Monday, January 21, 2013 (Day 12)
It’s a ski day! It was easy to wake up this morning since we were excited to go skiing. We are both beginner skiers, though Mark says I’m a better beginner. I’ve been skiing probably 4 times before now and Mark has skied 2 times before now. Last time we went was in Steamboat Springs, CO, I think about 4 years ago.
Mark is enrolled in a half day of ski schule this morning so we’ll meet his class at the bottom of the Schmitten mountain at 9:45am. We started off early with a hotel breakfast, and then headed out to the tourist information in the town center that had lots of answers for us. They were much more helpful than the hotel reception. Then, it was off to Intersport to pick up our rental ski equipment. We each had a set of skis, poles, and ski boots. And then, we had to catch a bus to head up to Schmitten.
I should note that the ski run colors are different here in Europe than they are in the States. In the states, easy is green, intermediate is blue, and hard is black, and black diamond. Here, it goes blue, red, black. On this mountain, many of the blue, easy runs were a bit steeper than we would have liked. It took us a while to find the easier blues.
Luckily we remembered how to put on the skis. We each took one run down the beginner slope at the bottom of the mountain to remember how to ski. That first time is always scary. The lift to the top of this little bunny hill was by a T-pole lift. For this lift, you stand on your skis and a pole shaped like a T goes behind you and pulls you up the hill. It was hard enough just to get used to the lift and get on it and off it! Then we had to start skiing.
Mark met up with his ski schule here and proceeded on with his lessons while I did a couple more runs on the bunny hill down here. Mark’s school headed up the mountain on the gondola to find a blue run up there, and I headed up afterwards and spent the next 2 hours skiing on my own. I picked a blue run at random that started from the top of the gondola and made my way down. The weather conditions were near white-out in the morning and full white-out in the afternoon, so that made the skiing that much harder. Without being able to see the slope in front of me, or the arrows directing me which way to go, I was very slow going down.
Luckily, I found a little loop to keep me busy. The first chair lift I encountered was one I hadnt seen before. It had a conveyor belt to help move the skier onto the chairlift. So, a gate opened and I skied forward down a tiny incline that spit me onto a moving conveyor belt where I nearly fell right over. Luckily I stayed up right, looked behind me and sat down on the chair coming at me. Very interesting. I’m guessing the conveyor belt just helped keep the chair lift moving faster.
Oh, and the ski passes are now very modern. The ski pass is a prox card that you hold up to the machines before you get on a lift. So the ski pass could be tucked away in a pocket and then waved in front of the machine. This is easier said than done though, b/c the turnstile to get through was at knee level and it was hard to get both skis through the turnstile and on the other side in order to get on the lift. In fact Mark’s first try landed him with one leg on either side of the turnstile!
Mark and I bet up for lunch on top of the mountain after his lesson and compared notes. We both had a good morning of skiing, though we also both had sore legs now from the ski boots and the skiing. After lunch, I also put on my GoPro camera so that I could take photos and video while skiing. I got some good videos that I’ll have to edit and post later once I get home to my desktop computer. Probably my most interesting video of the day was one that I got of a fall, complete with spraying snow.
The weather continued to get more foggy/cloudy as the day wore on and you could barely see 20 feet in front of you. It was also quite a warm day for skiing with temps just above freezing. With all the ski clothes and movement we were sweating.
Mark took me over to the blue run he’d been running with his class and it was less steep than the one I’d been doing in the morning so we spent the rest of the day over there. He also gave me some pointers from class that helped me out as well. However, by the end of the day, I was done and ready to get out of my ski boots! They are not the most comfortable things to wear!
We headed down the mountain and ended at the Intersport where we rented our skis. They provided free storage for us, so we dropped off our skis and put our hiking boots back on. Never have my hiking boots felt so light. =) We were back at the hotel by 5 where we just hung out and worked on the internet. Joanna now has a bit of a cold going on and after a good break, we just ate our dinner at the hotel and watched the snow coming down outside.
Tomorrow we ski again.