Monday, March 02, 2009

Hitting the Slopes

Skiing, in its entirety, goes against every fiber of my being. I blogged about my various fears and quick to panic moments here. Those that heard we were taking a family ski trip this past weekend must have thought about that post and wondered if I had completely lost my mind. It just screams panic for me, doesn't it? And here is why:

1. You must drive into and out of the mountains in order to actually participate in the sport.

2. You must ride a seemingly rickety and ratty chairlift to various drop-off points, high above the ground separated only by a metal bar that is completely controlled by you at any point in time.

3. You must propel yourself down a mountain with little or no control as a beginner.

4. The feeling of being out of control is like nausea, coming out of nowhere, with no warning or preparation. But, you know it is coming with each new decline.

5. You must use muscles you have not used since that one extreme yoga class you swore you would never attend again.

Despite all of this working against me, I remembered how much I love to ski. I know, it makes no sense. I actually drove up to Sugar Mountain (don't you just love that name) while Jay worked on his laptop, via his mobile phone/wireless connection and speaking to his office on my phone. What propelled me over the fear of being in control of a vehicle in the mountains is that I listened to TobyMac on Ethan's mp3 player. I was in the zone with nothing to think about, but the words to his songs. I know it is illegal to have headphones on while driving, but I believe the general population was way safer with me clued into TM than fixated on the steep drop-offs and my ability to drive straight down them.

I have never really thought too much about chairlifts. I remember several years ago Jay and I took the kids to Tweetsie Railroad. You could ride a chairlift up to the top of the mountain where there was a petting zoo and maybe a couple of other rides. We all got into one lift (I don't know how), but guess who starts freaking out? Jay. So much so that he made us all ride the school bus shuttle down the mountain rather than get back on the lift. He couldn't believe we were allowed to bring small children onto that "death trap." I hadn't really given it much thought until this weekend. Jay and I decided to leave the kids back at the condo with the sitter and head out for some night skiing. While in the dark and fog, Jay decides to recount the story which brings rise to panic for me. Finally, when we reach the top of the mountain, my legs are already a little jiggly just from thinking about the stinking chairlift's safety. Then, I had to start skiing down a more challenging slope from the top of the mountain. That was a long, long way down.

I am not an experienced skier. In fact, I took an hour lesson to brush up on what little knowledge I had gained from the last time I went skiing...15 years ago. As a beginner, you teeter between control and out of control constantly. In two days/nights of skiing, I fell. It wasn't a lot - maybe 6 times, but when I did, it wasn't pretty. Face forward falling never is. The best bit of skiing I did was at night, probably because I couldn't really see just how steep the intermediate slope was. And, try as I might, there were times when I knew my arms were flailing, my legs fighting to plow (or make a pizza wedge as they call it now) and I just wanted to let myself go...go right off the side of the mountain rather than fight against my body any more. Despite all of this, I can't wait to go back. The beginner slopes were easy and fun, almost too simple and I can see where as your skills progress the more advanced slopes will be, too.

I do understand the allure of staying in a place with a hot tub. Sunday was a little slow getting out of bed. But by Monday...whoa. Jay and I have hobbled around the house easing out little moans and groans as we traverse the stairs. I still don't get how my arms are as sore as they are...unless the flailing was much worse than I imagine. I know, flailing makes it worse, but sometimes you just can't help it.

The kids did great. Ethan and Sadie were zipping down the intermediate slopes by themselves by the end of the weekend. Sadie liked to know I was behind her. Little did she know I would not have been able to help her if she needed me, but there was comfort for her in that ignorance. I did have an interesting conversation with Sadie on the chairlift:
She said, "Mommy, are you scared about skiing?"
Me: "No, not too bad, why?"
Sadie: "Because Daddy said you were a scaredy-cat."
Me: "He did?" (thinking I have something to say to him)
Sadie: "Yes, but I told him you weren't. You are brave, you know, for a Mommy."
Me: "And, what did he say?"
Sadie: "That maybe you were only a giblet bit scared."
Me: "Well, he is probably right about that one."

Lily was not quite strong enough to make turns, but did manage to stay above her skis. She was a cute little bundled up snow bunny. Next year, she will be old enough to be in ski school. Jay and I agreed that we may finally have found something that the whole family enjoys doing together.

1 comment:

Angela said...

The thought of Jay flipping out about the chair lift is just too funny. For the record, I hated my one snow skiing experience, especially the lift. It was just too much pressure to gracefully get on and off of it when I could barely stand up on my skis, much less with a line of people impatiently waiting behind me.