Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Our New Hobby - Skiing

The move to Manchester has put us within a 20 minute drive of the Chill Factor-e (the "e" should be pronounced as if it were a "y"!) indoor skiing centre.  Given our move to Canada, and our hope to be within an hour's drive of some nice skiing in the Rockies, west of Calgary, we thought we should use this handy coincidence to get everyone up to the same standard of skiing. Chill Factor-e helped us decide this by having some very good offers on in September, like half-price lesson courses.
My skiing is OK, after three or four holidays between the ages of 13 and 25, and I just needed a refresher lesson (Chill Factor-e called it a "What Level Am I?" lesson) to find out that I was around their level 9, and considered "Advanced".
Olga has done a lot of cross country skiing in Russia, but no downhill skiing, and of course neither has Lara. So they had their own "taster" lessons, and from there Olga had a beginners lesson, then a whole day of beginners lessons, which took her from Level 1 to Level 3. Over this last weekend, she had two half-day "Improver" lessons, which took her through Levels 4, 5 and 6. She is already booked in for the "Development" lessons for Levels 7, 8 and 9, starting at the end of September.
I felt it would be helpful for me to have some lessons, so I came along with Olga last weekend and did the 2 half-day Development lessons while she was on her Improvers course.
We're really enjoying it, we're addicted! We went on our own last night, after the kids had gone to bed, and I wish I had my camera handy at the end, as Olga was the last one off the piste, snowploughing elegantly and in perfect control with the whole slope to herself.
Lara really enjoyed her taster lesson, so we've booked her into their "Kids Ski Academy", which gives her one 50 minute lesson a week. We book them three weeks at a time, and she starts her own Level 1 course at the start of October. The postman should be bringing her new skisuit tomorrow!
Here she is just before her taster lesson, and a short video of her in action (you will need to maximise the video and replay it a couple of times to enjoy it properly):


Here are some photos from last Sunday, when Olga was on her Improvers course and I was on the Development course.
Olga dispenses good advice to her fellow learners
Olga knows she needs two poles! This was taken before she set off down the hill on a one-pole exercise.
Chris: All the gear and almost no idea.
We'll be going there at least twice a week we hope for the rest of this month, so Olga can get the most benefit from her Development course, after which we should be at similar abilities and the skiing just gets even more fun. Then comes the joy of watching Lara learn too!

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