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Return to Skiing, Day Six. Easter Sunday at the Lecht. Sun, Hard-Packed Snow and One Big Yard Sale.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The return to skiing saga continues with another enjoyable day at The Lecht. My skiing is definitely improving and I'm finding more speed but the day was definitely not without challenges, physical and mental.
Eastern Sunday was a beautiful day. Bright and clear and felt 'warm' in the sunshine. The view from the top on the Snowy Owl Chairlift was stupendous with the snow-covered Cairngorms shining in all directions. The pistes all had a good cover but was very hard packed. After a warm up session on Kestrel I headed up to the Eagle runs. For some reason I found it hard to 'warm up' and feel comfortable. Perhaps I took myself up Blue runs too quickly, or I was setting too higher expectations after the relative success of last weekend.
I found the hard-pack quite challenging. On the traverse, I felt the skis 'skidding' sideways down the slope. After a few runs I got better and tried digging the edges in harder, which helped but resulted in higher speeds. I couldn't really maintain that anyway. That was the main thing I found in these conditions, I was struggling to contain the speed at times. The last bit of one of furthermost Eagle runs is 'very' (to a relative beginner) steep and quite narrow. (Although it still marked as a Blue.) I didn't even attempt it the previous week but decided to go for it today. After carefully edging to the top of the drop-off, I committed. My thought as I went into the drop was "Oops, this was a MIISTAAKE!" but I made a couple of hard turns, got my weight forward and let the skis run. Very exciting! F*** it was fast though!
I spilt the skiing between that Eagle and the slightly easier other Eagle run (When you turn right off the poma, rather than left.) That steep bit that I had found hard the previous week wasn't so bad this time round.
I took a minor tumble on one run and after a couple of careful runs tried again. I made an admonishment to myself to make it controlled and sensible, but let the speed increase about half way down. I think what happened was that the skis started skidding sideways then I think I let the nose of the uphill ski go away from the downhill ski, with the result that I ended pointing up the hill and skiing backwards at about 25 mph. Briefly. Landed on my shoulders, feet over my head, stopped with one ski under me and the other about 50 metres up the slope. Probably looked very funny. Took me a while to sort myself out (and get my breath back.) Thought something had let go in my left knee for a moment but seems to be just a minor strain as no problems today (Can feel it if I squat right down then up again.) Fortunately, I had the piste to myself at that point, so after getting the other ski off and getting to my feet, walking back to the escaped ski, I got everything to the side and got myself together. Got down the hill (including the steep bit!.) I took a few minutes to get my head together before heading back up again. I did a couple more careful runs to get back in the groove and another go on the full run, and finally, with honour and confidence (mainly) restored, and legs fading, it was time to head back to the centre and home.
I hadn't realised how knackered my legs were until I took the skis off to return to the hire shop and I could barely walk!
Another great day. Ended it tired, achey and with a slightly sun-burnt face. I know I'm coming on well but becoming aware of the limits of my current skills. Not sure if I'll get another chance to go skiing this season but think I'm getting to the point I need some tuition to get me to the next level and keep me safe on the more advanced and faster runs.
I'm leaving Scotland in June so next time skiing (apart from maybe a few practices at dry slopes) will probably be at a European resort, hopefully next season. Can't wait!
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