Just white blurs in your sight. Chilly air piercing into your face. Snowflakes drifting in the wind around you. Your arms raised out beside you; the whole Titanic moment (as any Leonardo Di Caprio fan would) whilst the speed under your ski’s gather. Gliding down the snowy mountain.
I was in the magical place of Montafon, located in Austria. It is a popular place to go skiing, during the winter season, as it offers a various amount of ski trails suited for all levels and ages. Myself, as a beginner was able to find a large amount of ski trails suited to my level and by the end was able to experiment with the harder slopes.
I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow a pair of skis, pants, a jacket, helmet, goggles and of course that lovely thermal underwear. Although for those who can’t borrow, there is a relatively cheap ski hire shop at the start of the skii lifts in Montafon. After an unfortunate event of my ski shoes being stolen from the hotel I was staying at, I had to hire a new pair from the shop which was a cheap 5 Euro for the day.
The day started early and the first thing on the agenda was the trip to the top of one of the mountains via a twenty minute gondola ride. At the top of the mountain, with my ski boots clicked into my skis, my goggles on, my ski sticks in my hand; I looked like a baby horse trying to stand up for the first time. Unbalanced, wobbly, spending more time on the ground than upright and of course a good laugh for all those standing around me.
Making my skis in such a large shape of a V that I was nearly doing the splits, I started down the mountain. I felt like I had been going forever then looked behind me and I had travelled no more than 20 metres – yes, I was that slow. Although with such sunny weather conditions on that first day, the clear view gave me confidence to go faster. By the end of the first day I was able to get enough rhythm to be able to turn properly and go a lot faster. It was such an adrenaline rush shooting down those mountain amoungst the hundreds of others enjoying the beauty of Montafon.
The second day the mountains were hugged by a grey, thick fog. I could see no more than half a metre in front of me. All the skills I had developed the day before were gone and I was back to square one. With the clear view taken away from me, going down the slopes now was a lot scarier. Bumps appeared randomly and unknown hills dropped with incredible steepness knocking me off my feet quite a few times.
Like someone was sifting icing sugar on top of a cake, the mountains were covered with another layer of snow very quickly. My plaits were soon frozen solid and any skin peeking out between the layers was pink. It was definitely time for a punsch. The skis came off and it was into the little cabin halfway down the mountain. I discovered then that the hardest thing about skiing was not the actual skiing but walking in those ski boots. I looked like a starfish trying to walk. up a hill made of jelly. Sipping into that punsch was heaven, as the warmth from the drink spread down to my fingers and toes.
I loved watching the experiences skiers and snowboarders as they raced down the mountain, a wave a snow covering me whenever they passed. The best was when they went off the trails and down the side of the mountains in the deep snow. Reaching the bottom in 2 seconds flat it looked like they were flying through the cloud like snow.
The third day bought better conditions, although the slopes were a little icy. My confidence grew again with the pleasure of sight. Each track taught me more and I was able to go faster and more fluently each time. The feeling on the ski’s as you race down the mountain is something I know I am going to crave badly when back in Australia. It was very sad to say goodbye to the beautiful place as we went back down the mountain in the gondola – I just kept craving more!
Although that feeling when you finally take of the ski boots is bliss, even better when you stand under that hot shower and begin to defrost.
As a group of 11 in total, I am very thankful for those beautiful people that made the weekend happen. Also for the patience they gave me, making sure I got down that mountain alive. This wonderful ski weekend was an incredible and fun experience for myself and hopefully the others that went with me.