So I loved Bulgaria. It was a wonderful week of great weather, pristine slopes, mountain dogs and my instructor.
I am a nervous snowboarder. Anything can unnerve me. On our first day my friend Jamie’s hit an edge and dislocated his shoulder. Not much of a holiday for him. As this happened on the first day I decided enough was enough I needed a lesson. I need to rebuild my confidence and go back to basics.
So the lessons were really reasonable and the quality of them was brilliant. I have never had a private lesson before. Even when I have had lesson with group of 3 I have always been the last down the mountain or struggling to catch up. In France if you get lost they just leave you to find your own way back.
I cant be hard on the french instructors as their job is to get the best out of you as fast as possible. But for me however this type of learning doesn’t work. I hate to be last and I just end up being frustrated.
So i asked at the Samokov hotel Ski school for a lesson. I was really lucky. I got Mario! He was so nice and kind and new exactly how to handle me.
The first thing he said was not to worry we can go at my own pace and take our time till my confidence builds up.
He guided me through every turn, every patch of ice, he even held held my hand when I turned toe side edge of a steep red. His control of the board was a thing of wonder.
I mentioned earlier that racing down the mountain and always trying to catch my breath wasn’t the best training for me. The problem with being slow and last is you never get time to rest. People are always waiting for you. So by the time you catch up it times to push on again.
With Mario it was different.
All his encourage made me want to try harder and face my fears. The reds in Bulgaria were gorgeous and wide. So even though it was steep with a few patches of ice, the slope was amazing.
I pushed my self everyday, with every lesson and really enjoyed myself. In the end I I chose to have 4 lessons. I looked forward to hitting the snow. And on day 3 the snow was pretty perfect. Fresh powder is a snowboarders best friend. Even I was hitting the fresh snow and attempting little jumps ( completely failed) and loving it.
Yes I fell over a few times but it didn’t put me off!
Doing it for me
I normally spend my time with Linda, she skis, I board, we encourage each other down harder slopes. We drink vin chaud to reward ourselves and always have a great time. This time with her husband injured she didn’t want to leave him. His accident unnerved her skiing!
Normally each holiday I have a few good days of boarding and a few shitty days of hating it. This time I enjoyed every single day. Considering I didn’t spend most of my days without the group I really enjoyed myself. I snowboarded for my self.
Mario was the reason for this
I needed his encouragement and advice. The main thing he taught me:
- Don’t bend your knees too much ( thats the fear)
- Don’t panic
- Stop looking down
- Look where you are going
- Don’t panic
Don’t loose my bottle!
I just kept going. I went from top to bottom turning the whole way. I freaked out at the narrow flats but Mario got me cruising along them. I still freaked out about them but he had me linking all my turns.
He told me I get stuck in my head when I should just relax. I can do it, I have a lot of control and I know what to do, I just don’t push myself.
He also said that being in a group can be hard. That when your the best you excel but when you aren’t the best, it can affect your confidence. That’s why me going with a smaller group is good. That’s why me, Linda and John make such a good team.
I do feel a wee bit bad because everything Mario told me Gav has said a million times. The problem with boarding with your loved one is when they tell you what you are doing wrong you can tell them to eff off! He gets frustrated with me, i get frustrated with him. he will spend 8 hours boarding… me not so much.
I get annoyed at Gav too easily even though he wants the best for me. But he pushes me to the point were I don’t want to prove myself. I need Linda to ease myself down the mountain.
I need to snowboard for myself.
I need to do what I want when I want. If I want to take myself off the mountain. If I want to get up late spend a few glorious hours boarding followed by a leisurely lunch. If I want to have a few drinks and watch Linda put her mittens on the wrong hands, then laugh all the way down the mountain, then I am going to do it.
Doing it for me.
Its my holiday too and should enjoy myself.
A little thank you
To Gavin, for putting up with my snowboarding nerves for years. I think I have lost my tittle of worlds slowest snowboarder. ( Maybe I am the third slowest definitely need a medal!).
To Linda, for always being my drinking slope buddy. For encouraging me and supporting me then having another drink just for fun! and for putting your mitten on the wrong hand!
And to Mario, for being the best instructor a girl could wish for. If you are staying at the Samokov Hotel in Borovets then please ask for Mario. I can’t recommend him enough.
I hope I will always have a little Mario on my shoulder guiding me down the mountain. Encouraging me so that I constantly improve.
Because I want to!