Sunday, January 25, 2009

Welcome to Kelly’s Life, Episode 11

When your expert ski friends tell you that sure, no problem, come along and ski with us, we'll show you how to ski - and you actually believe them and go along, well, you may as well write "sucker" on your forehead and call it a day.

So off I go with ten of my expert ski buddies, to the place they call mountains. We arrive, and my buddies, the ones I've known for years, scatter like rats off a sinking ship, as I'm left standing there, alone, with my short wide rental skis slung over my shoulder. I figure, hell, how hard can it be, as I'm standing there watching small children scoot-ski by without aid of poles. So I strap those puppies on my feet. And fall down. How clowns get around with the fwappy feet, I don't know, but there's nothing like voluntarily attaching long slick boards to your feet and heading yourself down a slippery slope, literally. So in the midst of all the people, skis on feet, I turn downhill. I start to slide.

Cool.

Then I realize, all of a sudden like, that I don't know how to turn. There's a tree. A stout one. Been there a good long time. And then I realize too - I don't know how to stop. It's a big tree, and it's approaching quite rapidly. So, the most logical thing to do is throw myself to the ground, which I do with no further hesitation, and get a big snorfle of snow up my nose.

Ok. So now I know how to stop.

So taking skis off, walking thirty feet up a hill in hard boots that dig into your shins (cause these boots are not made for walking), strapping said skis back on feet, going in a straight line down the hill, panicking, yelling at the children to, "Get.....get outta....get outta my WAY!" and then hurling oneself to the ground in an effort to spare the small child, can only be fun for, oh say about maybe 10 minutes. I retired early to the lodge, all the while cursing the so called friends, and vowing to never, no not ever, set one fwappy foot on hilly snowy terrain ever again.

I'm in the lodge drowning sorrows in hot chocolate, and I see a sign that says, "ski lessons starting at noon".

Well now there's a novel idea.

So off I went to ski lessons. They taught me to stop. They taught me to turn. That's pretty much all you need to know.

Until you get to the bunny slope rope pull. I shuffle into line, behind the little scoot-skiers. I fall down. I get up, grab the rope pull, and my left ski veers off the path. I fall down. The rope pull stops. I roll out of the way as the sweet little children scooting by without poles, sneer back at me for slowing their progress.

Repeat this, maybe seven times. I come to be on a first name conversational basis with the rope pull operator. His name is Frank. He starts meeting me half way down the rope pull cause I just can't seem to control the errant left foot. Frank's nice. He kindly suggests I try the chairlift - over there. Off the bunny slope.

One of the aforementioned no-longer-my-buddy friends meets up with me and offers to take me up the chairlift for my very first real run. So off we go. I watch the ground fall away and take in the scenery as my nose hair freezes and my eyes frost open. Gosh it’s pretty. Up ahead I see people hopping off the chair, onto a ramp, and that's when so-called friend says: I think we're on the wrong lift. This is a black diamond run.

So we get to the hop off point. I fall down. The chair lift operator kindly sneers at me as he shuts the lift down. I roll out of the way. Bop back up on my skis, go ten feet, into the trees, and fall down in the shrubbery, lose a ski, and say to my non-friend, "so what's a black diamond run?"

"Really hard", he says.

I think, really, how hard can it be? So I start shuffling over to where the people all are, and it appears that really, there is no ground there any more. It's a freaking cliff, I swear it.

I have found the end of the earth. Joy.

There’s a certain degree of humility that one must retain, and that’s achieved by not getting back on the chairlift for the return ride down. Besides, I doubt they’d let me back on.

We push off, and I'm snow plowing the whole way, and doing just fine thanks, until it's time to turn, and my ski tips cross. I fall down. I get up. I fall down. I get up. Ski fifty feet. Fall down. So it takes a really, really long time to get out of this particular predicament, until finally, we get to a point where the black route runs across to an easy green run, and I stylishly swoop across onto the gentle slope. And I fall down. And manage, we'll really never know how, to get my ski caught in my hair. So my friend, noticing that I've gone missing, hikes back up the hill, takes one look at me, doubles over in hysterics while proclaiming his desire for a camera. Nope. Don't much like him at all. So he carefully extracts me from myself, and we decide that would be a fine way to end the day, as the sun started to fall behind the hills.

As one can only imagine what would happen if I went night skiing, eh? I suspect facial splinters upon impact with the black trees that snuck up on me in the night shadows.

Moral of the story:

1. Ski lessons are your friend. Your expert skiing friends are no substitute for a patient (paid) instructor.
2. It's hard to get skis caught in short hair.