There are a lot of things that make skiing a beautiful sport and the top amongst them is most definitely the locations that skiing allows you to visit. What started thousands of years ago on wooden sledges in Scandinavia for a functional purpose of transportation and hunting in winter landscapes has lived on by transitioning into being a sport hundreds of generations later. While the first skiing competition is believed to have been held way back in the 18th century, skiing is now increasingly accessible due to the development of safety systems and related infrastructure.
Skiing is a thrilling and exhilarating sport that allows you to glide down snow-covered mountains, experiencing the beauty of winter landscapes. However, mastering this sport can be a challenging endeavor. From battling frigid temperatures in places like Gulmarg to the physical demands and technical intricacies, there are several obstacles that aspiring skiers must overcome. Learning anything new can be extremely fun but it serves well to know and be prepared for what it might entail. In this article, we will delve into the challenges of learning skiing and discuss how these obstacles can be conquered.
Difficulty Level of the Courses
About the BRS: The Bikat Rating Scale rates the difficulty level of all outdoor adventures in our portfolio after taking into account their geographical and climatic conditions, terrain and skill requirements. The rating is relative and is done on a scale of 1 to 8 with 1 being the easiest and 8 being the most difficult expeditions in our portfolio at the time.
Although open for beginners, skiing ranks high on the difficulty scale because it demands physical stamina. Each day, you will be actively skiing down slopes and climbing up while carrying your skis. A strong core and good fitness are mandatory to keep up with the demands of this course.
While prior skiing experience is not mandatory (for the first two levels), it is beneficial to be physically prepared. As a benchmark, you should be able to jog 5 kilometres in under 35 minutes. This ensures that you have a certain level of cardiovascular fitness required for the course. Adding some resistance based workouts into this can ensure you complete the course comfortably and enjoyably.
The Challenges of Skiing
Like any outdoor activity, skiing comes with its own set of challenges like the unpredictability of weather and the temperature going down to -15 degrees. Maintaining balance and coordination while skiing can be another challenge for beginners. Skiing involves using muscles and movements that might be unfamiliar, leading to falls and difficulty in controlling speed. But these are all just part of learning a new skill - nothing to lose sleep over! Our course instructors are certified experts in the field and have years of experience skiing on these slopes. They will be with you every step of the way.
We are listing down some of the challenges here just so you can be mentally prepared for them and know what to expect when you come out to learn skiing this winter.
Challenge 1: Acclimatization
If you are a mountain enthusiast, you would be aware that the body takes a fair bit of time to adapt to new temperatures, altitude and terrain. While these altitudes are hard to adapt to in any case, the frigid temperatures of winters make it even more difficult to adjust to. This is especially true if you are coming from sea level. During your skiing courses you will find yourself in elevations between 3,800M to 4,300M which is quite high with no interim period to acclimatize like on treks which take you gradually up on heights. This sudden gain in height is likely to produce AMS-like symptoms. However, worry not! It is not all bleak because there are ways to lessen the chances of getting sick. Remember to drink lots of water, layer up as instructed by the leader and keep them informed of any irregularities you notice in your body so that necessary action can be taken as required.
Challenge 2: Technical Gear Handling
Skiing involves a range of specialized equipment, and mastering the technical aspects of gear handling is crucial. Understanding how to adjust bindings, put on boots, and handle the poles are key skills that need to be developed. Even knowing how to pick the right size of equipment for you may be crucial to your skiing experience. We have included lessons that cover these aspects in our courses, to make it easier for beginners to become comfortable with their equipment.
Challenge 3: Physical Strength and Endurance
Skiing is a physically demanding sport. It engages various muscle groups, particularly the legs and core, as you navigate the slopes. Beginners often find themselves experiencing muscle fatigue and soreness as they work to build the necessary strength and endurance. Incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, and core workouts into your training routine can help you prepare for the physical demands of skiing.
Challenge 4: Lugging Heavy Gear
One of the early challenges of learning skiing is dealing with the weight of the equipment which can run up to a total of 5-6 kgs. Carrying skis, poles, and boots to the slopes, especially in mountainous terrain, can be a strenuous task and doing it multiple times a day, even more so! In addition to physical strength, it requires good balance and coordination. It is only a matter of getting used to the exercise, however. These rounds tend to start seeming natural a couple of days into the training.
Challenge 5: Long Days of Practice
Skiing is not a sport for the faint of heart, and the learning curve can be steep. Since learning anything new is all about practice and repetition of movements, the course days are fully packed with activity. They usually begin by 08:30 AM and require you to be on the slopes till early evening. Roughing it out in the winter winds of Gulmarg high up on a mountain can be extremely demanding physically. It also includes risk of falls and injuries but these are just part of learning anything new. Stamina and determination are essential qualities to develop as you face these extended practice sessions. It's important to stay motivated and remember that perseverance will lead to improvement.
Learning to ski is an adventure filled with challenges, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Embracing the cold, building physical strength, mastering the technical aspects of gear, and enduring long days of practice are all part of the journey. With the right mindset and commitment, these challenges can be overcome, and soon you'll find yourself gracefully carving your way down the slopes, surrounded by the beauty of winter. Skiing is not just a sport; it's a way to connect with nature and experience the thrill of conquering the mountains, one run at a time.
Eligiility for Skiing Courses
The Introduction to Skiing Course and the Basic Skiing Course are open for everyone with no prior experience of skiing required. You, however, need to complete the Basic Course to become eligible for the Intermediate Skiing Course and likewise complete the Intermediate Course to rank up and be eligible for the Advanced Skiing Course.
Please note that the challenges mentioned above may remain the same across these courses, but may only increase in degree of difficulty as you learn more advanced skills and go to much higher slopes for practice.
We hope that this article answers all the questions you might have about the Skiing Courses offered by us. If you have any further queries, we are only a call away.