The Secret to Happy Skiing
Nothing is more important that being cool when you’re 15 years old. So even though I did not know how to ski, I wasn’t going to be stuck in beginning classes with the little kids. Oh, no, not me! I had taken a lesson or two years ago, but they were boring silly games and very few trips up the slopes. I’d had enough of whiny kids and their childish instructors. Time for a serious, grown up effort.
I was sure that after an hour or two on my own, if I was willing to: a) suffer through a few embarrassing falls and; b) snowplow like a doofus down the bunny hill, that I could hit the black diamond slopes like other kids my age. Once I was skiing like the cool skier I knew I could be, I would win the eye of 18-year-old Garrett, and live happily ever after with him chasing me down the slopes. I could picture my hair flying behind me as we carved deep turns, wove through moguls, and then gazed in each other’s eyes over cocoa back at the lodge.
After waddling around in the puffy ski pants I got at the second hand store, dying of the heat in the rental lines, I at last had my gear and stood ready to put on the skis and hit the slopes.
Figuring out how to get into the skis involved more sweating and contortions, but I had them on, and I poled over to the beginner hill. The ski area had two options for beginners. The rank beginners used a rope tow and the ones who had mastered that moved up to the T-bar. No fancy moving carpets nor easy chairlifts for the wary, just get in there and start skiing. Everyone else was doing it, and I could too. How hard could it be?
The first time I grabbed hold of rope tow, I face planted. Some eight-year-olds nearby told me not to grab, just squeeze gradually. I humbly did as instructed, but somehow my feet got left behind and my body kept going. I kept my head down in case anyone I knew was nearby. No one was there of course, they were all up on the more advanced slopes. I made it back down to the end of the line and tried again.
This time I actually started going up the little bunny hill. “Yay!” My first efforts at winning the heart of the ultra-fine Garrett! Unfortunately, the rope kept going lower and lower and I wound up doubled over trying to hang onto this rope that was only 2 feet high. My back was straining and I gritted my teeth trying to maintain upright composure. It was not to be. I fell right in the tracks, skis akimbo, and before I could hump out of the way like an elephant seal, someone skied over my legs while apologizing profusely. The next three people plowed into me, and we had rope-tow pile up.
The rope tow operators were getting annoyed. I was perplexed. Everyone else made it look so easy. This was what was provided for first-time beginners, so why couldn’t I get it? Garrett would be gray-haired and in his rocking chair before he spotted me whizzing down the hill.
I tried it again and again, and eventually got to the top and snowplowed down. My arms were aching from the pull of the rope tow and my leather gloves about worn through. They were lame gloves anyway, ending at my wrists and my parka sleeve was a bit short so my forearms were cold and stiff.
Time for a new event. I figured the T-bar was just the thing for me, as I didn’t really have to hold on. It had a bar that went across your bum and presto, you were at the top of the hill. Perfect.
“Now do NOT sit on this,” the operators warned. Believe me, I listened. The T-bar swooped up behind me, and hey! Easy! I started up the hill. Now why hadn’t I started here? To this day, I swear, I did NOT sit down. But somehow, someway, the T-bar started inching lower. Next thing I knew it was behind my knees. No matter, I could just crouch. But then it inched lower and got behind my ankles.
“I. Am. Going. To. Fall!”