Clueless Adult Skiing
By Garinè Isassi
People who ski are really addicted. They love the thrill of speeding downhill with the risk of splattering their limbs on a tree as they accelerate. I’ve always found it be a bit nuts, like bungee jumping and skydiving. I love a good hike, but I was never what you’d call an athletic person. I am the first to admit it – lounging is my sport of choice. I am really great at lounging with a book and a glass of wine. If they ever put that in the Olympics, I am on the team, for sure.
When I moved to the northeast as an adult, I thought I should join the goggled throng and see what all the fuss was about. Some of my neighbors had been skiing since they could walk. They were on ski teams in high school. It was a way of life and totally alien to me. So, I took up the gauntlet when I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at a relative's mountain house.
Since I didn't own any skis, I needed to rent. I walked around the wooden-floored shop of the lodge, trustingly following the teenage ski bunny in charge. The lithe, young woman piled up my open arms with a jacket, skis, poles, goggles, and boots. Struggling under the weight, I thanked her and headed to the staging area where I started the process of gearing up.
Nobody warned me that getting dressed for skiing is like a Geisha Kimono wrapping ceremony. Layers of silk long johns, then jeans and shirts, and then snow pants and jackets, gloves, hat, and eye cover. The boots, with their velcro and buckles, took me 10 minutes to figure out. Then I hobbled out into the snow, working the boots into the clicking noise that said they were attached into the skis. I was sweating, looked like short, bulging astronaut exploring the moon, and I immediately fell over.
While others sped off in all directions, I lay there like a beetle on its back, flailing my arms around until a set of boys took pity on me and helped me to an upright position. I'm sure that I was supposed to be impressed when the boys said they were heading for the black diamond trail, but ignorance lends itself to cluelessness, which leads to being unimpressed by the impressive.
I groped my way to the adult beginner skiing class. Once lined up in the class, it was striking that all of us came here with someone who grew up on skis, while we all grew up in some hot locale. I was raised in Texas. The guy to my right was from Mumbai, India. He was here with his fiancé - a Jersey girl. To my left was a woman from the Philippines. Beyond her was a guy from Arizona.
Todd, our ski instructor, taught us the squat, the slide, and the butt wiggle. Then up we went to the top of the baby slope. Within 30 seconds I was on my back again. During the few moments when I was not face-planted in the snow, it was fun. Although I was the best at the butt wiggle, crashing every few minutes did not bode well with me. I was a bad skier. I had to admit it. You have to be strong and agile to be great skier and I think you have to a great skier to love it.
I stuck to the bunny slope that day and eventually managed to get all the way from the top to the bottom without falling. Maybe I'll work myself up to actually going to the top of the mountain . . . or I could perfect my lounging technique by the fire in the lodge while everyone else is dangling from the ski lift.
In the end, I am a beach person versus a mountain type. Hanging out under an umbrella and building sandcastles is definitely more my speed than throwing myself down a mountain. I choose grabbing a towel, sunscreen and bathing suit over the pile of equipment heaped upon me for skiing.
The main thing I learned is to appreciate how hard it is to ski well. Go ahead and call me a wuss. I can take it. Pass me the hot chocolate on your way out to the black diamond.
Author Garine B. Isassi is a wife and mother to three children. She is debuting her first fiction novel Start with the Back Beat (She Writes Press, April 2016) and you can connect with her at http://garinethewriter.com.