I was pretty tired when I got back to Calgary from my day long downhill lesson at Sunshine. If I hadn’t already paid for my XC lesson I would have opted to hang out and just watch the Olympics. Instead I quickly changed, took Finlay for a walk and headed out to COP.
Once I got all of my gear I talked to my instructor about what happened out on the hill. He also teaches at Sunshine on the weekends. I was hoping that the time on the XC trails would help me to move past what happened and that I’d finish my big ski day on a positive note. When asked what we wanted to do I volunteered that I’d really like to ski the tracks around COP. In case I wanted to come out on my own, rent some gear and ski I wanted to have an idea of what the terrain was like.
We started off doing a few loops along the easier terrain, just to get a feel for gliding through the tracks again. Then we took off going up some of the bigger hills. The lady in front of me was having a tough time going up in the track, so she had to shuttle to the side to go up the hill using a herringbone pattern with her skis. I found the best way to get up the hills was to jog up, staying in the tracks, and then I never felt like I was slipping back. Plus I got a great workout going up the hills!
Well…we all know that what goes up must come down, and all of a sudden there were some big downhills to contend with. I tackled the first downhill…but not well. It is really icy out at COP right now, so I picked up some good speed going downhill.
Commence freak out over feeling like I can’t control myself…
I put my poles out and started dragging them along beside me in an attempt to slow myself down. Well…that probably isn’t the best idea as I started wobbling. I told myself to suck it up and pick up my poles. I made it down the hill, then it was time to go back up. There was a fairly sharp curve and then another downhill. I really managed to psych myself out on this little hill. I watched everyone in my class go down. Some stayed in the tracks, some snow ploughed their way down the slope. I stood at the top, trying to convince myself to go, but my body wasn’t responding.
I told myself that I couldn’t just stay at the top of the hill, I was going to have to get down somehow. So I attempted to snow plough down instead. Snow ploughing on cross country skis is a lot harder than on downhill skis. I made it maybe 1/3 of the way down the hill before I fell over. Honestly, I just wanted to cry. I was frustrated that what happened earlier was becoming difficult for me to move past and it was now affecting my XC ski experience. This was my last XC ski lesson and I was supposed to be enjoying it…but all of a sudden I really wasn’t anymore.
My instructor skied back to me and asked me how I was doing. He could tell I was shaken, so he told me that it is okay to take the skis off and walk. I walked down the next hill and met up with my classmates a little further on. I skipped out on one hill, but did tackle another downhill. Yes, I wound up falling, but at least I gave it a shot. Sadly when the lesson was over I really felt like I had taken two giant steps backward.
But, not to worry! I have a plan in the works to try both downhill and XC again. I do not want this to be my last ski of the season and to carry this lack of confidence forward with me into next winter. And thanks so much for all of your great comments on my last post. Yes, the lady in the group was quite the drama queen, but oh well, these things happen. I’m going to keep trying!