Friday, December 3, 2010

You don't need lessons!

Hectic day today so I'm going to offer myself up on a platter for your general amusement.

When I was in my early 20's, my friends Lee, Kevin, and I went skiing. I had never skied before, mainly because the thought of hurling my mass down a mountain on long sticks seemed, well, like a really bad idea. But they wanted to go and so I found myself spending a weekend driving to West Virginia to Snowshoe.

We got there, bought our passes, got our boots and started to gear up. Lee and Kevin both had ski bibs. I was wearing stirrup pants (it was the 90's, I was stylin!), a sweater, a turtleneck and had a lightweight, hooded fleece coat. Lee offered me his ski bibs because he's just really awesome like that, so I pulled them on. They were really tight around the hips and thighs, and when combined with my first experience in ski boots, walking was a bit of an issue as evidenced by my falling down the first steps I had to navigate. In falling, not only did I injure my pride, I also snapped one of Lee's bib straps. So far, skiing was not really all that much fun.

Once out on the snow, Kevin kept his promise to show me how to ski. It was a quick lesson. Point the toes of your skis towards each other to slow down/stop, never cross your skis, keep your knees slightly bent, point the skis in the direction you want to go, if you need to stop and can't, fall.

Not exactly confident in my 10 minute ski lesson, I dutifully followed Lee and Kevin towards the chair lift. While Kevin had covered the v stop on snow, the path down to the ski lift was ice. So when I pointed my toes in, all that managed to accomplish was taking out 2/3 of the ski lift line. Oops! The best part of that? Kevin and Lee stuck their arms out to stop me, and I took them down with me. That should have been Kevin's first clue that I might not have been ready to ski solo. Or on a hill of any sort.

Getting on the ski lift went well, but when I had to hop off, more innocent bystanders were included in my personal collateral damage radius. I did a lot of apologizing, but it was funny how all of a sudden, I had this huge, clear space around me. Lots of room to fall, which I did a lot since it was my preferred method of stopping since it worked immediately.

I went down the bunny slope a few times then moved to the next trail and did....okay. I was really slow, though, and ended up taking a break while the guys actually skied instead of babysat me as I inched down the slopes trying not to maim or kill anyone else or myself.

After a brief rest, I felt a bit better, so off we went for the last run of the day. I was following Kevin and all excited that I was only falling now on purpose, so I wasn't paying attention to where we were going or what the level of difficulty was.

Big mistake. Huge.

We were on the last section of our last slope of the day. I was wearing my el cheapo sunglasses, but they had gotten fogged up, so I was trying to un fog them and wasn't paying too much attention to the fact that I was slowly starting to move to the last hill. Putting on my sunglasses after mostly defogging them, my skis felt funny. I looked down to see the first 6 inches of ski sticking straight out.


Uh, we were on an expert slope. The hill was so steep that until the majority of your ski was on the hill, your skis stuck out straight. I froze in panic. I remember looking around in horror at Kevin as my body went over the edge of that hill. Lee was halfway down already and had stopped to wait on us. Once I headed down that hill, I think I went from 0 to 60, because things were racing by in a blur. All I remember thinking is 'don't cross your skis, keep your knees bent' over and over in my head. I tried pushing out the back of my skis in a V so that I would slow down, but I was going too fast. Then I zoomed past Lee, who was staring in horror at me hurtling down the side of this mountain. I think he yelled at me to fall or something, but I was still in mid "OH SH**T!" scream from my unexpected launch down this expert ski slope.

And then I noticed that at the bottom of the hill were a lot of trees. Big ones. All nice and barky and ready to break limbs and bones. There was no way I could stop in time, especially since my efforts at slowing down had done nothing.

So I fell. I just let my body fall back since that seemed like the smartest decision.

It was not.

Whether it was from the force of gravity pulling me down the mountain or what, when my back hit the slope, my body bounced hard on the ground and then hurtled forward.

My skis flew off. I'm pretty sure they were stuck in the snow like tomato plant stakes.
My hat flew off.
My glasses flew off.
So did the ski poles, gloves, my coat, and my scarf. And I started to tumble. I remember flipping over and over like I was in slow motion and seeing snow/sky, snow/sky, snow/sky, and then the people on the chair lift looking down at me in horror.

When my body finally stopped moving, the ski bibs were down around my knees, my sweater was up around my armpits, my coat was somewhere on the mountain, and I had snow in my boots, underwear, mouth, ears, and hair. I landed face down in the snow with my feet pointed toward the bottom of the hill. I sat up and tried to start putting my clothes back on and I see Kevin and Lee skiing effortlessly down the mountain, picking up my discarded clothes and equipment.

Somehow I got on the ski lift and back to the lodge. I don't really remember much of it at all, I just remember changing clothes when we got to the car to get something dry on and being chilled to the bone all the way home. Believe it or not, I hadn't broken a thing. At least, not that I knew about. But when I got up the next day? I was black and blue from head to toe. Kevin and Lee stopped by to ask if I wanted to go skiing with them again that day. No I didn't and I haven't done it again since. I mean, hello! I got the message, okay? Someone with such a strong connection to gravity such as myself should not, under any circumstances, tempt the gravity gods by putting on skis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

brooke, i also hit the ski slopes with lee in west virginia. he was so patient with me. i mean really...cause i totally sucked at it. but i have to tell you that he enjoys telling the story of you and the black diamond slope called "the widow maker". and for the record, he was seriously concerned for your health at the time of the incident.

cynthia lail