3/12/11

Hitting The Snowy Slopes


"Don't lean back or you'll lose control. Keep your weight in the center!" Elyssa shot at me while I was moving down the bunny hill. For the last hour or so, she has been instructing  me and 3 of my friends as we struggled learning how to ski for the first time. For a moment I thought I should have gone with another friend who opted to learn snowboarding. Perhaps it's easier?  Except for  zip-lining, sandboarding (Chile) and a Tarzan-swing (Costa Rica), I don't have much experience with gravity-induced activities.


Checking in for school

Learning to ski didn't cross my mind until friends prodded me, this so late in the season. "Don't worry, it may not be snowing in the city but they have machines to make snow up there in the mountains", one friend told me. Really.There are several ski resorts in the Northeast but we opted for Shawnee Mountain  in Pennsylvania, just under two hours drive from New York City. With their "Beginner's Package", we paid only $69 for unlimited lift ticket, ski/snowboard rental and of course, instructions.



As a sport, skiing is expensive. Avid skiers invest on a good pair of skis, boots, poles and clothing which significantly make it more costly than just playing say basketball or badminton. (One item which I got - and which I will be needing for a future trip -  was an insulated waterproof softshell pants, bought via www.sierratradingpost.com at an already discounted price of $89!). Then you add the cost of staying at hotels plus the season passes/lift tickets and you get a headache even before you hit the slopes. And I'm not even talking about Aspen here.




A toddler on the slope?

After paying and signing off our lives on a lengthy piece of waiver, we got our skis, boots and poles. Except for a pocket camera, I had to store my extra stuff in a locker. It took awhile for me to get used to the heaviness of the ski boots - they're really heavy that we felt like damn robots walking with a big "thud" with each step on the floor.


While waiting for our turn with the lessons at Shawnee, we got a good look at experienced  skiers as they moved swiftly downhill. The slopes all vary in their level of difficulty. What caught my attention were kids as young as 5 or 6 already doing their fancy turns on the intermediate level, making us feel so ancient having to start at the easiest slope. Oh if only there was snow in the Philippines!


Thankfully, it wasn't just us who grew up in the tropics that was in ski school. There were several others too. Elyssa was assigned to our group of four and she immediately got us going with the basics. With our skis and our poles, we moved sideways, backwards, so on. Probably the most important step she taught us was the snowplough, or making the "V" or pie shape position. Each one of us had to demonstrate this basic step until she was satisfied before she got us into doing the turns.

My classmates with Elyssa - the ski instructor
The bunny hill

Once on my own up on the "beginner's hill" - things got a bit scary as I pointed my skis downhill. I went fast, so fast and lost control till I landed on my butt. This went on and on again, with me landing on my butt. I can't seem to remember what I was just taught. Meanwhile, young kids were zipping past by me. What a shame. We need to do this again. Next year.

14 comments:

  1. Nice! I remember learning how to ski for the first time when we were living in Japan; I was 15 then. The V-shaped maneuver was definitely important, since that's how you stop! I also learned the trick of leaning to the right if I wanted to go left and vice versa. It's a fun activity, but I just don't get too excited about it, since I kinda prefer hiking/trekking/caving, but that's just a personal bias.

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  2. Cute ni Gumby! Would love to try skiing kaso baka di ko matagalan ang lamig :(

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  3. P3,000 for an unlimited ski is not bad! I'd like to try that too!
    Btw, how about your camera? Did you use any freeze proof one?

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  4. Jeruen,
    Trekking is my thing too but I just wanted to try skiing and I think I could improve myself through more practice. But that's for next winter.

    Pinay Travel Junkie,
    It wasn't even cold that day we were there kasi going to spring na. As long as you're properly attired, it shouldn't be a freezing experience.

    Chyng,
    I know, kaya we took advantage of it kasi it's more expensive elsewhere in the States. I used a small point and shoot camera which is not shock/freeze-proof but still worked well - it wasn't so cold that time.

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  5. would be fun but skiing isn't just me, i think. but i'd love to snowshoe someday. am afraid of heights, so i'll just stay on low lands.

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  6. Congrats for taking the ski lessons, I tried skiing but didn't learn much because I was too scared but I found snowboarding easier than ski so now I'm doing well with snowboarding. Why wait for next year, you should have one more next week hehehe so you won't forget it.

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  7. Made me want to visit (over and again) Ski Dubai. As much as I want to repeat the chairlift ride, the heights do scare me.

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  8. Photo Cache,
    My frustration after all that snow that fell this winter was not being able to snowshoe. Will be doing this too next winter!

    Missy,
    Wow, you're the first person I've heard who say snowboarding is easier than skiing. I wish that was true for me hehehe! Even sandboarding got me sick.

    witsandnuts,
    Who would have thought of Dubai having a ski resort? Oil wealth do make things possible!
    The chairlifts can be quite a ride especially if you're on a scenic mountain. This I remember well while going to the top of Mt. Titlis is Swtizerland.

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  9. whoa! envy envy again. ive ben wanting to try that. for now... let me enjoy chase jarvis videos and your post on skiing.

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  10. My son learned skiing when he was 4 years old...and now he is a very accomplished skier!
    I never learned it...too old already :-(

    Seems your butt enjoyed the ride ;-)

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  11. I would have to experience yet my first snow, hope it's not too late yet for me to learn how to ski:)

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  12. wow! ang saya tyak nito!
    iba ka talaga, dennis. you'll try everything and almost anything! :D

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  13. cool! expensive pala mag-ski.kelan din kaya kao maka try nyan. haha kaya for now, enjoy ko nlng ang post mu.
    cute ng 1st pic! :)

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  14. Anonymous5:30:00 AM

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    ReplyDelete

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