Lesson #3 (1-28-15):
Instructor: Stewart, easy going 40-something Stewart
The group of students is slightly bigger this time and the instructors attempt to put us in groups according to confidence and growing skill level. John, Rachel, and I attempt to hold back to no avail.
"Everyone who's ridden the lift and gone down 'Marshmallow', let's go!"
The three of us look dumbfounded at each other. Do we tell them we've only been once? And that it took us half of our lesson?? Everyone else looks so confident. We're not ready for this! And off we go...
I end up on a chair with instructor Stewart and a couple who are also on their 3rd lesson. I was separated from my buddies and hope we reconnect at the top. I ask the pair next to me how they're enjoying their lessons and their reply goes a little something like this:
"Oh we're loving it! We spent all day on the slopes yesterday. We got a good few runs in and even tackled Rooster Tail, it was great!" My face remained calm and my brain went into panic mode thinking "Holy crap, I can't be put in the same group as them! Someone get me out of here pronto! I am seriously going to face death today! I've been down this green run... once." And as we all departed the chair and met the large group at the top I was relieved to learn that Stewart had made a similar assessment. Rachel, who stood aside with John politely said to him "Umm, I don't think we're at the same level as the rest of the others... we've been down this run only once..." So Stewart waved the rest of the group on to join the other instructor and took on the task of pulling us over our personal hurdles.
Rachel fell for the first time and it shook her confidence for the rest of the lesson. John and I continued to tumble here and there at random times but not as regularly as the week before. And I was finding it easier to get back up! We made it down our "easy" run three times. I was beginning to see how skiing might be considered fun and why people actually enjoy doing it. I call this my "breakthrough" lesson. My thoughts were less "this is stupid, I'm never doing this again after I'm done" and more "I think I'm starting to get the hang of this, I could really have a good time with it!"
I wanted to hug Stewart when we were done. His patience, encouragement and teaching were fantastic. He pushed us, but not too hard. It was exactly the boost of self esteem I needed to get me through the final 2 lessons. It was Rachel's turn to cry, as the blow to her confidence came at an inopportune time when her proverbial plate was already full (maybe she was hormonal this time...) So when she broke down in the van on the ride home I knew enough not to placate her with "it's OK"s and just listened as a friend instead.