Over Christmas and the New Year, I had an amazing 8-day trip to South Tyrol in Northern Italy. I had never travelled to Italy before. This area is particularly popular for skiing and I’d never skied before so the trip was a completely new experience for me. I’m the type of person that will try anything once – food, experiences, everything… BUT – if it doesn’t go well or I simply don’t like it, I will not do it again.
So on my first day, I tried to learn the basics of skiing -stopping and starting in the snowplough position. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the hang of it so well. I began with a really positive attitude and tried to take in all the information from my boyfriend and his dad. Bearing in mind this is the nursery slope for children learning how to ski, I was determined to do well. I plucked up the courage to try and push off and it worked! All for a split second then I found myself uncontrollably moving backwards. Then I started to panic saying “Why am I moving backwards, why am I moving backwards? I want to go forwards”. I kept going backwards for what seemed like forever until I hit the travelator that takes children up and down the slope and landed on my bottom. Despite hugely embarrassing myself, by stopping the travelator and everyone on it looking unimpressed, I wanted to try again. So I got up, dusted the snow off myself and had another go. However, little by little, my confidence started to wane as I became more flustered by all the information I had to take in. The next thing I know, I’m slowly and involuntarily moving off and the slope is increasingly becoming more steep. At first I was calm and thought to myself that I’d probably stop in a few seconds…somehow. Then the panic had set in…I realised that I wasn’t stopping and that I was accelerating too. I shout “Jack!” (my boyfriend). He tried to ski after me but I went at such a speed he couldn’t catch me. It was too late. Time seemed to stand still and it was like an out-of-body experience watching myself in slow motion hurtling down the hill knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. To make matters worse, at the bottom of the slope stood a huge crowd of parents and children watching the others ski down. I knew I would go flying into the crowd and I thought that they’d see me coming and move but they didn’t… and I kept hurtling down the slope only for my head to hit the a flagpole (for the ski school) and a small child to break my fall.
Luckily the only thing bruised was my dignity and I didn’t hurt myself, just the small child I skied (I use the term loosely) into. I WAS MORTIFIED. I couldn’t believe what had just happened! Half of me was laughing at myself and half of me just wanted to crawl under a rock and never be seen again – I couldn’t believe how much I embarrassed myself in front of so many people. Fortunately, a ski instructor and a random lady help me up, asked if I was ok and my boyfriend and his dad took me away.
I’m actually really proud of myself because had that happened to me even six months ago, I wouldn’t have had the courage to set foot on a ski slope ever again. I’m so stubborn and if something doesn’t go well the first time, for me it seems counterintuitive to do it again. I’m so glad that I didn’t let a fall stop me from continuing to learning how to ski. Well, at first I made the overstatement that learning how to ski was harder than learning the violin but I take it back now! After the fall, we sat in the café at the top of the ski resort and laughed about it. I made the decision to try again and not be defeated before actually trying. I’m so glad I did because I went on to have 4 skiing lessons with one of the ski schools and it was an amazing experience and they really restored my self-confidence on the slopes.
By the end I could actually do things like the snowplough, controlling my speed, a few parallel turns. I felt confident. This was a huge step for me because it’s not often that I take a positive attitude from a negative experience. It also highlighted the fact that I let fear stop me from doing things, achieving things and enjoying things. I didn’t want to continue with this attitude.
If I could fall down a nursery ski slope in front of a huge crowd, I can do anything.