A Personal Experience

Open the plough! You're leaning back again! Don't be afraid of the speed; you are doing well!

What am I doing? I am experiencing a combination of panic and excitement while my ski instructor, Danilo, is trying his best to get some skiing technique into my uncontrollable legs.From November to late February is your chance to beat the winter blues, to try new things and to challenge yourself. The easiest way to do this is to go skiing! I did this although the idea of shooting myself down a mountain gave me anxiety and I am sharing everything with you, hoping that it will inspire you.

As a beginner, I looked for something cheap but still with many slopes to explore and plenty of places for mulled wine breaks (guilty!). Kopaonik, a powdery winter wonderland in Central Serbia where hard-core runs claim over the soft snow, is definitely a competitor of Austria. With 70km of piste, extensive slopes, including nursery and beginners slopes, is the perfect place if you want to venture into a winter sport while staying on a budget. 

 As a first timer I would suggest to rent your ski equipment (skis, poles, boots and helmet) not buying or borrow it! This is the only way you can be sure it fits you perfectly. This is something that I learned on my own skin. As we entered the ski rental place, the nature of Serbian people was revealed through a bloom of hospitality, offering us some traditional sweets and Rakia alongside a warm welcome. This helped me loosen up a little bit as I was terrified.

As soon as I managed to keep the snowplough (the basic ski turn and most importantly the stopping tool), Danilo propelled me from the nursery slope to the beginner one, which for me looked like the top of Everest. However, this is the fastest way to learn and having the instructor there kind of assured me that everything is going to be fine. I believe this is very important as the fear is the main obstacle you will encounter when learning how to ski.

The sooner you get from wobbly snowplough to parallel(ish) turns, the more you will love skiing. That's what I was saying to myself when the abrupt slopes seemed never-ending. Luckily, in Kopaonik you will find loads of mid-slope bars where the mulled wine and hot chocolate are absolutely delicious. And if we got here, what can be better after a cardio day than a plate of Serbian cuisine? As many people agree, the myriad of tastes and smells makes the Serbian cuisine very hard to resist to.

All in all, from a beginner's perspective, I realised that shooting down a mountain is not that hard - you only need courage and the fear is psychological. Another crucial thing that I came around to is that beside your everyday thermal wear and perhaps two sweaters you don't need any more outfits. Same goes with makeup: pack only essential skin care as makeup is completely useless on slopes, no matter how many layers of foundation or makeup fixing spray you will apply. Still, I believe the 2018 escape can be closer than you believe and if you never have been skiing before I encourage you to push yourself and try it! I promise you will love it.