Snow slides

3 02 2012

Ever since we met, “M” would always grasp the oppotunity and describe to me, in the most fascinating and lyrical words, the emotions that someone gets while skiing down a snowy slope. Most of those times, she was describing the experience she had obtained when she had attempted skiing, without even taking any lessons, a few years back while her outback travelling in South America, and she urged me to take her word for how beatiful it would be if we would only try this together.
I was a bit sceptical about the whole venture, since the idea of myself, being with both feet locked upon two long planks of wood and sliding down on icy snow, appeared a bit scary and even worse sounded more like a death-threat towards all the living creatures and growing trees that might get into my vicinity.

After almost two years of confronting “M” persuasion tactics, …..I gave in!
She had eventually spoken the magic words that gave me the final push to practically let go and decide to give it a try.
“How can you decide if it suits you or not, if you don’t even try it? ….At least for once?”….
She was right!  I had to see for myself…. Yet, her birthday was close and that would make a wonderful birthday present for her. A present I could be sure beforehand that she would surely enjoy more than anything else.
So, I decided not to cancel our initial plans and go all the way through with our intended visit of our friends in Thessaloniki for Christmas, but on our way back to Athens to make a long detour and visit for two full days a place called Vasilitsa, Greece’s best Ski Resort as far as skiing pistes are concerned, and there eventually enjoy our long-wished skiing trials.

The weather was definetely with us!! Heavy snowfalls all over Greece and forecasts for very low temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius, even for the base of the ski center, promised thick and fresh snow to spare us from bruises and broken bones during our anticipated falls while having our skiing attempts.

The second day after Christmas, after a 3-day stay in a fancy hotel at Thessaloniki and after several long sessions of eating and drinking out with friends, we got up early, checked out and got back on the road.
We had about 2 hours drive laying ahead of us, always depending on the condition of the road, so there was no time to waste!
We had decided to stay at a village called Smixi, for the fact that it was located nearest to the snow center. None of our friends had been there before, so that gave us no opportunity to get any information or tips about the area. We had no other option than to take our chances and hope for the best.

Our trip to Smixi was pleasant and without any problems. About a week before our trip, several cars and drivers were blocked for almost two days in that very road we had to follow, due to the extremely heavy snowfall and the astonishing low temperatures. That incident had got me thinking that it could be proven to be a bit dodgy to drive all the way up that swirling road to reach our final destination. Fortunatelly, apart from a bit of ice, we found no other hardship and we got there safe and sound.

When we reached our hotel, we got to our room, put on our skiing apparels on and rushed to the snow center. The whole place was icy white and the beauty of the scenery along with the cold atmosphere was literally breathtaking.
After a few kilometers, we got to the parking lot of the ski center’s lower section, parked our car and went off into the skiing school to rent our ski sets and to hire a tutor that would undertake the heavy task of our initiation into the secrets of skiing.

Since it was my first time on skis, I was on a different level than “M”, so our tutor had to give me some special guidance which was mainly consisted of small tips on how to brake and how to avoid falling. While I was wearing myself out, doing small side steps uphill and then short slides to practise on braking, “M” had already started learning how to turn….. That was a bit disappointing to watch, since it made me think that once I had difficulty to perform the simplest task of braking, turning and especially skiing in an appropriate manner was something completely beyond my powers and skills.

I tried to concetrate my thoughts elsewhere and carried on practicing. Soon, our tutorial-time was up and our tutor had to leave. She urged me to keep on practicing and wished us to have a wonderful time. It might had been just an idea of my suspicious mind, but for an instance it seemed to me that this particular moment she put on a suspiciously half-smile on her face…… I convinced myself that it was just my shattered morale and bruised pride playing tricks on me and focused on braking with my skis….

Few hours later and after a couple of falls and plenty of frustration, I had started finding my “touch”. I was breaking much better and I had even started turning too! From left to right and all the way back to left again. I was thrilled!!! At last, I could have a mind of my own on skis when it came to which way to go and the kids could finally play with their sledges fearlessly!!

It was already past 15:00 and we had started getting really tired.
My left boot was killing me. I could practically feel my ankle being bruised and totally swollen.
I started thinking that the next day I might had problems in persuading myself to trap my feet back into these torture-boots again.
I asked “M” if it would be fine by her to call it a day.

“M” said that she felt really tired too and also that she was actually starving.
No second thoughts done, we rushed into the challet and got ourselves three hot dogs and an ice-cold Coke.
We found a nice spot to sit and enjoy the view and gobbled them up in no time. Having filled our bellies we went off, seeking some more rest, back in the warmth of our hotel room.

Soonest we got back we enjoyed a relaxing hot shower and got some desperately-needed-rest, “just for a little while”….

After a couple of hours we got down to the hotel bar. We had some coffee next to the sizable fire place and started chatting with an old couple…..
They appeared to be regulars in the place and they sure knew much more about which taverna was best to visit for having our dinner and most important which pistes to choose for the next day.
We had decided that on the next day we would have an early start, so that we would have plenty of time to have a short warm up and then take the aerial lift for the higher pistes. Just like proper skiers would do…..
The old guy gave us a useful tip. He said that there was a piste which was zig-zaging all the way down to the base, crossing the centre-lower piste twice and it was just perfect for our level in order we practise a little more and obtain all the confidence we needed for our turning and braking skills. At the same time he promised that since the weather forecast was talking about a bright sunshine for the next day, the visibility would be much better and that would give us the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic view and the wonderful scenery while skiing downhill. We decided that this sounded like a quite promising idea and agreed to follow his advice. Now, we were totally excited….!

The next day was even brighter than we expected……

We started our day doing some warm up, to get our “touch” back since yesterday and we set off to take the aerial lift towards the higher grounds. We were a bit sceptical about whether we should leave our skis on, while riding on the lift, since we couldn’t tell if that would make our getting off process easier or more dodgy. Although, we decided to follow the whole thing all the way till the end and try leaving our skis on. Exactly like proper skiers would do!
As it was proven, leaving the skis on or not was the least which should be worrying about, before taking the lift, since the moment we took off and started being lifted further and further off the ground we felt somehow…. uncomfortable!
Although, after getting used to be swinging aloft and begun to overcome our initial “shock”, we started enjoying the view from high above. A moment before we get to the dropping point we pushed the safety handlebar upwards and left our flying- seat performing a professional slide, all the way down the ground ramp which was made at this position right a few meters before our “flying-seat” turns and starts heading back downwards.
We asked the ski center guy who was attending the lifts which way to go in order to make sure we chose the right piste and set off for our descent.

That was something completely different with what we had tried the day before. It was way more exciting and enjoying……
We were actually skiing!!!!!!!

At last, there was plenty of space to practise our turns and enough downhill slope to brake once in a while in order to prevent things from getting out-of-hand-exciting. The truth is that we weren’t going that fast like the more experienced skiers, but even so the feeling was just wonderful!!
“M” was right! That was something else.
“Thanks, “M””….!!!! , I shouted out.
“M” gave no response. I wasn’t really sure if she heard me or not, but she was smiling and that seemed enough!

Few minutes later, we arrived back to the snow center’s base. We agreed to have a quick brunch in the challet and then do the same piste a few times more.

While looking out of challet’s window we noticed that the lifts were standing still…..
“Hey “M”, you see the lifts? …that’s not a good sign at all”, I mumbled. Unfortunatelly, I was proven right. There was a major damage at the top lift’s ball bearing and its repair would take at least for two weeks.
We were both deeply disappointed. It was pure bad luck!!

“Don’t worry, love” I said, seeking for some consolation for both of us. “Keep your appetite for the next time. We’ll make it up then!!”
“Does that mean that you actually liked it…..? ” “M” asked with a emerging smile on her face.
I smiled back, “I sure did, love. I sure did!” That pushed the gloominess away….!

Although we left the ski center with mixed emotions, there was a sweetly blended feeling of content flowing in the air. The fact was that there were plenty of beautiful moments to retrace while looking back at this first skiing experience of ours and at the same time there were many more to expect and to look forward to while gazing towards our next.

Subsiding to “M”s persuasiveness and eventually deciding to offer a two-days skiing as a birthday gift to her, unveiled gains for both of us. “M” had eventually managed to go skiing again, after all this time she wished for it, and I had eventually managed to win a first battle against one of my most basic fears. The fear of falling. ……and that was a fair deal indeed!

Isn’t that, what people is saying:”give and you will receive”? Well, take my word for it, …it has always been this way and that’s how it will always be!





2 responses

3 02 2012

…lets see if my pesruasive tactics will go work for the 2nd round of skiing 😛

3 02 2012

No persuasive tactics needed for the 2nd round. I am convinced that this time will be even better!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: