Another sunny day in Soldeu, but I woke just before my alarm this time, having put the shutters down the night before. We had breakfast and headed up the mountain so Lesley and I could start our lessons. Unfortunately we cut it too find and by the time we got up there all the morning sessions had gone.
When we booked in we were asked what our skill level was. Despite saying we could do snow ploughs, turns and stops, we were put in the beginners group which started at 11.30am. With just an hour to kill we did a couple of short runs to warm up; in practice terms. The bright sun and ski-wear meant we were more than a little warm temperature-wise.
Just before 11.30am Lesley and I headed back to ski school, while Carl, Chris and James went off to explore. We were in the beginners group for five minutes before we were told we were wasting our time and were sent over to a more advanced group.
Everybody in this group was asked to ski a short distance down the slope, making a few terns as we went. Afterwards they split us into smaller group of 10, based on skill. Lesley was clearly better than me already so was in the next group up from mine. I was put in a group with eight women (lucky me!) with Instructor Lesley (and I’ll refer to her as “Instructor Lesley” hence-forth, to avoid confusion).
The remainder of the session was spent doing a few short runs, keeping things simple and ensuring the whole group were reasonably comfortable. We finished at 1pm and would meet again for a second session at 3pm.
I met up with Carl, Chris and James, with Lesley joining us a littler later. We ate lunch on the slope from the fast-food place there (which served food I wish I hadn’t eaten) and then went out to ski for a short while. I quickly regretted this decision.
They decided on two long runs – one down to nearby El Tarter and then the ski-lift up to the top and the second long run back to where we would meet our instructors for lessons. I raised my concern at the length and the time we had left, but they insisted it wouldn’t be a problem.
It wasn’t long until I disagreed; apart from the length of the run it was more difficult than anything I’d done to-date. Add to that a rush to get down and the fact it was a crowded slope too, I was soon getting frustrated, tired and sore – as when I’m not confident I tend to tense up which makes everything a lot harder. I elect the same run without a time limit may have been less troublesome. On the plus side I only fell once, as did James; twice if you count him wiping-out a child on a ski lesson. This run wasn’t the end of it though?
There was a queue for the ski lift, so this added an unneeded delay. The run at the top started easy-enough, but quickly got more difficult and more crowded. It was covered in piled clumps of snow which made things unpredictable. After that stretch it just seemed like it went on forever. I voiced my frustrations, with force, and decided to walk the rest of the way down to familiar territory.
I went straight to my lesson, with the session focussed on gradually working towards parallel turns – though I’m not there yet. We finished at 4.30pm and were told we’d be doing the slope to El Tarter in our Tuesday lesson.
Afer lessons we all met up again and grabbed some pizzas and supplies from the supermarket. Carl was feeling ill by this time and didn’t eat his tea. We all watched one of the great-many terrible films on DVD (it’s German title is “Die Stunde Des Jagers” or “The Hunted” – once more, not one I’d recommend, but not worse than Skyline. After that we all had an early night.