Until last week, I had only ever put on skis twice before in my life. The first of those was 20 years ago, when I visited the dry ski slope in Gloucester, although must admit that I can’t recall actually using the skis to any noticeable effect. About three years ago I went to the Snow Dome at Tamworth, where the snow, whilst manufactured, was at least real. I was part of a group of about 15 who had a lesson for an hour, most of which was spent watching other people fall over, and probably resulted in me skiing a total distance of about 50 metres in that whole session. So when the work social club organiser suggested a weekend in Andorra in January, I was not convinced that I had the necessary experience to participate. However, in the interests of team spirit (or for the potential amusement of my more experienced colleagues), I decided to joint in. Fortunately, I was not the only one in that position, so we split neatly into two groups, those who knew they did not know what they were doing, and those who thought they did.
The beginners were taken to nursery slopes on the first day. Having donned the skis, we started on a slope that seemed quite steep. A few runs down there, some instruction on “snow plough” stopping, and the instructor thought we were ready to move on to the next slope. Things went pretty well having mastered the button lift, and snow plough turns. A whole day without falling over! We were now prepared for the second day. “Ready to move onto the third stage?” asked Graham our instructor although it was not really a question. Unfortunately the ski lift on that slope was broken. “You have all been doing well so perhaps we will try part of a blue run instead,” Graham continued. “Just remember to control your speed with turns,” he added. I was going well until half way down, when a steep edge appeared on my left had side. My speed had accelerated, and at that point I lost confidence. I am sure you can guess the consequence, which is shown on the attached picture (the red blob in the snow is me). Anyway I got back up, and carried on as if I had just been having a quick nap. The lesson had ended and Graham disappeared, so I decided to practice turns again on the nursery slope, by myself, before venturing onto the blue run again. One of my colleagues, who shall be nameless, having successfully negotiated that short section of the blue run, decided on the next circuit he would try something different. This was not an entirely wise decision on his part, as the consequence was bruises to both his body and ego. The advice of the instructor had been that you keep you speed down by turning. But inexperienced skiers like my colleague find that their skill is not sufficient to turn enough, with the inevitable result that their speed gradually increases to a point where they are going too fast to turn at all. The only solution then is to go for it and hope – the trouble is that hope alone does not keep you on your feet.
It is the same with implementing a warehouse solution – hope alone will not ensure success.
Howard Turvey MD
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