Health 
 

People, Who Snow Ski, Must be Crazy!

By: Mike Powers

It's so cold, it's so wet, and it's so dangerous? Please let me share why we are not Crazy!

For Everyone.

Snow skiing is one of the really exciting sports that combine exhilaration, fellowship, ambience and adventure, for all levels of participants. In Europe, children are being taught to ski as young as 2 years old and on the same slopes there are people over 90 years young. There are people of every nationality, race, creed and colour. There are one armed, one legged and even blind people, involved everywhere, at some level. What is the appeal of a sport that brings so many different people together, amidst the cold snow, in the sprit of friendliness and just having a good time?

Challenge.

Everyone that takes up skiing, no matter their current skill level, can find a place on the slopes to be thrilled and challenged. Whether it is the brand new, novice skier on the nursery slopes (even if 18 years old) tentatively trying his very first snow plough in a desperate attempt to stop, or whether it is the level 1 skier, gracefully carving out sweeping curves across the face of the virgin, freshly fallen snow. Everyone will find his or her challenge.

Fun.

Skiing is always fun. We put ourselves into ridiculous situations in the company of others doing the same and we seldom stop laughing. Watch people coming off the chair lift. Perhaps we see the super cool youngster, trying to impress his girlfriend, heads off on one ski, collides with the group in front, and collapse into a heap of tangled skis and bodies. And see how they are all laughing. Perhaps you will see a group of skiers following the ski instructor in graceful sweeping turns until someone loses control and takes the whole group into a snowdrift. And watch as they climb out, covered from head to toe in snow and almost hysterical in their laughter.

Camaraderie.

As you meet your friends or join your ski school group in the queue for the very first lift of the day, there is a shared feeling of anticipation and nervousness as to what the day will bring. Every one is fresh and dry in their colourful ski clothes, possibly a little cold, but already, the adrenaline is staring to flow. Perhaps it is the first time you have met the group and with the common anticipation, being shared, you are soon talking to others, about where they are from, how long they've been skiing etc. Then as you share your exploits and adventure during the day, by the time the lifts close, you are already on the way to feeling like friends.

Fellowship

The air is still and the twilight is descending onto the mountain. And lights are on in all the bars, cafes and restaurants as they shout "Welcome, to all you Ski Adventurers." You and your group answer that welcome and share glu-wein, a vodka fig or just a cleansing ale. Your faces are flushed and rosy from the day's exertions, and as you relive your experiences, they become funnier and braver than you ever felt possible. By the time it is ready for dinner, you have all become heroes in each other's eyes, with the quiet satisfaction and internal pride that "today, you did good!"

Ambience.

So you have finished your dinner and you sit in the armchairs in front of the roaring log fire. The shadows flicker gently on the walls as the flames continue their dance in the huge fireplace. You feel relaxed, comfortable and sleepy as you spend time with your new friends. For some, the cobwebs fill your brain and you drift off to sleep. Others will gain a second wind and be off to the local nightspot to party. And finally, you toddle off to bed and descend into the deep relaxing, well earned sleep, from which even the party goers returning home, cannot stir you.

Adventure.

Skiing is always an adventure. When as beginner, you go up to the first time on the chair lift and see the steepness of that blue slope, your heart starts to flutter. Exactly the same when, as an accomplished skier, you stand on top of the almost vertical expanse of virgin snow, spread out below you. It is an adventure when you are having lunch, high in the mountains, surrounded by the giant peaks and deep valleys that seem to go forever. And meeting men and women from all walks of life, foreign cultures, struggling with language and customs, is all part of the adventure.

So skiing is a passion for me. I learned to ski late in life and after finding it, discovered a wonderful world of fun, friendship and adventure. So you are welcome to my world and may you share in all of the above, and then some!!

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