Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Skiing sans falling...
...is just not possible. Believe me, you fall. And.you.fall.deep.
When you are 5 or 8 years old, learning how to ski for the first time is perhaps akin to building a snowman or snow-fighting. It's riotously fun!
When you are 30 (okay, almost 31) and you're trying it out for the first time, it's a completely different matter. Just think of a baby's first steps - awkward, clumsy, and rough.
As most Norwegians love nature and outdoorsy stuff, I thought I should give cross-country skiing (or langrenn, as they say it here) a try. My first attempt was at beautifully prepared paths in a deserted mountain ski area in southwest Norway. I didn't fall - not until we had to take a rest close to a lake and I had to go a steep 2 meters down in an unprepared slope. Still, I had to congratulate myself. That first fall didn't happen until an hour after we started!
Feeling more confident, my second attempt took place at this popular ski destination for Osloites in Frognerseter/Holmenkollen area. I will realize soon after that my hope of mastering the twists and turns is shattered. With dogs running around and throngs of families with kids, there were no coherent ski tracks and I feared crashing into someone at my every turn. Once, it took me full 3 minutes to have the guts to ski downhill at one junction. I didn't fall, luckily. But you should have seen the look of a dad and his kid as I was coming close to hitting them. Gosh I was embarrassed. And not to mention that I kept everyone behind me waiting.
My third ski attempt is even more painfully memorable. I went out with a bunch of kids from a transit camp (refugees and asylum-seekers waiting to be transfered) and other NGO volunteers on a Sunday ski trip. Yes, I shouldn't even have dared to volunteer! How can I assist first-time skiers when I can't even do it myself? Crazy me, I thought it would be more fun to "fall" together with these kids. And besides, who can resist the thrill of hearing the giggles of red-cheeked Norwegian kids playing nearby or the joy of making the refugee children laugh every single time I fall?
Well, so much for my philanthropic efforts. I ended up broken into pieces after 2-3 hours of skiing and sledding. It's like after my first yoga experience - I had body pains for days. But in spite of all the beating, I will do it again. And again and again.