreciated. I am not ready to give up but I am thinking about sneaking away to Flumserberg on a weekday to learn on my own. And with a paid instructor. Unbeknownst to some.

Thanks guys.
Ski beginners should ALWAYS start with proper lessons, preferably one-on-one. You'll learn nothing useful from a friend/relative and will both end up being really frustrated.

It's never too late to learn - I started skiing at 28. However, the earlier the better and you can see the difference with the skiiers who leaned as kids.

Flumserberg is a good place to learn - it has a quite large nursery area with a couple of different runs that you can do once you have had a couple of hours tuition. There's a good ski school there with English-speaking instructors available.


Gav
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