Andorra Day 2 – Conquering Fear

Today started off with a lot of fear. I was feeling nervous from the moment I woke up. I had not slept well as the bed in the room was very hard and I was waking up a lot in the night so that did not help.

I tried to alleviate my morning tiredness with 3 cups of cappuccino but that was probably not a very good idea as I needed to pee a lot! I arrived for breakfast the moment the restaurant opened but took my time.

When I went back to the room to change into my snow gear that’s when the nerves really hit me. It’s way too hot in this hotel and the aircon is useless so I had to open a window as that was just making things worse.

My heart was racing the entire time I was getting ready, getting my boots on in the locker room and outside waiting for the shuttle bus. Actually it got a little easier then as I got chatting with some other people.

The bus took us to the Gondola which we rode up to the ski school area. It was a little unnerving at first but I got over that very quickly when I saw the views! I was also chatting to the others inside who were almost all English.

Once off the Gondola there was a short escalator down to the ski school area. I grabbed my board and just spent some time looking around. The scenery was spectacular.

When I got to the ski school to check in I realised that everybody was handing in their voucher and I had left mine back at the hotel! Luckily it was fine and the instructors just said I could present it the next day.

The instructors were great and my mind started to ease a little. We spent a little time chatting so the instructor could get to know our backgrounds and what experience we had. There were 7 of us in our group and all were from the UK! The instructor was English too so that was a nice bonus.

Everybody in the group already had some experience on the snow, whether it was skiing, or boarding from some time ago, so there was nobody who was a complete beginner even though it was the beginner group.

It started off nice and slow which is exactly what I needed to calm my nerves. In the first hour we learned some basic mountain safety, how to strap into the board, how to skate (one foot strapped in) and we did some basic sliding.

We were introduced to both edges of the board and started off just sliding down straight and then added in some direction. By this point I realised that it was all coming back. I was able to do it all with ease and I was feeling much better!

By the end of the lesson we’d started to do turns and what amazed me was that I was able to do the heel-to-toe turn that had always been tough for me right away! The instructor suggested that if we were going to continue in the afternoon, to practice linking those turns together.

I spent a long time over lunch to have a good rest and decided to have a quick go on my own. Before I got here I’d actually planned on going back to the hotel after the lesson on day 1 and not to attempt any solo boarding. But as I had done much better than I expected and the snow conditions were so perfect, I decided to do just a single run.

It went perfectly! I was able to link my turns all the way down, and stop and re-route to avoid a fallen skiier and as I approached the chair lift I was able to come to a stop and unstrap one foot without sitting down. A small thing but you look less of a n00b if you can do that lol!

Then I had to tackle the chairlift…. Before today I had never been on one before and that was another thing that scared the shit out of me! At the end of the lesson we went on it and had some hints by the instructor. It was uneventful and actually a lot of fun!

However when I tried it on my own it did not go so well. I did not get into position in time and it hit me and knocked me over heh. Luckily there was an attendant there who quickly pulled me out the way and set me up for the next chair.

Apart from that minor incident I was chuffed! As I rode the lift back up I was in awe of the stunning scenery and I actually felt a bit emotional as I was just so happy that I’d plucked up the courage to try snowboarding again and had managed to conquer my fear.

Of course, it was just the first day and there are still 4 to go. Anything could happen but I think the likelihood of an injury is much lower if you are not prone to falling all the time. I didn’t have any ‘wipe-outs’ at all, and only tumbled a couple of times when I had not stood up properly. Not even a bruise!

I was knackered though! Being nervous is actually very tiring because it makes my heart race so I find it difficult to breathe. This makes something as simple as just walking around a reasonably flat piste feel like climbing a mountain. This was another reason I didn’t want to push it on the first day!

I remember doing that when I went to Scotland and I kept going even though I was too tired and ended up falling badly on some ice and that bruising hurt for my entire trip. I will not make that mistake again. I’d rather do less and come away injury free and happy than try to push too much and end up hurting myself again.

After getting back to the hotel I had a shower and then tried to nap for an hour as I was exhausted but my mind was just racing from the day and I didn’t get to sleep. I had a nice rest though. After that I just chilled for a bit until dinner. I will need an early night tonight 🙂

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