A small van loaded with church youth kids is on a ski trip to New Mexico as I write this. Probably sitting in the front, the smallest and youngest of the bunch, sits my sweet niece Ashy (as my dad called her). She’s never been skiing before. I don’t know how she’s feeling right now, but I’ve chewed my fingernails to the quick. I took her roller skating a couple of weekends back and it’s a wonder she didn’t end up in the ER with a broken tailbone. What the child possesses in energy, she lacks in coordination. So please, send good vibes and prayers her way.
I remember my first time skiing. And my last. They happen to be one and the same. My memory of that ski experience is quite foggy, as it is with all bad memories after we’ve blocked them out, not wishing to recall such trauma and suffering. I was 100% convinced that I would be good skier, which only added to my humiliation when it was proven I wasn’t. I was young, in my twenties, and fit. I’d been eating healthy foods like cottage cheese and tuna, and my cabin mates laughed at me because I packed my “diet food” for the weekend get-away. I was prepared mentally as well. I had read up on the internet how to “snow plow”. I had interviewed others and they all said skiing was easy, a piece of cake, I had nothing to worry about.
Me and skiing went together like bean dip and a long car ride.
To begin with, the ski weekend fell on a holiday, like President’s Day or something. I enrolled in a free ski lesson with about 200 other skiers. With a large student/teacher ration, I didn’t get a lot of practice or one on one attention.
Added to my lack of instruction was the whole issue of snow. Me and snow go together like mini-skirts and cellulite. Yes, one would imagine that I would be aware that in order to snow ski, there must be snow. But it was snowing on me, and I was cold and miserable. Then the sun would come out and I would get hot and sweaty.
After about 1 hour of waiting my turn to go down a small hill that was strictly a training mountain, my face was cold, my hands were sweaty, and my abductor muscles were screaming.
I’d like to tell you I couldn’t ski because my boots were too small, or my skis were too long, or my pants were too tight, but the fact of the matter is I just sucked. My husband came back to find me. Oh yes, he was there. He had deserted me at the ski lesson and gone up the mountain with his friend. I told him I was not having fun. He suggested we go up the bunny slope and try it out. Maybe having a longer distance might help.
The bunny slope was littered with people. We started off and I didn’t know how to steer. I had only learned how to snowplow, and everytime I turned my feet inward to slow down, my hip muscles cried out in pain. I was having so much difficulty, my frustration was at an all time high. The only sensible thing left for me to do was to take off my skis and walk down the bunny slope, expletives flying. I was glad to go and the three skiers I had taken out were too. I was miserable and crying and I vowed I would never ski again.
And I haven’t, nor will I.
Ashlynn, however, is cut from a different cloth than I.
She’s got fortitude. And determination.
And we’re hoping strong bones.