On being better than you think you are…

I skiied down my first black run today. I didn’t know it was black at the time.

It was 4:30 pm. We’d skiied for just over 2 hours on a new (for us) resort. We’d finished skiing on the ‘little lifts’ at the top of the hill/mountain and were on our way back to the car. They were closing the lifts and getting the piste-basher out. It wasn’t dark, but the sun was setting and it was cold.

So.

We skiied down the first bit, which was basically the same slope as we’d been playing on previously but finishing at the other corner.. From this vantage point we could see the hut and the car at the bottom. We were faced with 2 sleep slopes and very little idea which was most likely to be skiable. They both looked steep and scary. It’s a very small ski ‘resort’ with 3 lifts and something like 5km of piste … and there are no signposts. There are also no paper plans/maps with pretty coloured squiggles. There was a cluster of trees between the 2 slopes. I said we should go to the right of the trees, my ski-partner said left. We asked a bloke who was skiing with a small child (maybe 7 years old). He told us right was better, said “follow me” and shot off, the kid going on in front, yelling at his dad to hurry up (and being ignored). I followed him and he showed me where to turn and how to put my ski back on after I fell over and lost one and was patient when I didn’t understand what he was on about. I got to the bottom without falling over too often, and more importantly without breaking anything or having a panic attack 🙂 My ski-partner, not being within earshot of the helpful man, got left behind. We waited for him at the bottom, where he found us celebrating the small boy’s safe arrival at the bottom of the hill. He’d reached the hut, got bored of waiting for his dad, and gone back up on the lift…by himself. And then skiied down again…by himself.

My ski-partner was quite down about not being able to turn as well as he’d like to, and for having fallen over more often than he wanted to talk about and for being slow and pff.. just generally not impressed at purely making it down alive..

We headed back to the car and decided to go to the floodlit ‘easy’ runs we know and love in order to give ourselves the impression of being successful skiiers, capable of getting down hills without falling over. 3 hours later we’d gathered another 20 runs each and he was in much better spirits.

Arriving home, he looked up the plan online. He just text me to say it was a black run. Made it seem a lot less embarrassing not to have found it easy 🙂

0 Replies to “On being better than you think you are…”

  1. 🙂 yup (I’ve found a wordpress app, so I can reply to comments ;))

    Green’s for total beginners (practically flat), then blue, red and black.

    The colours, as far as I can tell, are awarded to the entire route for the hardest part. So if a route was really easy with a practically sheer drop in the middle, the whole route would still count as black..

    The one we came down was short and steep and icey but probably on the reddest side of black.
    I saw a black one on my first adult skiing day (last year) and couldn’t look down it without feeling ill, let alone understand how/why anyone would launch themselves off the ridge and down the slope by choice..

    Most areas have a map with the routes marked on in the appropriate colours, the bigger ski areas have signposts at each crossroad and at the start of each new route. Sometimes (like last year) the maps don’t correspond with reality (!) and sometimes there are no maps..

    That’s a whole lot more info than you were waiting for, hmm?

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