Gliding over snow under a vast open sky with the landscape painted angelic white can be quite uplifting and liberating. For some, it may also represent conquering inherent fears linked to fatal injuries or subsequent death. Even though the winter sport of skiing has a history that dates back at least 5 millennia, the sport is practiced by a very small percentage of people inhabiting the earth.
While most think that the best skiers are those who started learning the sport young when one is fearless and thinks of the human body as invincible or made with superhuman prowess, coaching and passion go a long way in molding fearful people into professional skiers. It’s more a tuning of the mind than the performance of the body alone.
Many will attest to the insurmountable joy in making reservations at a popular ski resort during the winter holidays until anxiety overtakes the jubilation, and you want to cancel even if you end up losing a whole chunk of money.
If the chairlift at the resort gives you a vertigo and your feet are cold even before stepping in the snow, consider the following options:
- Get professional coaching and lessons before you decide to slide off that slippery slope. Most instructors are knowledgeable, helpful, understanding and friendly.
- Don’t be shy about making a fool of yourself by falling in front of your coach, friends or family. Taking more time to learn is in fact a boon that helps you master the art of slopes to a T.
- Remember: powder is your friend, ice is not. If you are not comfortable, wait for better conditions. Never be in a hurry to make the most of your winter vacation. Find other stuff to do until the slopes are safe.
- Know your speed limits by remembering that helmets help in preventing head injuries but are not much use in high speeds. Always try to be in control.
- Make sure your helmet fits properly, meets industry standards, and is designed specifically for skiing.
- Always ensure you are using properly adjusted equipment.
- Use and respect the mountain code of conduct.
- A well-fitting system of goggles and helmet will provide protection to the face from cold wind and snow.
- Choose a terrain that matches your ability and respect your limits.
While this list is in no way conclusive, and no measure of precaution can preclude serious injury while skiing, if your mind is overwhelmed by fear, don’t force yourself to take the plunge down that slope only due to peer pressure or bragging rights. Make your own decisions and have fun!
About the author:
Vinita Kinra has been featured among 150 most remarkable Canadians by Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.