Riding with an Olympian

I did not grow up skiing. Coming from Southwestern Ontario the skiing culture was very small and the hills were few and far between. When I began working at Blue Mountain two years ago I saw my opportunity to begin skiing and took advantage of it.

On Opening Day 2013, I was geared up and on the lift ready to go! My only experience with skiing prior had been from a field trip in high school to a London ski hill. But it was just like riding a bike, right? Wrong! My first turn of the season and I was falling down the hill. I made it to the bottom and decided that was it for the day; I should probably take a lesson before continuing.

After my lesson I spent the remainder of the 2013/14 season practicing on my own and getting pointers from my friends. I ended the season better than when I had started, but not at the ability level I wanted to be at.

The worst part about this sport is that it is only available during the winter season. Eager to improve and ready to ski, I spent the summer and fall waiting for ski season.

Opening Day 2014 came and went and I did not get out on the hill. I realized that it was probably time for another ski lesson. Fortunately an opportunity arose at a silent auction to bid on a lesson from our very own Rob Crossan, a former Olympian from the 1992 and 1994 games. I walked away with the prize in hand ready to get back out on the hill.

In the time before my lesson, I skied on my own in order to prepare myself. Of course, it is hard to improve when you don’t know what you need to do in order to improve.

So the day had come, I was excited and nervous, but ready to go! Picking up a new sport is always intimidating, it is very rare to be great at something the first time you try it. One of the best things about skiing at Blue is there are so many levels of ability on the hill. You are not the only beginner and as self-conscious as you may be, people are not judging you, they are only thinking about what they are doing on the hill.

A lesson on the other hand is a bit different, your instructor is watching you and they are assessing you. Here I was with one of the best alpine skiers in Canada, I am not going to lie I was intimidated at first.

As soon as we started skiing, the intimidation that I was feeling before had left me. I realized that Rob was the same as any other skier on the hills that day. The only difference was that he had spent the time and put in the effort to become an Olympic level athlete.

That day I skied better and faster than I ever had before. I was confident in my ability and I now know what I need to work on to improve even more.

This will not be the last lesson that I take. To all of the new skiers out there, it is so important to keep learning and continue to improve. As hard as it can be to try to learn something new as an adult, the feeling you get when you know you are improving is incredible.

Blue Mountain has lessons for all ability levels and for all styles of learners. If you prefer to learn on your own you can take a 60 or 90 minute private lesson. Or if you would rather take a lesson with a group, there is the Discover skiing and snowboarding newbie lessons.

For a full list of available lessons visit BlueMountain.ca/snowschool.

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