Yes, today I am going to talk about ski. If you think it’s a very odd topic for me to post after ages of silence then let me give you some background. It so happened that I had to travel to Pori, a nice little town in Finland on an office assignment. While reading / learning about Finland one thing that caught my eye was that Skiing was a very popular sport in winter (which is the season now). So, it was a distant wish that if I could….
Likewise, when I reached here and got acclimatized to the climate (hit -24 C on the day I landed). One thing that struck me was the warmth of people here. I mean almost immediately I felt at home. At a Kahvi (coffee) break discussion I was informed that colleagues in office are organizing a Ski class and we were invited too. Was I excited? You bet …. I mean I am not Aladdin with little genie. Yet ….
I have already said how nice people here are. They arranged ski shoes and skiing gear for me and my friend. Let me skip the story about shoe sizes debacle. So, we reached the skiing venue. Quickly we were huddled into a cabin where the instructors started giving demo on how how to maintain and wax the skis for better performance. Though the instructions were in Finnish I could understand the context (a skill to figure out things without knowing the language is something I have acquired in last five years by living away from home state). After the session and brief summary in English by our colleagues, it was time for putting on or rather fitting the skis onto the shoes, which was done with a little help from the friendly instructors. With skis on and ski sticks in hand what next? Well you ski like the rest. But hey wait wasn’t this suppose to be a class? Well yes it was a class but you need to move to the training area first then you would be taught. Again my helpful colleagues from Finland came to the rescue with basic instruction about how to move and ski. I was able to slide and ski. And one of my Finnish friends was guiding me and asking other expert skiers coming from the opposite to give way as if some champion was on move. Along with that came the applause with exclamations like ‘very good’, ‘you don’t look like you are skiing for first time’, ‘excellent’. All these boosted my confidence to the seventh heaven. And then slush… swish… bang…before I knew anything I was on ground deeply entrenched in snow. My Finnish friend, all the while kept encouraging ‘come on get up’, “it’s fine, you came so far… that’s great” etc. etc, which enabled me to be back on my legs. Somehow, I reached the area where all other colleagues and instructors were waiting for us. Now the instructors said throw away your ski sticks and try to ski without them. They gave us the demo and asked us to try it. So, one by one everybody tried. When my turn came I was sort of looking away. It was like ‘you got to be kidding, balance without the sticks?’ but again words of encouragement from my friends did the trick. I was able to balance without the sticks. Then, we moved to the next lesson on how to do it right with sticks. The new confident me started cruising on snow and then slush… swish… bang… another slip and fall. The instructors were showing everything right from how to hold the sticks and how to push and how gain speed etc. Clearly it was class for people who already knew how to ski and want to improve their techniques but since they had begun right from the beginner level it was fine for me. The next 2 hours of the evening I tried few techniques and fell once more but had great fun slipping, sliding and swaying cautiously on snow. We could not get any pictures because it was dark (you know winter nights are quite dark in Finland).
So, it was an awesome experience and I want to thank all my friends in Finland, who made it possible. It was truly a rare opportunity. Kiitos! :)