Learning To Ski!

Hello again 🙂

We had much adventuring and ouchy legs this weekend! We took a trip to Snowy Range in Wyoming so that I could try my hand at skiing, and so that Rob could show off his mad skiing skills. I’ve done a day skiing before in Utah, but since we’ve got a full five days skiing in Steamboat coming up in a few weeks (yay!) practice was needed.

We decided to go to Snowy Range because it’s very close, only about an hour and a half drive away, and the drive up through Wyoming is very beautiful. It’s also a great place for beginners, with lots of nice gentle green slopes. Ski slopes are rated by difficulty, with green being the easiest, blue being next, and black being the hardest:

Not to scale

But before the slopes, we had to check into our hotel in the adorable local town, Centennial. Although Town might be a little generous, with the population of 270 people spread over 56 buildings. That said, it looked exactly how a little cowboy town should look and I loved it:

Old Corral
This was, incidentally, an amazing steakhouse. We’ll come back to it.

It was even nice enough that we were only slightly panicked by the lack of Wifi anywhere. We asked the lady at the motel and she said that rather unsurprisingly none of the big internet providers consider the town a priority, which I suppose was hard to argue with. Speaking of our hotel, the pleasingly named Friendly Store & Motel, it slightly worryingly looked like this:

For those who can’t read it, the store sells ‘Groceries’ and ‘Meats’…

When I told my colleagues that I was spending a weekend in rural Wyoming a few of them joked that we should try and sleep in shifts so that no-one murdered us in our sleep. We now got the joke, but luckily as I said the lady from the store was very nice and the door to our room locked very securely!

So, on to the slopes. We’d talked about me having an actual lesson with an instructor, but since I don’t follow instructions well and prefer to figure things out for myself we decided to give that a miss. Instead, we got kitted up and started slow on the baby slopes.

The first big hurdle was the ski lift, where my refusal to follow instructions became clear almost immediately. You are supposed to unhook your poles from your wrists, sit on your chair lift with the skis out of the way and let the chair do its thing. You then stand up when the chair gets to the top, and ski out of the way so that it doesn’t scoop you back up again. Almost all of these things were an issue. First I kept forgetting to remove the poles and get the skis out of the way, but luckily only once caused a ski to go flying off and the lift guy popped it back on almost immediately. The top was far more challenging! I was quite worried that I would get left behind, so kept trying to stand up too early and making everything swing around a lot. Clinging to Rob was also a key part of this process, but I didn’t manage to topple him down the mountain at any point despite many attempts!

It was all worth it for the actual ride in the middle though, which was completely lovely!

The next big hurdle was, of course, basic skiing. Skiing properly will come later! As you can imagine being able to stop when you want to is always useful, as is being able to move forward without falling over. With careful tutelage from Rob we worked on these things, and I slowly began to improve. It’s really pleasing that as you’re able to handle steeper slopes skiing gets way easier. When the slope is flatter you have to use quite a lot of energy to keep moving, and you feel less stable; when the slope is steeper moving forward is effortless so you just need to steer/ not fall over.

It also gets much easier as your technique improves! To start with I was stopping using the snowplow, where you make an inverted ‘V’ with the skis while facing forward to force yourself to stop. This was just murder on the knees, and only really works when you’re travelling below a certain speed. I’m working now on parallel skiing, where instead of stopping suddenly you control your speed by turning. You can imagine that if you’re facing down the mountain you’re accelerating quickly, whereas if you’re perpendicular then you don’t move at all. This is why skiers serpentine down slopes instead of just shooting down in a straight line, because it stops you building up too much speed. I’m by no means great at it, but happily now good enough that the whole process is no longer terrifying:

I would even say it’s extremely good fun!

We had an amazing time, tired ourselves out thoroughly, and had regular coffee breaks since Rob is very aware of the subtle art of operant conditioning:

I can already feel my Pavlovian response kicking in…

Some of these breaks also gave Rob a chance to show off his mad skiing skills, which have only improved as he continues to do his high altitude half Marathon training! I actually had an extremely good time making fun of the fact that his legs were almost too muscular to fit into the ski boots, I swear his calves now have three distinct leg biceps…

Anyway, here he is making me scream by pretending that he is going to crash into me, even though I am his wife and soulmate:

Fortunately he just sprayed snow in my face instead

On the evening of our first day we went to the Old Corral Steakhouse, which was shown above in the picture of Centennial, and oh my goodness it was magnificent. I was worried that it might be a bit shabby since it was so isolated but not only did we have to wait 30 minutes for a table (pff!), it was one of the best steaks I have ever had.

I’ll never forget you, Rare Prime Rib that I devoured within minutes

There just are no words for something so beautiful. Plus the beer was amazing and the service was great, so we were extremely happy bunnies. Already tired from the skiing we passed into near comas after our steaks.

On Sunday we had a hearty breakfast, and then dragged our aching bodies back up to the slopes for some more skiing. We’d managed most of the green runs on the Saturday, so it was time to live dangerously and try some blue runs. The first run we tried was on the far left of the map, called Seminole, and was very beautiful. Tricky, but the views more than made up for it:


I had two tries at flopping around in the snow like a dying seal, but mostly it went okay! Annoyingly one of those tries was right at the bottom of the mountain, on the perfectly flat ground, but c’est la vie! I was still very proud and excited.

We then moved on to the big leagues, trying out the very pretty and lightly terrifying Virginian:

P1010887 cropped
Ignore my hat, look at the slope!

Anyway, I did it! Yataaaa! All the way down without falling over once, and with only very minor cursing. You would’ve been proud, I was serpentining all over the place. So much fun!

Sadly after a few more hours hour little legs could take no more, so we packed everything up and headed back to sunny Colorado, more tanned than when we left! We now have two weeks of recovery before the amazing Steamboat. Can’t wait!!

More soon! Xx

One thought on “Learning To Ski!

  1. Congratulations Cat! I am very impressed! I hate the bit when you can’t see over the edge and assume it’s a sheer drop on the other side! I hear America is not so bad at that as the Alps so maybe one day before I’m to old I’ll give it another go! Try to remain injury free for the next couple of weeks and don’t forget those wierdy leaning on the wall with your legs bent exercises!


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