The big group of us travelled to troll active on the 170 bus from the centre of Kristiansand. When we arrived, we were greeted by Len, Simon and Tim (Instructors). After putting our things into our cabins, we were split up into two groups. Richard, Bowen, Kyle, Simon, Danny, Beret, Kathrin, Eli and I were in a group with Len.
Len started us off by just getting a feel for our ski’s;
- Spread group out so each group member has room to move
- Lift toes up, heals up, step side to side, jump up and down, high knees, jump side to side. Step around in a circle to the left and then step around the other way.
Then we went for a little walk to test out our skis – The group did a few laps of a flat(ish) area getting a feel for the ski’s and practicing walking. After that we skied down a hill further which was really fun and built my confidence up because I have been skiing once before When the group met down the bottom Len then asked us all to walk back up a hill. I found this part quite challenging because I didn’t initially understand how actively the poles are used in moving forwards and upwards. We then practiced doing a heron walk up the hill with our feet at a v angled into the hill. After the majority of the group got the hang of it Len encouraged us to play; bob up and down whilst going downhill, going down holding hands and going downhill between each other’s skis. There were a few people who were particularly good at these activities but there were also some people who didn’t pick it up so quickly. This effected confidence levels and frustration levels of those particularly who didn’t understand what they were doing wrong but really wanted to. Simon and Richard in particular pick up the skills quickly even though they had never done this before. I could tell this made a couple of the other guys lose their confidence. When Kyle finally skied down the hill without falling over the whole group cheered and supported him. After this activity, we went for a longer walk along a pre-made track. I started to get the hand of it (or so I thought) until we went down a hill on the tracks and I fell over again. This time it wasn’t due to loss of balance – I felt a little bit scared about going so fast and not having as much control over my ski’s because they were in the tracks. Len noticed this and told me to ‘let it go’ which really helped. He explained that the worst that can happen is that I just fall over in the lovely powdery snow. The following time I went down a steeper hill I reminded myself to trust myself and let go of my fear – It worked and I felt so happy! Another great bonding experience was when Len led us into some really deep snow and we all fell over in a ditch. Everyone laughed so hard and fell over trying to help each other but it was really fun! Didn’t improve our skiing as much but it made everyone feel a sense of group cohesion.
I would say that because the group knew each other individually prior to today we moved through the forming phase and into the storming phase very quickly. By the time we returned and met up with the other group the group was into the norming phase. There were no sub groups within the group today because I think Len had strategically separated best friends apart across the two groups which was a nice change J
We began again with the same groups as yesterday. The weather conditions were not ideal today as it snowed the entire time and was quite windy. Although the air temperature was only like -5 with the wind-chill it was probably about -10 degrees. This impacted the groups communication skills and consequently gave an atmosphere of ‘every man for himself’ particularly for the people struggling. With the group, usually I’ve been pretty extroverted and can help motivate others but today I felt very quiet. When I really struggled getting up hills I just tried to rush instead of focusing on my technique which just made things worse. For me personally it was too soon to be going off cross country skiing and I would have liked to stay on the tracks and get a better feel for the technique. We could have played a few group bonding games or worked with partners to give each other more specific feedback. Len gave much more specific feedback to individuals today whereas yesterday advice was more general to the whole group. I think this approach to teaching was very good. The teaching conditions today were very hard. The cross-country lesson would have probably been a lot more positive and less confidence crushing if the weather had been better. I think Len just stuck with the original lesson plan and didn’t alter it majorly.
Skiing aside, group bonding between the girls back at our accommodation was so good! I think most people found today really challenging and that brought us closer together when we could all talk about how we felt when we were dry, warm and feeling confident to speak up again. Really loving living with this group of people J rhyme