Oh, and it turns out that 7 weeks of cross-country skiing is the perfect preparation for downhill if you are the sort of person who tends to get scared by going fast icy slopes, or indeed children's rides on the pier. This is because instead of spending all week panicking about how unsteady and slippy and fast the skis are, you spend the week thinking how steady and non-slippy and easily turned and amazingly capable of slowing and stopping the skis are. It's amazing - humanity has finally invented skis that work**. As confidence in the face of icy slopes was always going to be my biggest problem, this psychological benefit was probably as big a boost as the physical crossover between the two disciplines. The benefit of one's vanity being flattered is also not insignificant.
Short version: it was fun, I wasn't half bad, and I shall definitely go again.
*Ski jackets are not small, so why do they have such titchy pockets?
**Though I shall still be using the old-fashioned kind as well, as it seems that the skis that work come with downsides like not working uphill and weighing the same as a small car.