Week 10 - In which I skied backwards



Never underestimate your friends…

The lovely snow in Gaissau-Hintersee

The lovely snow in Gaissau-Hintersee

When I mentioned to Sebastian I was going skiing with a couple of friends, he looked at me with a glint in his eye and said: “I have a challenge for you!”

I have come to love and hate this moment with equal measure. LOVE – because I could never come up with as many challenges myself and therefore need other people to share their ideas with me. HATE – because I never quite know just how bad things are going to be.

“OK then, - what do you have in mind?” I said as nonchalant as I could. “Ski backwards with a hot drink in hand and chuck it at the bottom of the piste. It’s easy. I do it all the time!” That’s the moment when I swallow (hard), smile (wooden) and say “Of course! What a fabulous idea!”



GAISSAU-HINTERSEE: Where fox and bunny say ‘good night’

Latschen Alm, such good lunch . . .

Latschen Alm, such good lunch . . .

That is a German saying for a place that is so safe and idyllic, that even archenemies like foxes and rabbits become best friends. This is what the ski resort Gaissau-Hintersee, a mere 25 km (15 miles) from Salzburg is like. No tourists, no queues, a grand total of 9 lifts, 10 huts and pretty amazing snow! What’s not to like?!?

So when I shared my ambitions with my fellow skiers, they started laughing and reminded me that even my forward skiing wasn’t too elegant to start with. And yes, they have a point. I learned skiing properly in the second half of the 80’s, when neon ski gear and knees up at your nose at every turn were the ultimate signs of ‘cool’. Since then things have moved on and ‘carving skies’ have entered the scene. Not that you would know that, looking at me . . .


There must be a YouTube video?!?

Of course there is! I got somewhat worried, when the guy in the video sported a massive leg brace. Not the best of signs. And then there was the advice of “scissoring your feet”, - which was repeatedly yelled at me from my well-meaning friends on the ski piste the next day.

Now while I LOVE YouTube, and use their tutorials for everything from hooking up my stereo to making paper mache masks, skiing backwards based on a 2,5 minute long video is near impossible. At least for me.


And so I practiced . . .

As with practically any other challenge I have taken on so far, it turns out that skiing backwards isn’t as hard as it sounds. Especially not if you don’t mind looking like a five-year old, snowploughing your way through the world. I find that grace and dignity very seldom come into the execution of my challenges anyway.

So the four of us started making little ‘ballet circles’ with our skies, zig-zagged back and fourth and had a generally good time. We didn’t look particularly accomplished in our technique, but that was never part of the challenge.


Grand entrance of the GoPro

Look mummy, there's a teletubby on the lift!

Look mummy, there's a teletubby on the lift!

And then my latest eBay purchase made its first appearance: my GoPro. I can’t tell you how excited I was about this little gem of a sporting camera that gave my helmet the silhouette of a teletubby.

The only downside was, that having fastened it on my helmet (rather then a chest harness), I had to keep my head as steady as possible to avoid my viewers getting seasick. And without being able to check where I was going, there was no end of falling over.

Thank you for this great challenge Sebastian, and sorry I didn’t trust myself with the hot drink on the T-bar lift . . .

Please stay tuned for more sporty fun, as I am joining the Royal Ballet Company for a practice of Giselle next week.