It hasn’t been blue sky the whole time I’ve been in Banff but a good number of days have had a good amount of sunshine. Sometimes that has coincided with very low temperatures when photographing the stunning mountain views has had to be sacrificed to maintaining finger count to 9½. Sometimes it has coincided with a balmy -5oC to -10oC and an attack of Repetitive Photo Syndrome out of sheer relief.
I also have to confess to foregoing photo opportunities to trying to improve my pretty poor skiing. One 2-hour lesson with a top instructor at Lake Louise did a huge amount as I subsequently applied what I learned from him to improve my level from basic intermediate to just-about-competent intermediate.
The side-effect was unfortunately the loss of some potentially great photographic shots as I tried to instil into my brain and body by repetition the habit, the instinct, of transferring my weight onto the outside ski to initiate a turn, lowering my body at the bottom of the turn , and turning the outside foot to a greater or lesser extent across the slope to control speed depending how steep or slick (icy) the run. My instinct from both kayaking and paragliding is to initiate and maintain a turn by weight-shift, transferring weight onto the inside of the turn. When I told this to the instructor he immediately worked out a way to overcome this long-ingrained habit. No wonder he’s now one of 10 instructors representing Canada at Interski, the coming together of the world’s top ski instructors in Argentina in September.
But I do manage a few shots with the camera. I have to admit that my main enjoyment is being in the high mountains in winter. They are beautiful, majestic, awe-inspiring …. any number of clichés. It puts you closer to God. Skiing is a great way to be loose in the mountains.
Since The Lesson, skiing has become an enjoyable a part of the experience. Not an end in itself but deeply satisfying as I manage to stay on my feet on ever steeper slopes at ever faster speeds. Wednesday and I skied one Green, one Blue and 5 Blacks before the midday stop. “Get a grip. Don’t get overconfident!!!!” I kept telling myself. Last time I got carried away I damaged my MCL.
Zooming down increasingly difficult runs I stop in places, slither down or shuffle to a better framed shot, take my outer gloves off, ferret the Canon compact out of a tightly zipped pocket and click away into the blinding sun hoping that one at least will turn out reasonably well.