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Learning To Snow Ski

Updated on August 10, 2009

I learned to snow ski in Austria while stationed in Germany in the late 80's. Snow skiing turned out to be one of the most exhilarating sports. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it to any one who has considered giving it a try.

Snow skiing is great exercise and develops hand, eye coordination. It also increases balance and muscle tone outside of the gym environment, just having fun while maintaining fitness.

Arriving to Ski In Austria

Me with my skiing partner 1988
Me with my skiing partner 1988
My ski instructor
My ski instructor

My Snow Skiing Experience

I had never been snow skiing but had toyed with the idea, not knowing exactly how to go about learning. A friend informed me that over Thanksgiving Holiday there was an inexpensive 4 day tour to Austria where some of the finest skiing is found. I became excited about the prospect, but voiced concern over the learning aspect. My friend informed me that was not a problem because she would personally instruct me as she had been to these very ski slopes before.

Excitement mounting, I signed up for the tour, rented skis and we were off. We arrived at the lodge and had lesson one, putting on skis, this went quite well, so I was now prepared for the snow. Youth and excitement displaced usual precautions as I followed each instruction without thought or question. This is how you stand, balance, move forward, hey this is great, I was really getting it.

ski slopes in Austria
ski slopes in Austria
the t-bars on Austrian slopes
the t-bars on Austrian slopes
riding is better than t-bars
riding is better than t-bars

The T-Bar To The Top Of The Hill

Next step, getting to the top of the hill. We got in line for the "t-bar" to go to the top of my first slope. It was explained to me that you don't sit on the t-bar you just lean on it. The t-bar is a two person balancing act. Sounded great, we arrived at the front of the line here came the t-bar to take us to the top. The next thing I knew we were both laid out in the snow, the t-bar popping up into the air and upset people behind us telling us if we don't know what we are doing to move out of the way so they can ski. I thought this was hilarious but apparently everyone else not so much, including my friend/instructor who explained in one syllable words something about not sitting on the t-bar. Okay, so I have it now, for real, don't sit, just lean.

We wait patiently in line for our turn again to go to the top of the hill my friend/instructor has now turned into a lecturer. We are there, here comes our t-bar, I have it lean, just lean. You got it, I leaned a little too hard, and once again, we are laid out on the ground, collecting ourselves and our equipment. The t-bar popped up in the air and went on up the slope once again without us. Yelling has never made me move faster, so I don't know why people bother, once again, I thought it was hilarious and no one seemed to appreciate it the same way I did.

More one syllable, four letter word instruction and suddenly I get it, it's not about leaning at all, what exactly is the difference between leaning and sitting after all. Just stand there, let it hit you and push you up the hill. Here comes the t-bar, my friend/instructor has informed me this is my last chance and if I want to learn how to ski, do it right! We are off, the exhilaration of moving up the snow covered slope effortlessly being pushed by the t-bar. It worked, don't sit, don't lean, just wait and let the t-bar do all of the work!

How To Ski

Without further ado, we arrive at the top of the slope and I am ready for my next lesson. A flask of jagertee is next, a little something to keep me warm and apparently to reduce my awareness from asking too many questions. Jagertee is not like green tea, if ever in Austria skiing I highly recommend just one shot, that is enough to last a lifetime, if you ever want to feel warm, just remember that moment.

All warmed up and numb from the jagertee, my next instruction is to go to the edge of the slope. Like a lamb to the slaughter I go right up to the edge, breathtaking beauty reveals itself from the top of a ski slope. I was taking in the beauty of the moment, hardly noticing as I was asked are you ready. Maybe I said yes, maybe I didn't, I really don't remember.

I heard GO, at the same moment I felt the blow between my shoulder blades sending me plummeting down the slope at an ever increasing speed. I yelled, I screamed, already knowing it was useless. It didn't work on me at the bottom of the slope, it was equally ineffective on everyone else now. How do I stop? How do I turn? How do I slow down? Something told me it was a little late to be thinking these questions. I just continued to scream, as I was now flying past others. Then I saw them in front of me, a man and a child, they were already down, Couldn't they hear me screaming, yelling, headed straight for them? Surely they would move, get out of my way, wasn't it obvious I had no idea what I was doing? Apparently not, already down, they couldn't move, clueless I couldn't divert. We all three rolled into a new pile and so I learned how to stop. Not the most effective way of stopping, but my high speed journey downhill had stopped every bit as abruptly as it began.

We all rambled about collecting ourselves and our gear, checking and ensuring everyone seemed to be fine. Except one small problem, I still had to make it to the bottom of the slope somehow. Fortunately for me, my friend/instructor arrived as if on cue. My turn to speak in one syllable 4 letter word sentences. Turns out my instructor had been skiing one time on these very slopes prior to this trip and new if I had been provided this information I would never have agreed to such a preposterous plan.

All Is Well That Ends Well

 It turned out that this training was quite sufficient, throughout the rest of the four day weekend I not only made it back to the bottom of that slope, I was also able to advance to riding in a seat you sit on to more advanced slopes and actually learning to maneuver and stop on command versus screaming and plowing into others.

As I said in the beginning, an exhilarating experience, physical exercise without the gym.  Just plain fun in the most beautiful playground ever built, nature. 

Skiing Recommendations

After sharing my own story, some of you may not be as excited about the thrill of snow skiing as I was, so here are a few tips I learned in retrospect:

  • Check out your ski instructor, find out how much experience they have and their qualifications to instruct.
  • Learn all about stopping and maneuvering prior to learning how to get to the top of the slopes
  • Jagertee is better enjoyed after the ski trip, not before or during.
  • Last, but not least, enjoy the experience, it really is exhilarating and fun and keeps the body in great shape.

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    • theskibug profile image

      theskibug 5 years ago from France

      Nice hub. We live in a ski resort and are keen skiers.

    • emohealer profile image
      Author

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      salmanali456,

      Thanks for enjoying the ride or say slide with me!

    • salmanali456 profile image

      salmanali456 8 years ago

      lol wow nice hub really fun this is

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      prasetio30,

      you're welcome, glad you enjoyed the hub. Enjoy skiing more, glad you're going to find a real instructor. Thanks

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks for share. this is great tips for us to know how to learn ski. A next couple month is winter. that is great moment to practicing your tips. great hub . I like it.

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you ripplemaker for visiting and reading my just for fun hub. Glad you appreciated it :-)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I can just imagine you screaming all the way down. LOL I haven't skied either (we don't have snow here in our country)...maybe someday I'd get to try. I'll make sure to get an expert ski instructor as you advised. :)

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Uninvited Writer: Thanks so much for stopping by.. this was another day for me as well, about 20 years ago, a good memory, not the now. Appreciate the input and sharing. Thanks!

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I've never skied but it always looks like so much fun. I love to watch downhill racing.

      It's too late to learn now because I have some mobility problems...and beside, I'm not a great fan of winter. I like to watch my skiing while indoors :)

      Excellent hub.

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Erick....well said, you get what you pay for and having a private instructor is the only way to learn skiing. Good for you to find a private instructor who was also a friend.

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 8 years ago

      The best thing you can do is pay for one private lesson. I lived in a ski town for years and luckily my first lesson was a good friend who was a instructor. The one on one time made learning to ski so much easier.

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Jen, Thanks for the pun, sharing your own fun and humour and as for the jagertee, it is the most potent, vile tasting and smelling liqour ever. Definitely not "tea" in any common sense of the word. I like that even using two syllable words...so true. Appreciate you stopping by!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Well what a funny, scary, exhilarating experience all rolled into one lump - pun intended- lol I love it when people start talking to you as if you are stupid, when you are just inexperienced, like when some start talking v-e-r-y

      s-l-o-w-l-y, even if they use say, TWO syllable words. Still skiing does sound fun especially the way you described it.

      What in the world is in that tea you described?

      Jen

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Jenny30, How nice to live near a ski resort. I am sure not as good as you would like to be is far better than I.

      Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by and posting.

    • Jenny30 profile image

      Jennifer 8 years ago from Canada

      great hub! I live near a ski resort myself and ski quite a bit. However I am still not as good as I would like to be though. But practice makes perfect!!!! Again great article.

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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      alekhouse: Thank you so much for reading and sharing in the humour, I appreciate the feedback very much!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 8 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Entertaining hub. ....loved the part about the t-bar. Very well written...and funny.

    • emohealer profile image
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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      advisor: Nice!!! Isn't skiing great, also nice to know there is a rescue squad, thankfuly I didn't need one.

    • advisor4qb profile image

      advisor4qb 8 years ago from On New Footing

      I stuck to the easier trails when I was skiing, but somehow I still ended up being rescued by the ski patrol. Twice.

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      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      lily, good to see you again here visiting. I don't know about "bunny" hills. But I do know where I was skiing Zillertal (spl) was the location they had just recently, (back then) had the Winter Olympics there. Glad you appreciated the humour, it is funny to me now to.

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      lilyofthevalley 8 years ago

      Don't they havee 'bunny' hills in Austria... So funny Sue!