By Carrie Greer of Little Wild.
Get the bubble down.
If I (cruisey blues, sunny day snowboarder) could impart any advice to a new or fairly new skier or boarder, it’s to not be ashamed to get the bubble down.
I’m not sure when mountain fun turned into ‘ride as hard and fast as you can fun’, but the number of people in the lifts setting up their ski tracks app or comparing their fastest runs with their friends seems to have taken over the ‘where shall we stop for a vin chaud in the sun’ chats.
For me the mountain is all about the moment. Feeling that freedom from everything that you get when the piste is just right and everything flows. Stopping (safely at the side of piste, in a visible spot) to gaze in awe at the majesty of the mountains, sharing the joy of a perfect run with friends and now, with the children too. It’s not about how fast or hard I’ve gone, but how it makes me feel.
Seeing how a lot of people behave on the piste now is making me believe that the harder and faster line is winning, and the softness is fading away. Skiing and snowboarding are not easy sports to get into (unless you’re a tiny child who feels no fear) and the learning process shouldn’t be rushed. It’s ok to be nervous, it’s ok to feel like the slightest slope is an awful precipice that you could tumble off at any moment, and it’s ok to have as many lessons as you feel necessary to get down that slope safely. If you spend the whole week in the beginner area, that’s ok too. If you’re nailing the Penguin Park with the kids, then well done. That can be enough for this time.
If you’re getting the bubble down then sitting smugly in the bar afterwards, safe and sound, proud of what you’ve achieved, then in my book that’s an absolute winner. Those home runs (from the top to the bottom) aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. On the piste map they’re a nice, seemly achievable blue run, but in reality and especially at the end of the day, they can be tracked, busy and often backed up with article snow that, in shady patches, can quickly end up icey and slippy.
Between 4 and 5pm there’s often the ski schools snaking their way down too, so if you’re not confident enough to control your speed and direction around a lot of three year olds, then take the bubble down. If you’re at the top feeling a bit tired, then take the bubble down. If you’ve a little niggle in your back, or your calf, or your neck, then take the bubble down. If you’ve got a crying child with you, take the bubble down. If your friends are pushing you to go on when you really want to stop, take the bubble down. If you’ve had too much to drink at lunch, take the bubble down. If you’re late for your massage appointment, take the bubble down. If you just can’t face falling over one more time, take the bubble down.
It’s ok to take the bubble down. It’s not a failure, it doesn’t mean you can’t ski or snowboard, it means you know your limits and you’re not prepared to put yourself or others on the mountain at risk. Take the bubble down. Be the first at the bar, get the good table, listen to the band. And enjoy your holiday.
Featured image: Finesse Art