I know this sport probably when I played a mini game in the old version of Windows called Ski Free. At that time I was very exciting about computer and spent my time, if possible, in my dad’s office to play it. It was quite easy to play, just move your hero left and right to avoid trees and dinosaur (or yetti?) who chased you.
Now, several years later I have a chance to try the real ski, here, in Japan. It was last weekend when my lab together with lab in IIS and Saitama University organizing ski trip to a ski resort in Daikurayama, Minami Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture. Previously my dormitory had organized this kind of trip with cheaper price, however the time wasn’t convenience for me, I still had a class. This lab trip costs us ￥24,000 for 2 days and 1 night staying in nice hotel with delicious food. It was good opportunity for me as a beginner because all things already organized, including ski equipment rent, cable car ticket and ski practice. Later maybe I will go ski by myself because I already know what to do in ski resort.
We left from Komaba IIS at 22.30 on Saturday night to Saitama University to pick up other students, then the bus headed north to our destination. That night trip made us couldn’t see the scenery along the road, however we can enjoy the scenery later in our way back to Tokyo. After six hours journey, we reached the resort in the morning. I think we could reached the place earlier if the bus driver drove the bus without stopping, because I realized that he stopped for a long time at one rest area in Tohoku Expressway. Whether he slept or not, we reached at the exact time as in the schedule: 5.00 a.m.!
We took a rest in a pub area of the hotel because our check-in time will be in the evening. During that waiting period, I offered Fajr prayer in the changing room.
Then, after breakfast we started picking our rented equipment and go outside. It was great to feel thick snow layer! Actually I had experienced a snowfall in Tokyo before, but it was only one day and not as thick as in the northern territory.
|Wearing our rented equipments|
|Before ski lesson|
Most of us are international student and haven’t had ski experience before, so we have to take ski lesson first. We began our ski practice with professional trainer in the resort. We were divided into three classes, two classes for beginner and one class for intermediate. We were taught skiing from the basic, how to warm up, how to step, how to brake, until we practice directly on the slope. Our group’s trainer is different from the other, he used direct method to teach us. When the other group still practicing on the flat surface, he took us to the hill and start let us sliding down. I bet he forgot that he hasn’t taught us how to navigate (turn left and right). And as you can imagine, we took almost one hour to get down. Some girls in our group got stuck at the top, they were afraid and moreover we were caught by a snowstorm. Terrible. For me, luckily, I can manage myself and start improving my skill by feeling. Fortunately I did ice skating before and I think ski is easier than that. So I started sliding down without supervision from the trainer. It was easy…at the beginning! Then when I faced steeper slope, I started to make “V” form with my ski board, which gave resisting force (brake effect) to my movement. However, because the velocity was so high, my legs vibrated then…crash!…my ski board pulled out from my foot and I fell headlong.
|With trainer in the middle of snowstorm|
That’s the first session. I was start enjoying this sport. I couldn’t wait for the second session after lunch!
In that resort’s canteen, I could only eat soba and udon for my lunch as they are halal food. No other choices, except mochi or takoyaki (they are snack!).
Then second session of the first day began. I quite disappointed because the trail was not challenging. Learned from the first session, the trainer just trained us mostly in the foothills area. Only once he brought us to the beginner trail on the hill. Anyway, my skiing skill refined by time. I didn’t say I became skillful but it just getting better than before.
|One of the trail|
At night we have great seafood dinner. Japanese style with various menu. Actually I doubt the taste, but since the ingredients were halal, I enjoyed the food.
We spent our free time by playing police-mafia-detective game. It was interesting. Kind of psychological game which encourage us to argue, convey information, and even play a psychological trick to disguise our self. I think this game is good to stimulate people to be active in discussion. Our Iranian friend, Rouzbeh, introduce us this game.
|Small party and game!|
I was really excited. Can’t wait to slide on the thick snow! This second day was also our final lesson of ski. In the end they held International Ski Test. I thought they just made up this programme, but then I know that it is an official test from a ski organization. I didn’t take it seriously because I didn’t feel anything special if I get the award. So after the test we finally have our free time for skiing and snowboarding. Then we try the available trails one by one. At the beginning my friends who also a beginner in ski were hesitated to try more advanced slope. But I insisted and convinced them to go through. Another friend also hesitated to try higher hill, but my adrenaline already flowed and I need more challenge!
|My friends at the peak|
|Before challenging new trail|
That day was so great, as a beginner I pushed up myself to try harder trail. And everytime I passed it I got more excited! However I should limit my self and didn’t try the hardest part of the resort., because I knew my navigation skill was not enough.
|The weather was so bad, almost couldn’t see anything|
This first experience in skiing was so great. Even though we faced bad weather (which I knew later), I really enjoyed this trip. Now I know how my hero in Ski Free escaped from dinosaur’s chase!
|My group in Ski Lesson with our certificate|