The Gang of Five
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Skiing

zero-point

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This is the story about how skiing became one of my favourite sports, and winter my favourite season.

It all began at the end January, 2016. Just after Christmas and New Year, life slowed down as is customary. There wasn't a lot to do outside, there wasn't much to study, there wasn't much to do aside from the usual snow shoveling. We (the others and I) were in school, playing table tennis. Aaron, my half-german classmate, had heard about the upcoming ski camp that will be in February. He thought that we should go and have some fun, and kindly presented the idea of a ski camp to us.

It is worth noting that not all of us like the idea of sliding down a steep hill at great velocities, but for some reason, I did. We three, Aaron, Robert and I, decided that we should indeed go, and we paid the application fees, while the other two made the terrible decision of staying at home. One of them due to past experiences with skiing, while the other just because "it's cold and there's snow".

The day came. The day that we were waiting for, a terribly long wait. Packed up our stuff, got on the bus that took us to our destination. The trip took longer than it should've too, I don't know about the others, but I was really excited to say the least. What will skiing be like? At that point, I'd never done it before. Arriving in the parking lot, we all saw it. It being a really steep slope. Nope. I am not going to slide down that, that's for sure! How wrong I was!

The whole slope consisted of two parts. An upper, not so steep part, for beginners, and a lower part that seemed too steep for my liking when I first saw it. We obviously went straight to the part made for beginners, but there was a catch. Before we used any of the ski lifts, we wanted to climb it at least once, just for the sake of a challenge. The climb took circa 1 and a half hours, and we carried all of our stuff with us, the skiing sticks, our backpacks, and the skis themselves. By the time we were half way there, we didn't even feel how cold it was, as we were too busy swearing, sweating and mocking one another. When we finally reached the top of the course, this is what we saw.



It was amazing, finally being up there.
Now came the hard part. Practise, practise and practise. I can't tell you how many times I fell on my nose or found myself 20 meters in the wrong direction, but it was fun. I don't know what is so funny about falling and sliding 20 meters forward in the snow, but it always made me laugh when I fell, just because I imagined how ridiculous I must've looked. Practise makes perfect. Sadly, Robert had an accident, a sprained knee later he had to go home on the second day.

I got better and better, and that huge, steep slope didn't seem that steep anymore, although I still couldn't complete the course without falling at least once. I went faster and faster, but not fast enough. That would come a year later. After this 3 day long camp was over, I was sad that I had to wait another year for next year's ski camp.

Fast forward to February, 2017. At it again. I started off a bit rusty, but quickly got into it. I don't know what I did, or what happened, but I found that I was a lot better than a year before. Practise, sharp turns, check. Practise, more speed, check. Another hour of practise, sharp turns AND more speed, check. What did I do? It just came naturally, and before I had a chance to think about my sudden improvement, I was going down that steep hill I feared the first day of the ski camp a year before like it was nothing. I can't exactly tell how skiing feels, it's truly special. When I start sliding, I kind of feel the friction disappear from between the skis and the snow, I get faster, ready for a turn, put my weight on my left leg for a right turn, at the apex of the right turn I lift my right feet just a bit, knees always bent, and off we go. Right turn, left turn, pick up some speed, right turn, left turn, right turn, left turn. The sense of scale and speed is just amazing! It's even better at night, seeing the lights from distant places, barely seeing your nose in a cloud, at night it makes it even more fun. We were out with Aaron 'til 11 PM, there were clouds, snowfall and wind. Coolest thing I've ever done.

If anyone has a chance to try it out, then do it, it's truly something special! What's your favourite sport?


Also, here's a picture of me, putting my goggles on :D

"The fire flickers with possibilities, I wonder what happens if you get a little closer?"



Longneck3050

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I don't ski on one reason: Whiplash. I'll fall and break my neck.
My younger brother skied last year and landed on a metal bar on his back.


Flathead770

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Man I used to love skiing back in the day and it was also the main reason I loved winter. There was a small ski hill just out of my hometown that I would go to every weekend. I remember picking it up pretty fast as the fundamentals are almost identical to skating. Snowplowing is done the exact same way as when you first learn to slow down on skates and moving from edge to edge on skis (can't remember the actual name) is very similar to stopping on edge with skates.

I agree that falling is always something that was hilarious. I had two memorable falls. The first one was when I was trying to go as fast as I could, pretty much strait-lining all the way down when my right ski must have hit a bump or something. All I remember is my leg lifted up and all of a sudden tumbling. My friend watched from behind and described it as a large pile of snow flying up and me lying in the snow. The best part of skiing is that most falls are generally painless. I hardly felt a thing. The second one was when my friend and I were going through some trails that led off the runs. The trail split and both my skis went in opposite directions. I ended up being so stuck that my friend had to come back and undo my skis. Falling into powder is also always a fun time. It's impossible to get back up as everywhere you put your hands you just sink back in.

I also ended up trying some snowboarding, mainly because skiing at this small hill became too easy. I would just straight-line everything. Snowboarding was pretty fun though a lot more challenging to pick up. I got to the point where I could slowly carve down some of the steeper hills.

I never did try go out at night. It was something that I wanted to try but never got around to it. If you ever get the chance try doing a run or going to a place that has lots of powder. It feels like your gliding on top of a cloud.


zero-point

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Quote from: Flathead770,Sep 15 2017 on  09:11 PM
Man I used to love skiing back in the day and it was also the main reason I loved winter. There was a small ski hill just out of my hometown that I would go to every weekend. I remember picking it up pretty fast as the fundamentals are almost identical to skating. Snowplowing is done the exact same way as when you first learn to slow down on skates and moving from edge to edge on skis (can't remember the actual name) is very similar to stopping on edge with skates.

I agree that falling is always something that was hilarious. I had two memorable falls. The first one was when I was trying to go as fast as I could, pretty much strait-lining all the way down when my right ski must have hit a bump or something. All I remember is my leg lifted up and all of a sudden tumbling. My friend watched from behind and described it as a large pile of snow flying up and me lying in the snow. The best part of skiing is that most falls are generally painless. I hardly felt a thing. The second one was when my friend and I were going through some trails that led off the runs. The trail split and both my skis went in opposite directions. I ended up being so stuck that my friend had to come back and undo my skis. Falling into powder is also always a fun time. It's impossible to get back up as everywhere you put your hands you just sink back in.

I also ended up trying some snowboarding, mainly because skiing at this small hill became too easy. I would just straight-line everything. Snowboarding was pretty fun though a lot more challenging to pick up. I got to the point where I could slowly carve down some of the steeper hills.

I never did try go out at night. It was something that I wanted to try but never got around to it. If you ever get the chance try doing a run or going to a place that has lots of powder. It feels like your gliding on top of a cloud.

Yes, I have had a few interesting falls too, the worst one was when I went really fast, and one tiny mistake later, I found myself tumbling down the snowy slope. At first, I didn't even realise what had happened, I just knew that me and one of my friends fell. The snow was still quite fresh, we had created a nice huge cloud of snow in the air. It was a head on collision.

You mentioned that most falls are generally painless, which is something I'm really fond of, taking into consideration the amount of accidents I've had. But that didn't really apply in this case.

The ski bindings didn't release properly and my left leg was stuck under the right one in a seemingly impossible position, while I was lying in the snow, facing down :p I couldn't release the skis with my sticks, beause they were lodged in the snow, each about 10-15 meters from where I was stuck effing and blinding. My friend got up and helped me release the bindings and finally get up, but I was really worried that I sprained or broke something, my leg was hurting like hell, and my pinky finger was 2-3 times normal size after the fall.

I didn't notice it at first, I started feeling a weird itching feeling around my pinky and ring finger, and my gloves felt a bit too tight. Good thing that I didn't really have too much trouble icing it, all I had to to in stick my hand in the snow for a few minutes :D After a nice big cup of coffee, almost all the pain dissipated, and I could go back practising again.
"The fire flickers with possibilities, I wonder what happens if you get a little closer?"