This is my first post so sorry if it's a bit incoherent and pardon my rambling.
Well what a fun trip. I'm from Dallas, and I've been to the mountains twice this year now (twice in my life also :P), first trip was in January at Heavenly. That trip however I tried snowboarding and did terribly, until the 2nd day when I finally was able to link some basicturns on some greens. Never been so sore in my life!
This trip however, I wanted to not feel so newbie, so I decided to try skiing! I had always heard skiing had a much easier learning curve than boarding, and I figured since I have 15 years of inline and ice skating experience, it would be simple. I was so excited for this trip, I could barely concentrate at work the last two weeks.
Fly out from Houston to Sacramento fri night, and my brother drives us to Northstar Sat AM. We arrive about 8:30PM. It's Saturday, forecast to be in 60s. I head to the rental shop and get hooked up with some really uncomfortable, blister-inducing boots, but hey I'm just ancy to get up on the mountain so I dont care. Right size for my foot lengthwise, but poorly fitted for my bony feet and of poor quality of course. I heeded the advice on the beginner board and tried not to get boots too big, haha. They give me some 150cm skis and I'm headed up the gondola up to the bunny slopes. I had signed up for some lessons that started at 10AM, but it was only about 9:15, so I decide to make a few runs down the beginner hill. I plop my skies down and get locked into place. WHOA!! This feels totally weird. I try moving but my feet are flailing all over the place. After a minute I start to question my decision to ski. I'm actually scared this will be an awful day of me on my butt just like the first day of snowboarding.
After about a minute, I get my bearings and try to push myself to the lift line, about 100 feet. away. OMG this is hard! Of course nobody told me to plant to tips behind my boots to get leverage. I finally struggle to the lift and get on. I reach the top of the hill with my brother next to me to watch my pathetic first skiing attemps. At least I didn't fall getting off the lifts. As I mentioned before, I was super excited about this trip and prepared by watching hours of youtube "ski lesson" clips and reading this website. I just kept telling myself keep leaning forward, make sure you feel your shin on the lip of the boot. I awkwardly make my way down trying to do parallel turns just like I learned from the videos and how I had done on skates for 15 years. Nope, nice try. My skis go every which way and I make it about half way down the bunny hill before my brother decides he's had enough and goes up the lift to make his runs :P. Parallel turns aren't working like I imagined so I go darn, so they teach the wedge for a reason!. So after my failed attemps at becoming an instant pro, I test out a simple wedge. Hey simple enough, I can wedge down the mountain without falling! It's now 10 and meet up for my beginner class.
Funny thing is, when I bought my lesson/rental/lift ticket package, I asked for the novice lesson, because I thought skiing would be cake. I was quickly humbled in less than 2 mintues on a the bunny hill. With a bit of my ego deflated, I meet the ski instructors and tell them, "I think I got the wrong level of instruction, do you mind if I join your first timer's class?" "Sure," they say, and I'm joined by a group of 5 other students with my instructor Bill. Lesson begins. Out of the skis, we walk up the slope, then back down the slope, then sidestep up, then back down. . We then shuffle our feet in a circle, then put on one ski and push ourselves around with our poles. We then put our skis on and push ourselves around and then side step up the hill. Then we learn to wedge down the hill. Easy enough, I already got this on my own :) Then we try wedge turns. I wedge turn down the mountain easy enough, hey this isn't too far off from when I skate on the sidewalk! However, big mistake. As I make my turns, I'm leaning my uphill shoulder into the turn. My instructor notices this and tells me to tilt my right shoulder down as I'm making my left turn and vice versa. Although this was really weird to me, I did what he said and learned quickly where to shift my weight as I'm making my wedge turns. Lesson concludes and I'm super excited to bring the basics up the mountain as I feel much more comfortable on my skis.
After lunch, me and my brother head up and try some greens, easy blues. I am doing my wedge turning while focusing on keeping forward in my boots. After a couple hours of runs, it all starts coming together. I feel like my uphill leg wants to go parallel on my turns. By the end of my first day, I'm doing my first parallel turns! Day 2 comes and I'm ready to get up there. It's morning and I get my rentals again, this time, same size boots, but they are much more comfortable, I'm given 146cm skis this time. I head up and do my first run by myself as my brother and his friends went up and down while I was getting my rentals. I go down a blue "steep" and lose my confidence after I fall. At this point I'm discouraged! It sit on the slope thinking, "lean forward learn forward, don't backseat it you pansy." After a couple more feeble attempts, I release my bindings and walk over to the much less steep trail about 100 feet to my left Oh god, I've regressed. I get back on the easier slope and once again start my thinking, "ankes, knees, hips bent and weight forward, hands forward, eyes up, and dip outside shoulder down putting weight on downhill inside edge on turns." I quickly improve and regain my confidence the in the morning. I can make it down the groomed blues without falls. Close to noon, we try the terrain park as my brother and his friends were snowboarding. I feel confident and feel like I'm learning pretty quickly so I decide to try this box looking thing. "Hey! it's only my second day skiing," I say as a disclaimer to what is about to happen. I ski towards the mini ramp at a snails pace and land on the box crooked lose balance and fall on my face while losing my right ski. Oh well, I went for it! It was a blast! I try a few jumps and even got a couple inches of air!! lol
Lunch hour comes and my brother's group goes to eat while I'm having too much fun to stop, I go up for another run then head back down to the lodge to meet them where I eat an apple and granola bar so I can have as much time skiing as possible. I'm already addicted at this point.
We head back up and do another blue run before my brother's friend asks if I wanna try a black. "Sure, why not?" While she's strapping in she asks, "is this your first black?" "Yup," I respond. She then tells me to take my time on the steep part. We head towards the backside of Mt. Pluto and the first part of the run is pretty easy and we encounter the first steep part. Mind you these are steeps I would have sh#@ my pants on in January if I came across them on a snowboard. I stop and take in the view, it's beautiful. Once again I tell myself just keep my weight forward and lower body flexed and loose and everything will take care of itself. I start my way down and edge my way down back and forth pretty easily. I make it down my first black run without any falls!! At this point, I'm super addicted to the thrill and rush the blacks gave me over any of the easier runs. I spent the rest of the day on the backside of the mountain doing the black trails at northstar, each time trying to carve tighter and smoother, and more dynamic turns and working on rhythm with pole plants, which I hadn't used much of. The rest of the day was great until I decided to do a black run on another part of the mountain no one was using and for good reason! I lost and edge on the icy slope, slid down on my back about 50 feet not once, but twice. Luckily I didn't lose a ski, as no one else was using that run it seemed.
The day ended way to fast and snow conditions were not that great, but overall, I came out with one of the best experiences of my life. I'm now totally addicted to skiing and will be counting down the days until I have another chance to get up on the mountains. I know I still have a lot to work on, but I look forward to the hard work and gratification that comes with improving! I'll defintely be looking for advice on what skis to buy for next season!