While we were planning our Sapporo trip, Emma somehow convinced me that taking a ski lesson would be fun. Now I’ve had pretty poor success with just about every sport, especially those that involve balance like skateboarding or roller-blading but still I figured I’d give it a go, fully expecting a broken bone or two.
Teine ski resort is very close to Sapporo city, about 45 minutes in total by train and bus from JR Teine station. It includes two runs used during the 1972 Winter Olympics! The lower Olympia zone is where we spent our time.
We chose the “First time ski experience” which is ¥8500 per person. This includes equipment rental plus a two-hour introductory lesson, you don’t use the ski lift, which for me was probably a good thing.
Emma wrapped up and ready to go!
It’s only a short walk down to the ski area from the Olympia lodge, but it’s quite steep so a shuttle bus runs between the two constantly, taking about a minute each way.
Time to get started! There were four of us in the group: Emma and I plus and a mother and daughter from Hong Kong.
This is Sam, our instructor! He was great, very funny and friendly. He told me he started skiing at age 30, so maybe there’s still hope for me!
He was also happy to play photographer!
The lesson started with a quick warm up then the basics, how to clear snow off your boots, get in and out of the ski bindings and balance. After that we moved on to starting, stopping, turning and walking up slopes safely. Emma got on pretty well right from the start, I was as unsteady as I expected to be, walking up the slopes was particularly tough but I never actually fell over!
Slowly but surely, we worked our way up the slope, skiing for longer each time. Well I say skiing… Emma was skiing, I’m not sure whatever I was doing counts!
In fact, to help me out Sam strapped my skis with this thing to try and improve my stopping – stabilisers for skis, oh dear. To stop you’re supposed to bring the front of your skis inward and move the backs out, making a “pizza shape” as Sam put it, so this thing helped a bit but I was still wobbly.
In the end I managed to go down the slope without the attachment thingy, can’t say there was much finesse but I did it!
The lesson was a great beginner introduction, Sam was awesome and if you haven’t skied before then I definitely recommend it, if you have it’s probably not for you. Sapporo is known for it’s soft powder snow so you shouldn’t worry too much about falling 🙂 After the lesson you do need to return all the equipment but for an extra ¥2300 you can stay out for the rest of the day(again minus lift).
After we’d returned our gear, we headed to a cafe nearby and enjoyed some hot chocolate and karaage don(fried chicken on rice). Turns out there are very few buses to the resort – literally a handful per day, so faced with a two hour wait we asked the staff to call us a taxi.
While waiting, I joked about the regular city taxi guy dressed up in a suit appearing to pick us up, thinking those cars would never make it up here. I was quite surprised when that actually happened, this middle aged guy walking past all the heavily layered skiers was surreal. And luckily we found a couple to split the ¥2200 fare with.
The ride down was a bit erratic, think the guy fancied himself as a bit of a drift racer!
So that was my first(maybe last) ski experience! Find out more about the lesson we took here