May 04, 2013

Seeing Austria - a new experience and a challenge

On Skis and Snowboard

In January I was in Austria. I went to Sölden with some friends, to enjoy the winter and do some sport (and yes, I do like winter, when I can travel TO the snow and not live in the middle of it...).

I am not a very good skier, but I do enjoy the freedom on the mountain, the smell of the snow and the fresh, crisp air, and I enjoy the views tremendously. I have fun getting down the slopes, even though my legs may hurt afterwards. It may not be pretty all the time - but I do get down, if sometimes a bit too slow, especially the first run of the day - I simply didn't start early enough and didn't ski often enough. - ice in Sölden
Icy Sölden, as spotted on a hike
The last few years I have been down in the French alps with UCPA. And every year I say to myself that I want to do more than one trip the coming season - and in the end I never do. There is just never enough time. 

This time I was given the opportunity to travel out with a group of friends to Austria, and I planned for that to be my first trip, followed up with a trip with UCPA, but in the end Sölden was my only ski trip this season, but that is a different story. And in the end I only skied one day, the rest of the time I tried something very different...

A three day trip with friends was an excellent opportunity to try something new, something I had been curious about for a long time - Snowboard. Yes, I tried snowboard. Before Austria I had never ever stood on a snowboard, I had actually not even touched one - but I really wanted to try. I REALLY REALLY wanted to try, and as I didn't have the guts to sign up for a whole week of snowboarding, I could not do it with UCPA - as great as they are, with them you have to decide for the sport before you go, so they can organise what needs to be organised. Without having tried, I wasn't brave enough to plan for snowboard for a whole week.

Snowboarding is not easy, that I learned immediately:  You can't even put the board on the ground before it starts moving, and if it isn't completely flat the thing will start moving away from you - so lesson two was: Always always place the board upside-down if you put it on the ground.

(Lesson one was how to put the snowboard shoes on.  But that lesson I got in the shop already.)
Before the course. Before being covered in snow...
I can say is it took a while until I had found my balance on the board.

And lets not even TALK about getting in and out of the lift. That's one challenge, with the feet in a strange angle.

Nor should we talk about all the snow I had inside my clothes.
Or how tired I was afterwards.

We can however talk about how big my smile was and how my eyes were shining! It was one of the best challenges, from a winter sports perspective, I have done. SCARY, yes, and I was really nervous before, but in the end very much worth it.   

I had fun. And I definitely want to try again. When? I don't know. I would love to go next season but don't know if that is doable. There isn't much of skiing in Taiwan, which is where I plan to move,  although rumours has it that there is one ski-resort - Hehuan Shah - that is sometimes open; between January and March there is supposed to be enough snow to ski there. I may even bring my ski-boots and actually give it a try. If nothing else I can always take the jump over to Japan.

A friend I got to know through said UCPA, spent a few months in Japan, in Hakuba, something you can read more about on the blog he and his friends wrote during the time there (in Swedish), and they really enjoyed it. While he and his friends are on a WHOLE different level than I am - I am embarrassed to even talk about skiing in the same sentence as I mention their names - I know that many beginners go to Hakuba too. So maybe there IS a place for me there... If time and budget allows.

Because I never even heard about someone who actually saw snow in Taiwan... Did you?

No comments :