Wednesday I crashed again. The details don't matter of course: travelling too slowly, weight too far back, the ski jams and it's the famous downslope wipe-out. The snowboarding instructor asked if I was OK and I gave him the thumbs up. The only real damage was where I'd fallen on the pole handle, and that was just a rib-bruise.
They know me now at the Mendip Snowsport Centre. As I walked up the steps to reception this morning a bearded instructor clocked my presence and casually greeted me by name. Later, at the button lift, a young woman instructor smiled and asked whether I planned to crash today. I replied I was trying to restrict myself to one crash per week; she smiled knowingly.
Today felt good, to be honest. The skis were moving smoothly and I was getting in the turns even when technique wobbled. If you didn't know much about skiing and saw me coming down, you might even be impressed, although surprised at how slow and hesitant I can be. The way I figure it, technique is the thing. Get the turns right and locked in, then think about speeding up.
The slope opens at 9.30 am and that was when I arrived, all booted up, with helmet, skis and poles. I was surprised to see three skiers already at the lift - normally it's pretty quiet at that time. It turned out they were Level 1 Ski Instructors on the staff, and they were about to be appraised by an outside assessor - a gentleman dressed all in black with a clipboard. He soon had them doing novice-type stuff like snow-ploughing down from the first lift-bump, directing them left or right and making cryptic notes on his board.
I was initially under the misapprehension that he was training them and, after a while, I took the opportunity (as his charges queued for the lift) to cheekily ask him for any hints for improving my own performance. He took pity on my naivety and gently explained that he was actually conducting an exam.
I promised to get out of his hair and on my next descent slid across to the exit. It all looked stressful enough without a random punter sliding erratically into the centre of things at random intervals.
Here's a video showing a descent of mine a week ago, taken by Adrian.