The combination of nervousness and excitement is an intoxicating concoction. It’s an alien sensation but somehow I relish it. I wonder if that is the reason I am sweating so much. And is this how much people sweat when they are descending a snowy mountain at top speed?
I hear my instructor correcting my posture and I snap out from my thoughts. She calls out to me, “Your pie needs to be angled in this position to better control yourself.” My ski instructor, a Chilean named Cami, shows me what I am doing wrong using food analogies to simplify the learning process.
Pie and French fries are terms that one would probably never associate with skiing but here I am learning the intricacies of this winter sport with food metaphors, which by the way is making me hungry. Who knew one could burn so much calories just by skiing?
I am not in the Swiss Alps or the snowy capped mountains of Hokkaido but in Malaysia, or more specifically in the industrial area of Petaling Jaya where First Traxx is located. Touted as Malaysia’s first indoor ski and snowboard centre, they use a system known as infinity slopes to teach students the fundamentals of winter sports.
One may easily brush off the idea of learning to ski or snowboard in Malaysia and honestly I had the same thought: “Why not learn it where there’s actual snow?” But after hearing out the instructors, it started to make sense. Instead of wasting money and time learning how to ski or snowboard overseas, why not train here and actually enjoy it when you are on your holiday.
I find that being able to wear a t-shirt and shorts to the session really help with the training, as my movements were not restricted by winter gear, but after half an hour, I was already sweating bucket loads and my knees were trembling. This is hard work! The posture used for skiing was very foreign to my body hence the sweat.
Noticing my discomfort, Cami explains, “You’re using muscles that you don’t normally use but don’t worry, keep practicing and your body will get used it.” I could slowly but surely move from left to right and vice versa without having to use my butt to break the fall. It’s a small accomplishment in such a short time but I know there’s more work to be done.
After taking a breather, I decide to try snowboarding. My instructor, Gavin, was a young Scottish lad who was half my age and probably half my weight also. With skiing, my feet are planted on the ground but with snowboarding I was using my heels, which in effect controls how I moved or more precisely, how I stopped. Gavin had to catch my fall on numerous occasions. Imagine this lanky kid pushing back against all my weight to make sure my face didn’t hit the ground first.
Snowboarding is a whole different ball game that involves micro movements, from the simplest act of getting up to turning left or right. Your feet are basically strapped to a piece of board.
Gavin probably saw the frustration in me and explains, “I’d say it would take you a couple more sessions to get the hang of this.” Looking back, this definitely bruised my ego especially after getting compliments from Cami about how easy it was for me to pick up skiing. But at least I left First Traxx without actual bruises!
It’s easier to pick up skiing but harder to master it as opposed to snowboarding, which is more difficult to learn but easier to master. I can attest to that.
I could definitely feel the soreness that the instructors had warned me about but it was something that I welcomed. I am excited at the prospect of being able to head down the mountain slopes with confidence but at the same time enjoying the thrill of it in a safe and responsible manner. I look forward to returning to First Traxx to complete my training.
Address: Unit UG-3A, Block D, Axis Business Park, No. 10 Jalan Bersatu 13/4, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia