Saturday, April 23, 2011

Skiing: A Review

I went skiing yesterday for the first time ever. And I'd like to share that experience since I don't really have much else to talk about today.
    First, I had planned on heading home Thursday evening, but I had a paper to write for one of my classes, so I thought I would have more success with it if I stayed at my apartment and headed up Friday morning. I wrote my paper, after several hours and much tribulation and effort, and sent it in to my teacher. I took my time a little more than I intended on Friday morning, but finally I got all my stuff together and headed home. I waited for my boyfriend, who's the skiing expert that was going to teach me a few things, to come pick me up to head up to mountains. He was late, as usual, due to bad traffic, as usual.
    Around 1:30 in the afternoon (bear in mind, the ski resort closes at 4pm), we left. We stopped to get Chipotle, so I wouldn't starve all afternoon after all that extra exertion that I'm not used to, and then we were really on our way. When we finally got there, it was about 3pm, giving him an hour, or so, to teach me the basics. We bought a lift ticket off of someone in the parking lot who was finished for the day--this is common practice, I gathered, but I felt somewhat guilty nonetheless--and we went to get in line for the chair lift. (Just my luck, the Bunny Hill was closed, so I had no choice but to go down a regular run with everyone else.)
Photo from the Road Up to the Ski Resort

    The second I got my boots locked onto my skis, I felt I'd made a huge mistake. I couldn't stand still because they kept slipping around, and I didn't think I'd ever be able to control my legs enough to get down the entire hill. I could barely move my feet to get the skis pointed in the right direction, and the ski lift was beginning to look terrifying. The chairs at least were chair level, so all you had to do was sit down. Mission accomplished. But on the long ride up the hill, the ground's distance below me varying from a few feet to nearly 20 feet, my anxiety kicked in and I started to cry. I had no confidence in myself at all that I'd be able to get off the chair lift once we got to the top, and I'd just keep going around and around until they stopped it and I could get off.
    My only frame of reference for the chair lift experience was movies and TV, and in those, the people usually jumped from the chair to the ground which was several feet below. I was afraid I'd jump and break an ankle or something, or worse, tumble back down the hill. However, I soon learned that my fears were completely unfounded and, in fact, ridiculous because when you get off the chair, the ground is right at your feet. You don't have to jump at all. You just have to get out of the way before the chair knocks you over. Crisis one: resolved. Except I did fall after getting off the chair lift. The only time that day that I fell accidentally. The other times, I fell on purpose so I wouldn't get going too fast and lose control.
Another Photo on the Way Up

    The next thing was getting down the run. The first part was very straight and not steep at all, so I felt ok. Not confident, but at least not terrified. I managed to get to the end of the straight stretch mostly unscathed and still standing, for the most part. However, there was a turn at the end of it, which was not only terrifying, but seemingly impossible.
    I won't go through every detail of the entire exercise of my first experience on skis, as this post would probably be twice as long, so I'll skip ahead. I finally made it about halfway down the mountain, though I walked across one part that was particularly ominous and steep, before the ski patrol people wanted us off the mountain since they were closing for the day, and they called a snowmobile to take me the rest of the way down the hill. This was probably for the best, as I would have been there another half hour trying to go by myself because I refused to go any faster than a slow skid.
All these were taken in the car, since I left my phone in the car, not wanting to break it from falling so many times.
     So, two panic attacks, about half a dozen falls, and over an hour later, I was at the bottom again. I skied for the first time, and rode a snowmobile for the first time, both in one day. I was pretty pleased with myself. Despite my terror, the unpleasant wind, and the fact that I am sore pretty much everywhere today--in muscles I had no idea I used--I think I'll be heading back up to the mountain. The season is pretty much over now, but there's always next year. But when that time comes, I will definitely be going on a day when the damn Bunny Hill is open.
Fear: check. No broken bones: check. I think it's safe to call that a success.

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