This weekend I went skiing for the first time.
(Well, technically I went once when I was eight, but I refused to get a lesson or learn how to stop, and thus spent a morning hurling myself down the beginner slope and falling over at the bottom — and then walking back up, because I also refused to go on the tow thingy. (I know I’ve said it before, but MAN, sometimes I feel sorry for my parents. Little Katie was a pain in the ass.))
We drove up Friday night. I neglected to take any pictures, so here is an artist’s impression of the house:
We were up and on the mountain at an ungodly hour of the morning. I was the only one of the group who’d never been skiing, and everyone except Jeffrey vanished immediately to do daring things at high altitudes. Jef was itching to impart some knowledge, so, gear acquired, he lead me down to the bunny slope to put on my skis. I almost fell over just getting them on.
“Okay,” he said, once I was upright. “This is a pizza slice.” He demonstrated. “Got it?”
“Got it,” I said, approximating his stance.
“Sweet. I’ll be back in half an hour.”
He zipped away. I pointed myself downhill, assumed my pizza position, and pushed off.
You guys, skis go FAST.
I also learned fast as I hurtled, out of all control, towards a class of six-year-olds. I managed to dodge them but, in trying to turn, lost my pizza. I picked up more speed. A group of beginner snowboarders milled in front of me. My legs wouldn’t bend. I had no idea how to turn. I clipped a fallen outlier, which slowed me down enough to dodge a toddler and his father and find my pizza slice again.
Somehow, millimeters from the queue for the magic carpet, I managed to stop. Later, Jef said to me, “you must be a fast learner — I saw you as I was leaving and you were going really fast!”
Not on purpose, dude. Not on purpose.
Later, he came back to check on me. I’d been practising my pizza for half an hour and was pretty sure I could now successfully come to a halt. Eventually. At very slow paces. In a straight line. “Want to go up further?” he asked me.
I WANTED a hot dog on a stick.
You’ll note my skillful stance and confident demeanor.
My lesson was at 12. I strapped my skis back on, post hot dog, and pizzaed my way there. The instructor looked at me. “This lesson is going to waste two hours of your life,” he said. “You don’t need it.”
“All I can do is stop!”
He pointed at the rest of the class. Three of them were stuck on top of a foot-high drift, too scared to jump off it. One of them was on his ass in the snow. The others gazed dimly around, skis in hand. “Look at these retards,” the instructor said to me. “In two hours, most of them probably still won’t be able to stop.”
This didn’t sound right to me. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d paid for a lesson. “Are you sure?” I asked.
We watched a chubby Asian tourist attempt to jump off the tiny drift. She fell over, rolled onto her back and lay there. “Oh,” he said, sounding despondent, “I’m sure.”
I went back to what I was doing. An hour later, I was pretty sure I was an awesome skier. I could point myself in a direction and eventually get there. I could come to a stop at varying speeds, and I hadn’t fallen over once. (I ran into a fallen snowboarder at one point, but since his upright friend broke my fall, I wasn’t counting it.) I’d even mastered the platter (I gots the lingo!) (I googled the lingo), so I was pretty sure I was basically a pro.
I got a text to say the others were at the café for lunch. “I’ll be right there,” I replied, and leapt onto the platter. This shit was old hat. I zipped along, poles tucked neatly under one arm, chuckling fondly at all the beginners around me still doing their beginner-y things.
Ha ha HA, plebian newbies, watch me and see how this shit is done!
Thirty seconds later:
By the end of the day I’d more or less mastered turning in the direction intended in roughly the time frame desired. I could stop, go and not fall over almost at will. I came off the mountain ready to celebrate, and promptly crawled into my bunk and slept for 12 hours while everyone else went drinking.
Skiing is awesome. I can’t wait to do it again.