Before reading this post, I invite you to read my story about "commando crawling" down a slope that was too hard for me. www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
It was pretty much the classic beginner falling down the slope story.
I showed up this morning for my lesson to the worst ski conditions I have ever seen. Sometime during the night, snow turned to freezing rain, which left an ice sheet about a half inch thick all over the slopes. Only two lifts were working - one for the green, and one for the blue/black. The lines were atrocious as a result.
I went to my assigned ski group. My ski instructor asked me a bit about my experience. He sounded a bit skeptical when I said I had only been skiing about 2 years, but said if I needed to go down a level, it wouldn't be a problem. Most people were in the total beginner group, or the intermediate/advanced group. There were only 3 of us in the beginner group. We set off, waited in line forever, then finally met at the top of the lift.
The sheet of ice made things really scary. My skiis/boots were not responsive. It was very, very hard, but I was able to manage ok. One of the other guys was able to as well. The third guy plummeted with skiis flying everywhere. He said he had a previous knee and ankle injury, and hadn't skied in a long time. He was not able to make the turns at all. He got frustrated, and gave up completely.
I felt really bad for him. He apologized for holding up the class, clearly upset and embarrassed. I told him, "It's ok. The first day is just about getting used to being on skis again anyway. The ice on the snow is really awful." He seemed to feel a little better. Our instructor said he would put him in with the other beginner group, but I'm not sure he'll be back. He looked really demoralized. His confidence was shaken. You could see it. It's probably the same look I had after trying snowboarding.
We didn't get to do much after that because the lines were too long, and the conditions too bad. The instructor evaluated each of us. He asked what each of us wanted to get out of this. I told him a couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I came up there, and I was rocking the greens. Once we tried a blue, though, my confidence was shot and I couldn't make it down. I did not tell him about the commando crawl and the tree. Maybe at lesson 6!
I said I only started skiing a couple years ago, but I took to it very quickly. Probably because the balance is similar to inline skating. I said I had been able to do blue/easy blacks in the past, but I haven't skied a lot, so I don't yet have the muscle memory for it. He had an 'aha' look on his face.
He gave me a few pointers, and said if we worked on cleaning up my technique, then I should be able to do the blue runs ok. He said he noticed I was using too much upper body, and to focus movement only on the knees and feet. Good to know. I hadn't realized I was doing that. We'll work on that next week. Hopefully, with better snow!
Normally, I would practice on my own after lessons, but I decided to head home. I couldn't imagine being very productive on the icy slopes. I stopped for lunch at Chipotle and refueled my tank with my favorite - a steak fajita bowl with lots of tabasco sauce. Yum yum!