Learning how to ski in Colorado

Trish and Dougie
Trish and Dougie
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Blogger Trish Burgess

‘Why do people come skiing, Trish?” asked the instructor, Mike, as I grasped the poles tightly and hesitated at the top of the run.

“To have fun?” I suggested, not entirely unaware of the irony of the remark.

“Exactly! Just relax and remember to breathe.”

I never thought I would be learning to ski at my age. In my twenties, fresh out of university, I was invited to try the sport with my then boyfriend and his chums. Unfortunately I was given the heave-ho before the trip and suffered the ignominy of having bought a bright pink ski suit from C&A but no place to wear it.

Dougie hasn’t fared any better: he tried his hand at the sport in the Scottish Highlands many moons ago but twisted his knee doing some warm up exercises beforehand. Being Scottish and having already paid for the lift pass, he carried on regardless before admitting defeat and taking himself off to casualty for treatment.

With this dubious background, accepting an offer to review two ski resorts in Colorado was not done lightly. I really don’t like the cold: my fingers and toes turn numb at the slightest north-eastern blast of air. But, conscious of the phrase ‘There isn’t such a thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’ we sought a lot of advice from skiing friends and kept the mantra ‘layers, layers, layers’ firmly in our minds as we trawled the shops for suitable garb.

The outdoor clothing stores in Springfields served us well, as did TK Maxx in Boston and Go Outdoors in Peterborough. All manner of thermal undergarments, neck warmers and socks were purchased. We did splurge a bit on our outerwear, falling for some trendy gear at the Tallington Lakes Pro Shop. I was lured by pink yet again and Dougie plumped for a rather bright blue and yellow outfit. He thought he was channelling a dashing Ingemar Stenmark: I thought he resembled an upside-down minion. We discovered too late that the bold colour combination matched that of the instructors at our first resort, Winter Park. Awkward.

If I had worried that we would be the oldest skiers in town, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It seems this sport is ageless: tiny tots through to sprightly octogenarians were swishing effortlessly on the picturesque powder snow.

Three days and three instructors later (JT, Mike and Jerry, with over 90 years teaching experience between them) Dougie and I were feeling confident with simple turns on easy gradients. When we transferred to our second resort, Steamboat Springs, a very patient Adam suggested more tips to improve our skills.

On the final afternoon, with the sun beating down onto the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, I started to feel my shoulders relax, my posture became less rigid and, as if by magic, things began to flow. I was Queen Elsa from Frozen, albeit in a crash helmet and insulated jacket, crossing the snowy trails, emboldened by a new confidence and purpose:

‘Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore...Here I stand and here I’ll stay...The cold never bothered me anyway.”

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com

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