Like I mentioned, I took my parents skiing in a cute little ski village called Bansko in Bulgaria. Snow sports are quite extravagant in the Alpine countries, but with Bulgaria being the poorest country in the EU, it was the perfect spot for us to learn the basics.
Bansko was a good 3 or 4 hour bus ride from the capital, Sofia. It was so purposely built for European tourists, so unlike the shabby capital, houses were neat, roads were smooth, just like how a resort should look. I signed up for 3 days at Ski School, partly because I was totally confidently about picking it up in 2 days, and partly because I was worried my parents would get fed up too soon.
The skis were ridiculously heavy, the ski boots were even more hilariously bulky and we seriously overdressed. The length of the skis were the length of myself, which pretty much meant I was moving as a cube, albeit a small one. So the first thing we learnt was how to fall and get up, which was almost impossible…
On day 2 I worked up the courage to do the beginners’ blue run, nothing silly, just a 35 degree slope. Unlike the other skiers, who knew what they were doing, I sped down the slope in one straight line at what felt like 100mph, then lost control and committed an epic fall with my skis and flying out at 2 metres behind me. When I gradually gained focus and looked back I realised how people were supposed snake down the slope to control the speed…. well I learnt that in the lesson on day 2.
-6 degrees on the slopes or the piste felt more like 15 degrees with a good ski jacket and all the muscles I was working.
Day 3 was snowing so hard I could barely see ahead of me. I decided to skip the lessons and just practiced down the pistes myself. My parents got expelled from ski school; I guess at 50 yrs old, their body and hand-eye coordination is no longer as good as how they wished it could be. They were happy with to ski down the kid’s pistes and managed to stop without crashing into anyone, too badly.
It was definitely a lucky, or narrow, escape. Had we left a week later, we’d be stuck in the -35 degrees in Sofia, the coldest it had been in a hundred years. I heard even the ATMs have stopped working…