Current Location: Åre, Sweden
02.25.2009 - 02.26.2009
From light to dark, the clouds have once again covered the sun. But with this change came fresh snow and so the slopes were powdery today. Today was officially my last day of ski school and since I'm typing right now, it would be safe to assume I graduated with blue colors!
Not once did we set ski on a green hill, the 1.5 hour lesson was nothing but blue run after blue run. The first order of buisness was to tackle the same t-bar lift that I fell off of yesterday. As I was quickly pulled uphill my anxiety skyrocketed and I was dreading the peak and once I arrived at the base of where I fell off I slowly ascened ... and I fell again (although this time I triumphantly fell off at the top of the incline instead of at the bottom of it).
Our class followed yesterday's route until we got to a Y-Intersection where we skied down the right path instead of the left one and so we ended up at the bottom of a different hill. Once again, I officially felt like a real skier as I had taken a route that ended elsewhere from where I started. And so the rest of the lesson consisted of going up a different t-bar lift (where I never fell again) and sking to the bottom.
The entire time was spent practicing not only wide turns but also short ones, eventually culminating in attempts to perform the "hockey stop" which I see many skiers do instead of the plowing stop. The day was not without difficulty however as, despite the powdery snow, there were still some steep parts where it was hard to control to my speed. I did end up crashing twice when I some patches and one leg decided to go faster than the other one. While the rest of my class continued until they realized I was not behind them, I slowly got up with a bit of help from other skiers (all of whom said my crashes looked rather bad as I rolled around a bit until I stopped). To be honest, I've resigned myself to just laugh when I fall and at the end of both crashes that was exactly what I did. I could definitely feel myself rolling around and my landing position was hard to get out off (what with skis being crossed) but falling is a part of the experience and I believe it's half the fun when out of nowhere you fall on your face and get up with a mouthfull of snow.
The end of the lesson was definitely bittersweet because I had learned to ski but at the same time I knew I probably wouldn't have an opportunity to ski again for a rather long time. Thanks to Cassandra Berg for being an awesome instructor and giving both encouragement and critique.
After the lesson (you may have guessed it) was lunch time!
There's a restaurant (and later I found out a hotel as well) at the top of the Kabinbana bus station and that's where we went for lunch. It was great food ... although what was more impressive was that we had to take a gondala to the top as it was at the top of Åreskutan which is 1400 meters high. The ride up was a bit disappointing because it was so foggy and it was snowing so much but the glimpses of I was able to see told me were were definitely climbing way above the tree line and it was happeing fast (the entire ride only took 15 minutes).
We got to the top of the hill and the area was so alien to me. First of all, the gondala was covered in such a thick frost and a thick coat of snow that didn't even come off because it was pretty much just frozen on. When I finally walked out of the gondala station I could hardly see 3 feet around me because so windy and snowy (it was like driving in white out conditions except that I was walking). Every picture taken would literally make it seem as though you were standing in a white and cloudy room. It was definitely an experience I won't forget.
This was an extreme mountain to ski on and my cousins and uncle did just that. Despite being unable to see anything, they skied/snowboarded all the way down to Kabinbana. One group brought a camera and all that could be seen was white with the shouting in the background. They were relieved to have been able to make it down without crashing or running into any other people on the slope.