Current Location: Åre, Sweden
Yesterday, for the very first time ever, I rested my feet on a pair of skis and ... I fell (each and every attempt to go down the slope). It was definitely one of the scariest things I've ever tried. Whenever I would go down-hill a bit, I was never able to control myself and whenever I leaned forward (which is apparently what you're supposed to do) I would freak out and think that I would fall ... which resulted in me actually falling.
I did, however, end up impressing myself as I took the button-lift to the very top of the green hill in Duved (and both times I didn't fall). My family surround my descent down the hill screaming "Plow! You've got to plow!" which was very helpful advice except for the fact that I had no idea what that meant. In case you're not familiar with skiing terminology (much like myself) plowing is the "pizza" shape stance one makes in order to slow down or to stop. When I was finally armed with this definitition I found myself trying to plow and (to my surprise) actually slowing down.
Each time I went down the slope, it took me between 20-30 minutes to complete and I fell 9 times. One of the other things that I learned to do was actually stand up after a fall. Once again, my own know-how of how to walk (which I think is sturdy knowledge that has compounded for the last 22 years) failed me and I was taken out of my box to learn a new way to stand up. This, in fact, was my accomplishment for my first day as a legitimate skier. I never did learn how to slow down during a run, but at least by the end of my two sessions, I was able to get up ... without having to take off my skis.
Like many of those enrolled in skischool, this morning was one full of anticipation and anxiety. After a day of falling and attempting the "pizza" stance I really wasn't sure if I had the endurance to last and entire hour and a half if the only thing I would master was the art of falling. Arriving at Rödkullen 45 minutes prior to the lesson gave me the opportunity to look around the grounds and I saw the long green slope that would be our training ground.
Our international ski class consisted of 9 people (mostly English) in varying states of the "beginner" label. However, I was the only one who was a true greenhorn since yesterday (as I said) was my first day ever. After a small ski test (one in which I didn't fall at all) people were generally impressed at how I was able to pick up sking in less than 24hrs (myself included) and we were split between the two instructors, myself going with the two others who had skied the least out of the rest of the group.
During the next 1.5 hours I became increasingly comfortable with plowing (I suppose now that I'm a "skier" I should use the correct term) and I even learned how to effectvely make turns without falling so that I could better control my speed as I descended the slope.
Today, all in all, I would say that my sking definitely made a leap forward. Post-skischool we returned to Duved for more practice and this time I managed to fall only 2 times ... therefore resulting in 11 falls in two days.
While the number 11 may seem large, it was a positive number in my book and will be a lucky number that I will always associate with my early experimentations with the winter wonder that is sking.