Learning to Ski in the Andes

SEN Group with Chilean Flag
SEN Group with Chilean Flag

So I’ve been pretty behind on my blogging duties and I apologize for that. I hope I get a few entries in today. 🙂

On August 22, 2014 I went to El Colorado to ski in the Andes Mountains. One thing y’all should know is that this was my first time skiing and my third time seeing snow. (I’m not counting the “snow” days we had in Austin spring) Before I came to Chile, the thought of skiing had never crossed my mine. In fact I have always considered the sport to be quite dangerous. However “skiing in the Andes” seemed like an opportunity I could not pass up, so I signed up to go on a day ski trip with the Santiago Exchange Network, SEN. SEN is known for planning trips for exchange students in Chile. Ordinarily I would be against going on such a planned trip, but since I knew nothing about about skiing, my friend and I decided it was best to go with pre-planned trip.

Kiersten, my friend from Washington, and I woke up at the crack of dawn to get on the metro around 6:30 am. The night before we had attended a birthday party for a Chilean friend, and we had instantly regretted it when we had to drag ourselves onto the metro. After a thirty minute metro ride, we arrived at the ski rental place. I had assumed that ski gear would be expensive, and I was correct. Clearly skiing is an expensive sport no matter what part of the world you are in. After we had rented our gear, the SEN group loaded into two large vans and began our two hour journey up to the mountains. I had never been on such a winding drive, and there were times when I questioned the safety of the route. However we made it to El Colorado in one piece.

Once we arrived, we had the option of choosing to ski or snowboard for five hours. Kiersten chose to snowboard and I chose to ski. An optional ski lesson was included in the SEN ski package, and I waited to ski until I went though the lesson. My ski class had about fifteen students and two instructors, Christina and Sebastian. Of course the girl from Texas had the most trying time throughout the lesson. (I had a hard time just walking in the snow) Our lesson began with learning how to put on the ski and the skiing position. Then we were taught how to get up the “bunny hill” with the t-bar. The t-bar won during my first two attempts to get up the hill, and I left with a giant bruise the size of my palm. The instructor, Sebastian, decided that it would be a better idea if he went up with me to insure that I actually went up the hill. Then we were told to ski down the hill (without the poles). While everyone else skied down the hill, I did

a nice tumble down. Eventually most of the group left the lesson to ski on their own, and I was left with a one-on-one lesson with Sebastian. I have to give him an A+ for patience, because I had the most trying time with breaking and going. At one point he was skiing backwards while holding onto my hands as I skied forwards. I definitely looked like an old lady with a walker. However I eventually could ski on my own without falling, and I could get up the bunny hill without any help. The rest of the day was spent skiing and falling and more falling.

It was quite a day, and I can now I can say I learned to ski in the Andes Mountains. How many people can say that?

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