This one’s about a ski trip I went on in March, organised by ESN Padova. The trip was to a small resort called Folgaria, in Trentino Alto Adige. Just north of Verona, it takes about an hour and a half to get there from Padova by coach. I initially wrote this post as a retelling of events from start to finish, but honestly it was really boring. So here’s a condensed and slightly more interesting summary of some of my experiences and findings from the trip.
Trying to teaching skiing without being an instructor is hard. You never have to think about how to do a turn or how to slow down once you’ve been skiing for a while. It becomes something so natural, like walking or riding a bike, that you don’t have the right words to give clear directions to a beginner.
Visibility at the top of the mountain on the first day was so poor that you couldn’t see for more than about 10 meters before everything became white. We nearly ended up going off-piste by accident as we took a wrong turn off the top chairlift, but after seeing no poles for about 20 meters we decided to turn around and head back. Turns out this was one of the best choices we made all trip. The way we were going would have taken us off-piste and into a basin with no easy way out – not ideal for the first day.
The ski boots I tried on at the start of the trip seemed good at first, but towards the end of the first day they were hurting. I refused to change them for the first day because boots are often uncomfortable for a while before you get used to them, and you can just wait for it to pass. After another hour of ankle crushing on the second day though I decided it was worth changing. Unsurprisingly, the rest of that day and the days that followed were a lot more fun. Who would’ve thought.
When the sun’s been shining on the snow all day it gets really sticky, so the snow sometimes feels like it’s grabbing you and slowing you down. Any flat section in this weather becomes a chore, as any pushing does frustratingly little to move you forwards. What’s worse is not all of the snow is sticky, so you can be going as normal for 10 meters, then suddenly slow down, putting you off balance, then be going normally again, then slow… rinse and repeat until you either fall over or make it to the next lift.
A lot of the people on the trip couldn’t figure out how to get back into the hotel on the first night, so they ended up banging on the front door and ringing the bell for an hour or more. This would have been understandable if there was no other way to get in that had already been comprehensively explained to us. But as it happens that’s exactly what there was. We even got a video via WhatsApp showing us how to do it. It’s amazing that we’re all studying for bachelor’s or master’s degrees, but some people can’t figure out how to use a side entrance with a keypad, or that knocking and ringing the bell for hours is going to leave the owner in a bad mood the following morning.
The third day a small group of us skied off-piste for a while which was good fun. We came down a stretch off the side of one of the longer runs in the resort, through some moguls and a bunch of trees. The weather being as it was (sun with intermittent rain) meant that the snow was sticky and any kind of turn meant you had to shift a lot of snow before you could bring your skis around. That said, on this trip I managed to punch myself in the mouth after doing a jump in the snow park, so you guess which kind of skiing I was better at.
There was a big event organised for the final night, a neon paint party in the only club in the centre of town. I can remember walking to town but I can’t remember what happened during the time we were at the club. Nights like this where I remember little to nothing have become par for the course since I started my Erasmus year. Through a comprehensive effort to collect as much anecdotal evidence as I could (maybe three or four other reliable sources), I’ve concluded that this is a pretty standard experience.
We arrived back in Padova late on Sunday evening. Anytime coming back to town after a trip like this I often find is a bit a disappointment, because it means coming back to the reality, which means starting to study again. There’s 101 other things I would rather be doing in Italy besides studying, and now summer is approaching there’s at least 105. I found it particularly hard to get going after this trip, but I’m just about back on top of my studies and everything else at the time of writing this (end of April).
I won’t set a date for the next post as having said something in most of my previous posts about the time and content of the following post, I’ve almost never stuck to it. I will say expect the next few to be shorter, and that there will more than likely be only two more (I only need to write 8 altogether, not 10 as I thought). Besides that there’s nothing more to be added. Keep an eye on the sky and my Facebook profile for the next one.