Two weekends ago, my friend Bruce persuaded me to sign up to be a student for some ski instructors he was training. I agreed. It was a gray afternoon with temperatures hovering around -3 degrees C. Steady light snow was falling. The snow was very good for skate skiing.
We began with some warm-up stretches then proceeded to do some basic skate drills on the flats (no poles). After about 30 minutes we shifted to practicing our hill techniques, both uphill and downhill drills. Skating uphill is demanding. Skating uphill without poles is downright exhausting!
After about an hour or so I was beginning to feel the tiredness descending. I wanted to quit before the end of the lesson but felt guilty about leaving my instructor in the lurch. Besides, I am not usually a quitter. I decided to grit my teeth and hang on for another 20 minutes. I felt like the little engine who could… I think I can, I think I can?? I think!
Toward the end of the 20 minutes on my penultimate run down the Stadium I had an aha moment: weight transfer! I could feel my foot in my boot on the ski as I weight- shifted from left foot to right! There was more control and a better glide factor. I turned and head back toward the lodge trying to replicate the action. It was one of my smoothest glide session on skate skis. It was not until the next day that I realized that one of my best moments of skiing insight came at the end of a session that I almost gave up on.
Lesson learned: Don’t be too hasty to quit… You might miss the moment!
PS: I went skiing this afternoon. I could notice the improvement in both my glide on the flats and my uphill technique.
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