I’ve been skiing since I was five. It doesn’t mean that today I’m a good skier. It just means I’m a persistent one. Although for the last ten years, since my mid-thirties I’ve been retired. I broke my front ligament, while skiing of course, and had two operations and years of physical therapy. And it wasn’t the first time I had broken something skiing…so I’m a veteran, at least in breaking bones and ligaments on skiing trips. Still this year I made a comeback. We Croatians love to ski so I thought, why not give skiing another go. I have a four-year-old daughter I want to teach how to ski. Hopefully she has stronger bones and she’ll be better at it.
First obstacle – getting equipment ready
The first obstacle we encountered was the fact we had no equipment. It actually costs a lot so we rented skis and poles and boots. I got ski clothes for my kid from a friend whose child had outgrown hers and I actually bought myself ski pants but told my husband I got them from a friend too. He didn’t have to know about all the expenses.
The ski trip to Italy was my idea anyway and when I presented the idea to my husband he wasn’t thrilled, especially when we started to count everything we needed for the trip. I also bought some very expensive ski goggles for me and my daughter explaining to my husband it’s the most important article in the skiing biz and without quality you’re as good as blind. Of course, later I discovered I didn’t buy such good ones after all because, even though they were expensive, they were only good in nice weather…
Second obstacle – preparation for skiing
The first day of skiing arrived. I was nervous about my performance as a skier. Also, I was nervous about my daughter’s first-time ski experience. But then reality hit me.
I put base layers of ski clothes on my daughter, then on me. Ski socks, fleece, ski pants, scarf, jacket, headwear, gloves and helmet and goggles too.
Sweat was breaking on my forehead and under my arms, I felt so hot I thought I’d have some sort of stroke or something. But we braved on and went downstairs to the basement of the guest house to put our boots on. It was even worse. I had to take off my jacket and helmet and if I could have I would have got out of those pants as well.
I pushed my kid’s leg into one boot then the other then barely managed to buckle those little boots. When It was finally over, I still had to put my own boots on. My foot wouldn’t go all the way down. So, my husband had to help me stretch the boot but it still wouldn’t go. Then another guy, a random stranger who happened to be there, pushed my shoulders and my whole body down, I felt like I was having a kid again, everyone was yelling “Push, push!!!” I was pushing and I thought my foot would break in two. After I finally made it into the first boot, I was weak and tired and thirsty and the other one was still looking at me.
We were on the slopes, finally. We left the kid to her trainer and sat on the chair lift. I was excited to touch the snowy slope with my skis again. We’d been skiing for almost an hour (well mostly we’d been riding lifts more than skiing, but that was fine with me) when I got tired and proposed we go relax in one of those cozy wooden, mountain restaurants.
We sat on the beautiful sun-swept terrace with a view of the whole mountain range, drinking mulled wine and enjoying the warmth and fresh air and I said “Now, this is the skiing I remember.” And I thought, I could have climbed our mountain back at home in Zagreb and sat on the top on a beautiful sun-swept terrace, with a view of a whole smaller mountain range, drinking mulled wine without all that additional trouble…
Read more about Maya’s adventures and experiences in her novel Zagreb, Milan, Nice, Barcelona.