When I was about 15, my eldest brother (the one who doesn’t speak to me anymore) taught me how to downhill ski. Though I wasn’t the most coordinated of teens, I was damned if I was going to do anything wimpy with my big brother as my instructor, so I went for it and discovered that I wasn’t as clumsy as I thought I was. Over the next 5 years or so, I became a strong intermediate-level skier.
Somewhere along the way, I realized I couldn’t really afford skiing and I stopped doing it. Every year I would think I needed to start up again, but the thought of shelling out a minimum of $50 for equipment rentals and a lift ticket, plus gas and lunch and a hot toddy at the lodge just seemed like something I couldn’t justify. Eighteen years went by. And then this spring, when we were at Jodi’s hillbilly party, Mr. Vox bid on and won a silent auction item that included 4 lift tickets to the ski resort outside of town. I rustled up Jane, who has an annual pass, and we went up the hill on New Year’s Eve.
Jane considerately asked if I wanted to try the bunny hill first, since it had been such a long time since I’d been on skis, and I decided that if I was going to break my neck, I wanted to do it early in the day and save time. We hit the high-speed quad and went to the top of the hill. Our first run was really bumpy, as it was very heavily skied already, so other folks had carved enough turns into it to start a bunch of mini-moguls. I get all panicky when I’m on bumps, and I squeaked my way down. Then we found a much smoother run and we were off to the races.
I had such a great time. My body remembered what to do, and I only biffed of my own accord a couple of times. The other time I fell was because an ass-hat snow-boarder ran into me on his way past. The last time I skied, there were only a handful of boarders on the mountain at any time. In fact, a lot of resorts didn’t even allow boards. And now I wish it had stayed that way. A lot of people had good manners, but there was a disproportionately high number of kids on boards who were neither in control enough nor proficient enough to be on crowded slopes. Or, they were just a bunch of assholes. Or a combination of those things. Hard to say. So anyway, this kid clipped me and knocked me down. The only warning I had was an oncoming, “Whoa!” before I got rolled. Somehow, he managed not to fall. And I was so busy getting up off the ground before someone else ran me over, that I didn’t get a good look at what he was wearing. That’s just as well, because I would have confronted him as soon as I found him again.
Please, teach your children to at least holler “Sorry!” after they crush someone’s mom into the snow.
Here’s a shot of me that Jane took at the top of our first run. As you’ll see, I was wearing a helmet. Those are new since the last time I skied too, but it seems like a very good idea. And yes, I ski in farmer clothes. My friend Sterling says that Carhartt needs to give me my own line of clothing. I think they should call it “No B.S.”