It was a while that I (we) posted something. Even though in the last months happened so much – holidays, Christmas, Sylvester party – I decided to keep those nice memories for myself in my brain blog. Not everything has to be documented and shared. Sometimes it’s enough to live the moment and enjoy the presence of others. Well, since I am writing about it and since some people who are responsible for many beautiful memories might be reading this – thank you for a great time together and for a memorable beginning of 2015!
This winter I decided to try something new and enrolled to some cross-country skiing courses/events organized by Naturfreunde. The first time I stood on cross country skis was in the beginning of January in Schöneben. It was a great day with a group of cool people and sufficient satisfaction with myself that I even risked and registered for a short cross-country skiing holiday in Ramsau. So here I am – lying in my bed in a hotel room and writing this. Hey hey – I am not lazy! You might think I should be skiing?! Its midnight for God’s sake – we will have to wait a bit and see what the morning brings :)
The morning brought snow! Sitting on the table, eating breakfast and looking at fat snowflakes falling down was a great start of the day. By the time we were ready to go out, snowing almost stopped and one couldn’t have wished for better skiing conditions. Even cross-country skiing Olympic champion Christian Hoffmann, who visited us in the evening, told that we were really lucky with the snow. All the morning we were doing different balance, gliding and other exercises which our trainer Heli showed us and I was really happy with my progress. I knew that I am not the best at the balance – which as it is seems is the most important thing in this sport – so there was plenty of space for improvement.
The time for lunch came and I really didn’t want to interrupt my successful morning. You know when you catch the flow there is a feeling that if you stop now, you will not be able to reach it again. And I knew from my snowboarding experience that there are times when it seems that the brain simply blocks everything you learned in the morning and you stand there like a cow on ice and don’t know what to do.
That’s what happened…. I clicked in my bindings and it felt like my balance was gone, like I would’ve got some other skis or as if somebody would’ve damaged them. After half an hour I was done – frustrated with this incomprehensible decrease in my performance and lack of energy. All that I wanted for a moment was to stop, have a break from ongoing exercises and just enjoy the sport itself. So as soon as I had the opportunity I separated from the group and climbed some hill to take a picture with shaky hands (I know skiing has to do little with hands, so don’t ask me why the hell my hands were shaking).
I looked around at all those people skiing and it hit me – cross country skiing appeared to me as a lonely sport. There were not many possibilities to skate side by side and enjoy the company of another. Especially the classic discipline is like going on a tram track (trolleybus analogy may be more familiar for some of you). Have you ever seen a tram overtaking another one? – I haven’t :) There is also other interesting thing about this sport – there is not really a way to make a break in the middle of a track. In alpine skiing its normal, you just stop at some place on the side of the track or if you are a snowboarder just stop anywhere and take your time, but in cross-country skiing it would look odd – you, alone, standing in the middle of the tracks or on the plain field and not doing anything. I haven’t seen anybody chilling like that! That’s why I guess in German the sport is called “Langlaufen” – “long running” – no breaks included :)
I came home a bit thoughtful, not having anybody to share my thoughts with, to discuss how beautiful weather was or how nice it was to see a father skating and pulling his two sons on the snow bobs. One of the kids was really into driving his “snowmobile” that it looked like he was in control of which direction his father will take :) Back in the hotel I enjoyed sauna, drank my favorite wine and shared my good emotions in the way it fitted the best – wrote some postcards.
Another day started and we were back on track, snow was perfect, and even though it was snowing and windy I enjoyed it. I told the instructor that I want some time for myself and went skiing alone for an hour. It’s that uncomfortable pressure of the group (self-inflicted) and the feeling of being watched all the time that bothered me the most. Later I learned that other people in our group also felt like that and they enjoyed the possibility to ski on their own speed without a feeling that they have to catch up with somebody.
We went for a lunch and even though I hoped that I would do better – the history repeated itself. Moreover our guide chose a track with a lot of uphill, so I was destined for a fiasco.. Apart from the fact that I was angry of my spontaneous inability, it felt terrible to be the weakest in the group and the one for whom everybody has to wait! So at some point I got over my pride and said that I don’t want go further like that, because it’s no fun for me and I turned around. At home sauna made things a bit better and finally great company by the dinner table brought my inner balance back.
We were all waiting for the Saturday since it was the only day when the sunshine was guaranteed by the forecast and by our trainer. The morning came and we all knew that he was facing his wife’s fury for his lies – the sun was pleasing skiers on the slopes in Schladming, but not us. The day was quite cold and we beginners learned what it feels like when the skis simply don’t slide. However we followed our plan and moved towards a little 400 years old hut in Halseralm where the world’s best Kaiserschmarrn is made. You think I am lying? Your grandma makes the best Kaiserschmarrn? Well, that’s what Google says and we all know that Google does not lie :) Check yourself by typing “Ramsau Kaiserschmarrn”!
The journey towards this sweet reward was not easy, but the nature was so fascinating that it kept us positive. The part of our group which decided to reach the destination by snowshoes had the priviledge to enjoy the sun, which at that moment came out and lit the tracks. I calmed down our trainer and told that his wife, who went with snowshoes, will not be angry on him anymore.
In a couple of hours we reached the hut, made some nice pictures and ordered the famous dish. This shredded pancake, named by the Austrian Kaiser (=emperor, in german) is no speciality of the region – the special thing about it is its preparation and serving. It is cooked on an old fire stove and served with huge flames coming from the frying pan, caused by burning alcohol. The food didn’t burn and it was as tasty as promised!
After lunch we moved back to our hotel. I already expected to have the usual afternoon-difficulties, but this day was exceptional – even after lunch I could ski! We glided on perfect sunny slopes – the day was crowned with success and my brain blog got another entry – “cross-country skiing in Ramsau – a memorable weekend!”.