So, I survived our family’s ski trip, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to be this much closer to sea level again. There are few activities in life that strike fear, anxiety, and panic into my heart quite like skiing does. Just the sight of the mountain alone, as we pull into the driveway of the resort, makes my hand reach into the candy bag for soothing sustenance. Where you see a white-lathered mountain of possibility, I see whitewashed terror.
I don’t know who invented skiing, but I’d love to smack them with one of my poles if we’re ever introduced. My guess is that whoever it was picked up the mechanics immediately, because if they ever skied like I do, they’d be frozen at the side of the trail where they fell, and we’d never know about this method of getting down a mountain. And I would be okay with that. Alas, my whole family enjoys, ENJOYS!, the torturous sport and so we ski.
Do you know what happens when you’ve got one ski on and you’re trying to fit your boot into the other ski? You do a split, that’s what happens. The biggest unwanted split you’ve ever done in your life, as the ski slowly slides your leg away from the rest of your body. Not only do you need to keep your body parts from slipping away, you have to become a contortionist so you can clean the bottom of your ski boot with your pole before clicking it into place on the other ski, all while balancing on one leg. To do this, you have to be a flamingo.
At one point, immediately after securing the boots into them, I totally forgot I had skis attached to my feet and couldn’t figure out why I was “walking” weirdly. I mean, I was walking weirdly and uphill too! Just to get up onto the trail that I was then supposed to ski down. All so that I could jump on a lift that would take me back up what I just skied down so that I could do it again. Do you know what it’s called when you do the same thing over and over, often expecting different results but not getting any? A learning disability. Why wasn’t I getting off this chairlift of insanity?!
They say there’s learning in falling, but I thought the whole point of skiing is to not fall, so I found it really difficult to know whether I was supposed to wipe out or stay on my feet, I mean, skis. It’s such a confusing sport. At one point you’re going so fast thanks to an icy patch, yet at another point, you’re getting passed by your seven year old son who has only skied three days before in his life. Three days. That’s all it took for him to be better than me and that was two years ago.
When I was pretty sure I had put in enough time on the slopes, only an hour and a half had passed. Why does time go so, so slowly when you don’t want to do something?? Anyway, Danny kindly escorted me along the right trail that would lead to the bottom of the mountain where a shuttle would pick me up and bring me back to our condo. Because you can actually move your joints in snowboarding boots, he bounded down the set of steps in a flash. Do you think my husband was looking at me with unabashed tenderness or was I clomping down the stairs behind him like a bumbling, peg-legged pirate while he waited at the bottom?
In case you think I’m making all of this up or exaggerating my poor capabilities as a skier, I got my elbow stuck in the shuttle bus railing. It just so subtly slipped right in between the rail and the side I was sitting up against. Quietly, so no one had to know how clumsy I am, I maneuvered my elbow out of the space, closed my eyes, and dreamed of palm tree-studded beaches.
From beginning to end, I am not good at any part of the skiing process. Just kidding, I’m terrific with the end; sitting in the lodge is a talent I have perfected. I can suit up a child, one-handed if need be, find the right equipment for the right kid, prepare the hot meal to be ready for their lunch time break, set out a plateful of goodies, and read tens of hundreds of pages of my book in front of the condo fireplace, all while they monotonously just go up, then down, a mountain, times too numerous to fathom.
Despite my grumblings, I do love seeing my children ski, from the safety of the lodge, of course. I’m in awe of their excitement and abilities and opinion that it is a fun activity. But next time we go on vacation? I’m going to make sure we don’t miss the turn for the palm trees.