Having decided to spend several months home exchanging around the USA and Canada we started our journey with a month in Salt Lake City during the peak of the ski season. After some research and consideration of the absolutely woeful snowfalls received earlier in the season on the west side of the country, we elected to go with Alta as our resort of choice, as it seemed to offer the best chance of reasonable snow coverage.
I am not the ski fanatic in the family. Indeed, up to the point where we headed for Salt Lake I had been on skis about half a dozen times over a period of 15 years. While I looked forward to spending a bit more time on skis in an attempt to improve my somewhat shakey beginnings, it was not without a touch of trepidation as I had not been near a ski slope for at least 5 years. Still, l the optimist in me pictured me swooshing effortlessly down the slopes after very little time on my new skis.
On our first day we rode the chairlift to the top of the beginner’s area. That’s where I lost it. This gentle green slope looked to me like a steep double black run down the side of a giant mountain, my brand new skis wouldn’t turn at all (no fault of mine of course) and I was not really feeling that great. I had a few unsuccessful attempts at conquering the terrifying mountain while feeling, by this stage, dizzy and a bit sick, and dissolved into tears. I was eventually “helped” off the slope by the very enthusiastic ski patrol (scarier than skiing down I think) and I didn’t ski any more that day. Nor did I ski for the next week as, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was succumbing to an especially nasty virus.
After a week spent rugged up in front of the fire feeling sorry for myself I headed back to the slopes for round two. By this time I had decided that I needed to really go back to basics and elected to have a private lesson with Holley, an instructor who had been particularly recommended for frightened old ladies like myself. Holley was about my age, with a lot of experience and not only understood my fears, she was gentle enough to give me confidence but tough enough to move me forward. By the end of my lesson I was almost happily skiing down the green slopes that had totally intimidated me the previous week.
I spent another week practising and progressing on to some of the other green slopes and then went back for another lesson to consolidate my control. Once again Holley was exactly what I needed and after lesson two I was confident enough to tackle a few bluish/greens. By the end of our month I was a much happier skier and really starting to enjoy myself.
We both loved our time in Alta, it is not a large resort but it had a good variety of well groomed beginner and advanced areas, the ski school was perfect for me and relatively inexpensive. It is also one of the few resorts that doesn’t allow snowboarders, which makes the skiing much more relaxed for us beginners.
By the end of the month we had done a lot of skiing and my transformation from raw beginner means that I will now look forward, with less trepidation, to our next skiing adventure.