No, I haven’t found any amusement park rides in Switzerland (which is okay by me). Rather, a roller coaster is what my emotions felt like during ski lesson #2.
I slept for most of the drive from Vevey to Veysonnaz. Departing before 8:00am on a Saturday is kind of brutal. I opened my eyes at some point during the ride and saw this. WOW!
I opted to sign up for Class 01 again, because the description of Class 02 scared me. I clearly hadn’t mastered the ski lift, and I hadn’t tried a green run yet, so I definitely wasn’t ready for blues. However, upon our arrival, my instructor from last week told me I should tried Class 02.
That lasted approximately 6 minutes. The first task for those in Class 02 was to “ski down the hill.” I immediately freaked out because it was WAY bigger than anything I skied the previous week. After falling at least four times in the first three minutes (and making a scene trying to get up each time), one of the instructors took me back to the Class 01 instructor.
Back to some really basic exercises on a very small hill. However, after 45 minutes or an hour, our instructor took us back to the hill I tried to ski earlier in the morning, and I did it without falling! I just needed to get warmed up! Back to feeling better about life.
We had to ride the same button ski lift to the top. (This was the type of lift that destroyed me last week.) I think this one was moving a bit slower this week, and I managed to get on it without falling. But, when I got to the top I didn’t know what to do, and I let go of it too soon and proceeded to start sliding backwards down the hill. My instructor was behind me yelling something in French. The most logical thing to do seemed to fall over into the snow bank on the side…in a fit of laughter. WHY CAN’T I FIGURE OUT THIS SKI LIFT?!
After a lot of attempts (and probably one more wipe out at the top of the lift), I managed to get the hang of it for the rest of the day. Very few falls before lunch left me feeling good again.
[All smiles on the slopes looking like I know what I’m doing]
After lunch, all three of the girls in my group wiped out on the first hill within the first 30 seconds. Maybe we ate too much? After a while, we got back in our groove, and even made it down our first “real” run. Not well, but mostly without falling. I move at a glacial pace, because I’m so tense and generally terrified.
One of the girls knew she was too tired to ski the rest of the afternoon, so after escorting her back to the restaurant, our instructor told the two of us who were left that we would try another hill. Looking back, I should have stayed on the “after lunch” hill for the rest of the day until I could ski it without being as stiff as Frankenstein. Instead, our instructor took us on the scariest adventure of my life. (I know I can be dramatic, but this experience was literally the most terrifying of my life – worse than jumping out of a plane, white water rafting through Class 6 rapids, riding in taxis in Rio de Janeiro, etc.)
I’m new to skiing, so I don’t know how these runs work. I’m simply playing “Follow the Leader” right now. I don’t know how long things will be, what level of difficulty, etc. I’m just trusting that the instructor who’s watching me ski like Frankenstein in Class 01 knows what I can handle. This proved to be a very poor assumption.
Within minutes, I was wanting to cry (though all energy was focused on not dying, so none was left for actually crying). The hill was SO steep, and I could not figure out how to control my speed and kept falling over and over and over again – usually at a high rate of speed. At one point, I thought I broke my ankle because of the way my ski twisted around. Now, I’m exhausted, scared, and overall mad. I was yelling in French the whole way down the mountain: “J’ai peur! [I’m scared!]” “C’est difficile! [It’s hard!]” “Ou est le fin?! [Where is the end?!]” I would have paid ANY sum of money to be rescued by a helicopter or a snow mobile, but sadly, there were none to be found.
Long story short, my instructor had to “carry” me down the last 1/3 of the mountain. For those of you familiar with skiing, he went down the mountain in a backward snow plow bent over holding my skis together in a snow plow. And of course, I was yelling the whole way down. Disaster. When I got to the bottom, Class 03 congratulated me on conquering a Red run on my second day. (For those in the States, Red is in between Blue and Black!) What in the world were we doing on a red?!?! Two more ski lifts and one more hill to get back to the lodge. I can’t even tell you how happy I was.
Somehow I managed to smile with the man who tried to kill me. And I look surprisingly happy. Maybe I was just thrilled to be off of my skis without a broken bone.
One positive of the day – meeting a new friend (pictured above). She’s South African and just moved here from Singapore. She joined me for church this morning, which was really fun!
I want to believe this experience wasn’t scarring enough to keep me off of skis in the future, but I did wake up in the middle night dreaming that I was stuck on a steep mountain and couldn’t figure out how to get down! Baaaahhhh!
I think we’re going to switch gears and go sledding (on a 7km long sled hill!) or snow shoeing in the coming weeks. Maybe after I forget about this traumatic experience I’ll be ready for more.