For the Life of me, I can’t ski. Believe me I’ve tried. Try and try and try again until you succeed, right? Wrong! Believe me I’ve tried.
My first visit ever to a place where it snowed, was to New Philadelphia, Ohio, USA. That was back in ’78 as a Rotary Exchange Student. I loved the snow, it was a totally new experience.
In India, where I’m from, it only snows way up north in Kashmir, and I’ve never been to Kashmir. I’ve traveled the world, but never been to Kashmir, one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in India.
So when I saw snow for the first time, I think I actually touched it to feel it. I even tasted it.
Even though I entered the US for the first time, and exited during the winter, thereby experiencing two winters in the US, I never got a chance to ski or then, maybe I just didn’t try or couldn’t afford it as a Rotary Exchange Student. I forget which it was, ’78 is way back.
The next time I saw snow, was about seven years later, again visiting the US for a couple of weeks on business, again in winter, but once again no skiing. This time it was certainly not about the money. I just didn’t.
I skid a car off the frozen freeway when driving back from a date with Gwen Lahmers and had to be winched out back in ’83 I think, but I guess that won’t count.
I then moved to Chicago when I was with HSBC and this time I couldn’t not ski, and so we made plans. We went to the Devil’s Head Resort up in Wisconsin somewhere around Christmas or New Year of 2006 I think. It wasn’t snowing yet, but was expected to. It snowed just a little, but not nearly enough to get the ski slopes going. Or so I thought. I was then told that they would spray artificial snow to top up what had fallen. Artificial snow! Wow, this was something new. Learn something new every day I guess.
I had Marianna as the instructor, and as patient as she was, I couldn’t get the hang of it! I don’t know why. I am and always have been very athletic…tennis, squash, cricket, running, cycling, but mostly tennis and cycling. To add to that list, I was one fiend on a pair of roller skates, so balance, and hand-eye coordination were certainly not the challenges. But skiing and I didn’t get on too well.
I fell so many times on the baby slope with barely any incline that it was embarrassing, and when Marianna was bending over in splits, I got angry. To the point that I asked her to leave and vowed that I will master this damn sport by hook or by crook. To be fair to her, at first she just smiled at my spills, then as the spills got even more bizarre, she may have chuckled a bit, and I guess after a while she just couldn’t bother to be polite anymore, and just had to laugh. Don’t blame her. At that point I was in the moment and was really pissed, but I can well imagine, what a funny sight this must have been..a grown man falling like it was the newest cool thing to do.
It was a sore topic for a long time, so when we were in Slovakia, a gentle suggestion was made that maybe we should go skiing? Take formal lessons maybe? By then I guess I wasn’t as sore about sucking at it, and I agreed.
We drove to this place, and spend almost half the day there. Gosh, I even fell while I held on to the ropes that took us up the slope. I would fall, the skis would come of, and I would put them on again.
Finally, the instructor is done with his other lesson and comes around to me and Marianna. See he can’t speak English, and I can’t speak Slovak, and therefore we had an interesting lesson session, and I’m not just talking about the language challenges. Marianna was a good translator, albeit, giggling as she passed my comments and grunts on to the instructor, and the instructors instructions, pleas, cries and yells to me.
True to form, I fell. I fell several times. I fell facing towards the front, I fell facing backwards, I fell sideways, I even somersaulted!
The instructor kept saying “plukh, plukh”, which translates to dig your heels in, spread your legs with the skis close in the front and spread out behind. I could have killed him, I swear I could. I’m thinking in my head, and maybe I even said it out loud, “if I plukh any more, my ass will tear apart”!
To know more about my visit to Skovakia, Click Here.
My friend, try and try and try again until you succeed, works only in spirit, it doesn’t work when I’m learning to ski.
Which is a great pity, because I love to watch people skiing, I love the ease with which people sashay down the slopes, the way they zig and zag.
I almost succumbed when I went to Bulgaria on business and actually spent a weekend at a beautiful ski resort. But since I was with potential investors, I decided prudence was probably the better approach and therefore I stayed off the slopes.
I don’t have many opportunities to learn, but if there is one thing I want to do, is to learn how to ski. So perhaps I will break out all my warm ski stuff and hit the slopes, this time with skis.
Also published on Medium: Learning to Ski: Well Trying To