03 March 2013

Cross-Country Skiiing in Harrachov, CZ ::part two::

I wanted to finish my first skiing experience {See my first post here}as I'm heading out to (hopefully) ski with my Italian employers in Cortina d'Ampezzo for the next two weeks.

Around this time last year I was attempting to slide my feet back and forth as I tried to push my body forward on these two slim sticks which were attached to my arms and legs. Nothing felt more foreign. Snow shoeing, no problem. But cross-country skiing! And with strong semi-pro Czech men! I spent half of the day wondering what I had gotten myself into. We left our little pension early, rented our gear, and headed out to no man's land. Literally, I had no idea where we were. They dropped us somewhere along the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. (So, I guess you could say I've been to Poland, but I don't count it because I only saw it's vast ski-culture)

Amy, my American confidant who also was skiing for the first time actually began strong. I, however, spent two out of the four hours at the end of the group. Thankfully, Dimitri, stayed behind with me, coaching me along. I'm so thankful for his encouragement. He really is a great memory!

After a break at a log cabin-turned restaurant, we finished the loop and headed back to our car. Somewhere. It was a wonderful break in a rustic place with people speaking Czech, Polish, and German. Eating hot food-goulash, soup, sausages, beer. Once we regained our energy, we took a group photo and slid downhill. I felt much better after our pit-stop. I finally was getting somewhere on my skis and enjoyed the time sliding down, then across flat plains of snow, then down again laughing all the way. I think Dimitri was worried at some points because I was going so fast. But I've always had good balance. I kept my knees bent, arms in, and head down so I wouldn't hit any branches. With my poles I kept beckoning the snow around me to help me go faster.

It was a lovely winter day in the mountains.

In the late afternoon we returned our gear, got into our cars and made our way back to Prague. Exhausted and spent, but full of happy memories and sore muscles.

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