Due to the nature of Whistler Blackcomb, there are times one can’t use their staff perks. Specifically the free lessons – they can’t be used in blackout periods, which as it turns out is a good chunk of December and January. This means I haven’t had any more lessons and thanks to the flu, haven’t gotten out to practice as much as I wanted.
However, all that is about to change. In expectation of my Birthday tomorrow, I’ve got today and tomorrow off from both jobs, and I’m determined to make my way onto proper ski runs – starting with my third (and hopefully final) ski lesson. I don’t want to spend my birthday ‘in class,’ so I’m hoping to learn enough to finally go out on my own.
As it happens, the ski school is quiet, and I’m paired up with one other woman on my level. Our first stop is the beginner area of Olympic, but we’re almost immediately up the green run to see how much we’ve retained. I’m still losing control every now and then, but I’ve definitely improved – by lunchtime, we’re heading up to the top of Whistler, and I’ll be facing my earlier nemesis once again, Upper Whisky Jack.
Things are definitely more in my favour today. For one thing, there’s no wind, and fresh snow on the ground means it’s not as compacted as last time. It’s also slightly quieter so I don’t have to worry about people behind me as much.
The first part is as nerve racking as I remember – steep cliff on one side, and ground on a deceptive angle – and given how wide my turns still are, no way to not get in at least one person’s way. However, my instructor reminds me that whoever is in front gets right of way, and the people behind me are the ones who need to pay attention to me, not the other way around.
As such, we make it past the area I called it quits after crashing, and head down a viciously steep hill. I take one look at it and can’t believe he wants me to try – yet as it happens, I get down without losing control once. I have to dig in my skis and bend my need at a ridiculous angle a couple to times to keep it that way, but I’m skiing down a steep slope with something resembling competence.
Our instructor thinks so too, because the next time we go up, it’s to try our luck at the Ego Bowl, a run I’ve never been on that’s just as steep if not worse, as Whisky Jack, and we make it down. My fellow learner does have some knee issues though, which cause us some problems, but honestly, by the time we achieved completion of Ego Bowl, my legs were killing me too and I was happy for the reprieve. I finally, FINALLY, made it down a proper green run!
…So tomorrow, rather than dipping my toe in the pool, I’m diving in again. I’m heading to Blackcomb to try my luck at the blue runs so I can start skiing down from work at the end of the day.