Friday, February 19, 2010

Why did I try skiing? Because I can’t sing or dance.

I am not athletically inclined. At all. To say I lack grace is being kind. I’m really just an all around klutz. I have no rhythm, no balance, no innate understanding of how the body should move in order to accomplish a set goal. In short, I am the last person who should put herself on skis and attempt to slide herself down a snow covered hill expecting to remain all in one piece. But I did. And what’s more shocking is that I still have all of my limbs firmly attached.
I’d been skiing once before in high school. That time, I thought I would be golden since all of the people I went with knew how to ski thus I would be in good hands. I’d be mastering the slopes in no time. Wrong. It was awful. First the boots hurt my extremely wide feet. From the moment I had put them on, my poor fat dogs were screaming for mercy. Second, I couldn’t get the hang of the rope tow contraption because my skis kept crossing causing me to fall down. Third, I was not dressed appropriately and so all that falling down made me really cold. Finally, I felt awful making my experienced skier friends hang out on the bun2ny slope while I snow plowed every time I began to catch any speed at all. So I went ahead and agreed to go down the easiest trail. It took me an hour. I’m not joking. I’d start to go fast, get scared and fall down. I finally told everyone to go ahead without me and I’d catch them at the bottom. I think I was lapped 3 times. Five year olds laughed and pointed at me as they flew down the mountain. Is it really any surprise that it took me 15 years to give the sport another try?
But when you own a house at Deep Creek, you start to feel like you’re obligated to partake in the festivities at Wisp. Now that I think about it, I believe there was a clause to that effect somewhere in the buyer’s contract.  So after four years, Drew and I finally gave it a shot. But I was adamant that things were going to be different this time. First, we signed up for a private lesson with an instructor. That helped. Second, I wore winter appropriate attire including thermal underoos and goggles. Now I was warm and toasty and at the very least looked like someone who could pass for a skier.  The boots still hurt my feet, but when you have duck feet, you feel odd if a shoe isn’t pinching somewhere or giving you blisters. Finally, the bunny slope now had a magic carpet to the top instead of the pulley mess that they used to have. No more falling down on the way up the hill that I just planned to fall right back down.
After an hour with the instructor, I was starting to get the hang of going down the hill. As long as I didn’t have to turn or go too fast. The hardest part was getting the boots locked into the skis since we took them off before getting on the magic carpet—we’re certainly not skilled enough to fandango ourselves up the thing while having five foot, slippery planks attached to our feet. I’ll probably never want to even try going up it with skis on since I watched at least 7 people fall down trying to do it. Not when they have to stop the ride so everyone can laugh and point at you as you try to stand up again.
Up and down we went. Like last time, I got lapped repeatedly by children. In this case, it was a little girl—maybe five years old. That little bugger had no fear. She’d fly down the hill while her mom tried to keep up. The problem was that she had no more control than I did, she just didn’t care. Once, while I was in the middle of the hill trying to get my boots into the skis, I looked up to find her flying toward me. I had just enough time to do a little half scoot backwards to avoid her slamming into me. She ran over the front of my skis instead and then tumbled 10 feet further down the hill before finally coming to a stop with her legs in the air. I apologized to her mom as she skied past, but she just laughed and told me not to worry—her daughter was clearly at fault and would probably take out a few more people before the day was over. I don’t doubt it because she was right back at it before I had that stupid boot locked back into my ski. Oh to be young and have no fear of broken bones and concussions.
After much practice, I finally conquered the bunny slope. Or at least the bottom 3/4 of it. Jan told me she heard the Rocky theme playing when she saw this picture and well that’s a pretty good description of how I felt. Flying high now…
“Yo Andrew! I did it!”
1    Maybe next time, I’ll learn how to turn? 

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