Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ski Patrol

I am not sure why I am posting this story, other than the fact I want to document that I conquered my fears and did something that took me more than 30 years to work up to. I learned how to ski.
Two of our good friends (the same ones who introduced us to snowshoeing) invited us to spend time with them one weekend so I could learn how to navigate the slopes. They tried repeatedly to assure me that we would take it slow; she even told me that she didn't learn how to ski until she was in her thirties. If I was going to learn, this was the weekend.
As we were driving up to the lodge, I was talking about how glad I was that I wouldn't be the only novice on the hill. I knew David had skied when he was younger, but I also knew it had been close to 20 years and that skiing in New Jersey was nothing compared to Idaho powder. David, trying to choose his words carefully, said "Oh, I didn't tell you I was on the racing team in high school?" No, asshole. You didn't.
After we got our equipment rented, I spent the next 30 minutes trying to "walk" to the bunny hill. By that time, our friends had been down two runs and David was clearly questioning his decision to be my instructor. Because I was the only adult on the bunny hill, I was just trying not to drop the F-bomb in front of any minors. It was a struggle.
Despite David's revelation that he used to ski competitively, I was holding out some hope that the years and pounds would work in my favor. Nope. David looked graceful and confident: 

I, on the other hand, looked like I was about to take a shit right there on the mountain:
Skiing on the bunny hill turned out to be less scary than I thought. The worst part of the process was trying to get off the lift chair. At one point, an instructor told me I would have better luck if I focused on the trees in front of me as I stood up. I jokingly asked him how he could tell I was new at this. He leaned in a little and said, "The screaming kind of gave you away."

David finally convinced me I was ready to get on an actual lift chair and try a real run. He was wrong. As soon as we started working our way up, I could feel my hands starting to sweat through my gloves and my heart beginning to pound through my chest. I just wanted to go back, get down, and drink beers in the know, one of my more natural skills.

Once we made it to the top, I finally got the perspective on just how high up we were. And then I totally freaked out. The bunny hill didn't really have enough of an incline to force me to learn how to stop, so I didn't know how to control my skis once I started to speed up.  I spent the next hour trying not to fall off the edge and lose my life in the side of a pine tree. Instead, I began intentionally crashing into mounds of snow that line the run. In less than 10 minutes, I crashed nearly as many times. We had gone approximately 20 feet.

Our friends were so gracious, trying to give me tips and helping me up every time I went down. My ass was full of snow and tears were filling up the bottom of my goggles. I was done. Like so done that I told David I was just going to walk down the hill. To hell with all of this. So I started walking. In ski boots, carrying my skis and my poles, hoping ski patrol would find me and drag my chubby self down in a sled.  That did not happen.

About 5 minutes in to my new plan, I heard someone yelling, "On your left!" I turned around to see a group of skiers headed my way. They were children. All of them. I was officially a skiing embarrassment. At that moment, I knew I wasn't walking one more step. I was gonna make that mountain my bitch. And I did.

There are no photos of me actually skiing. I took one picture to document that I indeed did not fall off the edge and spent the rest of the time trying to make sure the kiddy ski club didn't lap me (they didn't, for the record). At one point, it just clicked. I fell into a rhythm, sweeping back and forth as we worked our way down. I was a skier.

And then we got to the bottom. I was hot shit. And then I immediately ate my appropriately large slice of humble pie. You see, once I looked at the map of the runs, I realized I hadn't even gone down a legitimate run. I had just spent my entire afternoon trying to walk work my way down a run called "The Waltz" - the name alone should have told me something. 

At that point, I called it day. David went on a few actual runs, enjoying the fact that he got to go hang out with real skiers. I went back to the lodge and ordered a beer, enjoying the fact I got to hang out with real drinkers. It was a win all around.

For now, I am officially a skier. Until next year. When we take Morgan with us and she makes me look like an idiot all over again. See you on the bunny hill.

1 comment:

Patty said...

Amy, It is not the things that we do perfectly that define us as a person... it is more of what we are able to try to be brave at! So proud of you for getting out there and going for it! You look fabulous on skis. Love you so much, Mom