Yesterday, Caren invited me to go skiing on Tuesday. After spending a day feeling sorry for myself and basically being a brat, I decided that a day trying to conquer fears may just be the kick in the pants I needed. (Plus, I would not be at home trying to stare down all of the chores I’ve been dodging.)
I woke up expecting to feel dread but there was none. I kept reminding myself that I needed to use the ski pass we bought. If I go twice I’d get my money’s worth. So I got up and got the boys ready for school and myself ready for a day on the slopes.
Caren picked me up and we met up with our other friend, Victoria. As we got nearer to the ski resort I could feel the anxiety start to rise.
“I’m just going to get a lesson today so you girls can go and do your own thing,” I informed them.
“We’ll see,” Caren said. “There may not be any instructors available by the time we get there.”
It was not until just this moment that I thought there may have been a conspiracy brewing…hmm…because it was Victoria who looked into the lessons while I was renting my skis and it was Victoria who “claimed” that lessons were an astronomical $384 for three hours! SUSPICIOUS!
Regardless, I ended up not getting lessons.
We all decided to hit the loo before heading out. While re-buttoning all of my gear, I tried to psych myself up. Feeling ready, I met the girls just outside of the bathroom.
“Let’s do this.” I said in my best Bad Ass as I put my sunglasses on and headed down the hall.
“OK but you are going the wrong way,” Caren said as she grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the rental store.
As my friends laughed at me (and I at myself) they tried to be encouraging.
“See! You’re laughing! You’re already having fun!”
We got on the ski lift without incident though with little grace. I was given brief instruction on how to get on a lift with such enlightening tips such as: look behind you so you can see the lift coming. Basic 101 stuff…
They were kind enough to put the bar down for me so I’d feel more secure as the lift took us up and up. I gave the girls my brief ski resume:
Once at age 11, once at age 21, once last January and I did two runs on the Bunny Slopes in Steamboat a few weeks ago.
“I don’t know if that last one can count…K, please stop swinging your feet. It makes the whole thing move.”
They laughed and told me of their tales of falling off lifts and crazy things other people do on them.
Below us were two men at the base of a pillar.
“Oh my gosh! I think one of those guys wrecked with the ski lift pillar!”
“No. It looks like they are technicians working on something.”
The cold wind was biting my forehead and cheeks. I pulled my hat down lower and my scarf up for more protection.
“My face hurts.”
“Well, it’s killing me,” Caren quipped. She threw great barbs like this all day as she channeled her late father. I wish I had met him because he was a total crack up; a real wise acre and Caren was all over that today.
I began to express my concerns for getting off of the lift.
“This is more Mildred than Lola,” Caren noted, referencing my two nicknames/personas.
“Oh, it very much is!”
We finally got to the top of the mountain. I was instructed to just go straight and then wait. I dismounted the lift as instructed. We made a plan that Victoria would go in the lead and that Caren would bring up the rear in case I lost a pole, ski or limb. OK the last part was more along the lines of what I was thinking.
I know people think my fear is rather irrational but, according to Wikipedia, there have been 32 notable people who have died while skiing. These include a Kennedy, Sonny Bono, and most recently Sarah Burke, a PROFESSIONAL skier. Those are only the “famous” people so a lot more “regular people” have died on the slopes as well. Not to mention, broken bones.
“If you are afraid to fall then you will,” one of the ladies said.
We headed down making slow S’s along the way. There are these people who work for the resort that are posted here and there on the hill. I caught up to Victoria at one such gathering.
“You are doing great!” one lady said.
“Yeah, you just need to not talk so much,” the gentleman with her said.
“She’s not talking,” said Caren. “She’s just making a bunch of squealing noises.”
Great. That’s sooo cool. I’m going super slow down a green while squealing like a bitch. Excuse the French but seriously. Let’s call it what it is.
“You really do look good,” Victoria added. “You have great form!”
On we went with the slow S’s until we came to another stopping point where there was another couple of cheerleaders.
“You look fabulous! Keep it up!”
“The next person that tells me I’m a good skier is getting punched in the gut,” I said to Caren.
“Ha! I know! It screams: ‘We can tell you are a beginner!'”
“Well, you do really look good. You have great control. You just need to pick up the pace.”
“But that’s the part that scares me. I want to control my speed, not let the mountain pull me down. I don’t like all of the people hot dogging around me. I’m afraid they are going to crash into me and I am afraid I will get in their way.”
“Well, the people behind you are responsible for avoiding the people in front of them. Just like you are responsible for avoiding the people in front of you.”
“Well, don’t get in front of me because I don’t want to run into you.”
“Ha ha! You would have to be going fast enough to catch me!”
Then she told me about a lady she met on a trip to Antarctica. She had a “Ski Dubai” hat on. Caren commented to her that she would love to ski Dubai. The lady told her that she had a good time but could not afford to get hurt so she hired a bunch of people to ski around her to protect her from other skiers.
“So don’t worry about the others on the slope because I’m like those hired people skiing around an old rich lady!”
We skied on. Victoria gracefully waltzed with the mountain. Most of the time I could not see Caren but every now and then she would go ski between the trees, streak out from them and skid to a perfect stop just inches away from Victoria.
I hit a flat spot and was push, push, pushing with my poles to meet up with the ladies.
“I could be wrong…,” Victoria mused “…but if you are having to use your poles you are probably going too slow.”
We all laughed again.
“Stop! Don’t make me laugh. It takes my strength away! Laughter is my kryptonite!”
We finally got to the end of the run and skied straight into the lift again. About half way up I realized that there was a skier in the seat in front of us.
“Oh no. They didn’t leave an empty seat in front of us.”
“Well, what if I crash into him when we get off?”
“Oh yeah…ha! Hey you there!” Caren called to the guy ahead. “Watch out for Michal when you get off of the lift! She might…ha ha ha…she might run into you!” *lots of laughing* “I already told you, you are too slow to catch up to anyone!”
And of course we got off and I did not run into anyone or anything except an amazing view.
[I tried to insert a picture of that amazing view here but either wordpress or my computer sucks. Most likely the computer.]
This time I went a little faster. I kind of had to because there were lots of spots that would flatten out and if I did not pick up speed I would have to hike it. I had to hike a couple of times but mostly I just flew down the mountain, praying not to lose control and saying “Flock! Shazam! Flock! Shazam!” the whole way down. Except, I did not say “flock” or “shazam.” I said lot’s of bad words.
“Flocking Shazam? Is that all you have to say for yourself?” Caren asked.
“Don’t make me laugh! It weakens me!”
“Well, keep going. We are almost to the end but we have to get past the snowboard park. Don’t worry, they won’t get you. Ski Dubai!”
By the end of the day I skied three runs. I did not fall once. (“Then you didn’t really ski,” Caren said.) But I did ski with lovely form, made beautiful S’s, and with great control. So “hm” to that.
“Admit it! You had fun today!” Caren and Victoria kept insisting.
“I would not call spending a day gripped by fear ‘fun,’ but I am very satisfied with what I accomplished. I’m proud of what I did.”
And….I will probably go again.