Saturday, January 26, 2008

Newspaper column

After a week of listening to my furnace battle near record-breaking lows, I'm already daydreaming about spring. Sure, snow is pretty, but I get over it the second I have to break out a shovel.

I bet the outdoor buffs are shaking their heads as they pull on a layer of thermal underwear for a weekend jaunt down a few ski slopes, but I'm just not that enthusiastic. Even as a kid, I only stayed outside long enough to warrant a cup of hot chocolate.

It's not like I didn't give winter sports a try. Granted, it was a million years ago, but I honestly did attempt to maneuver down a mountain with those crazy slippery sticks fastened to my feet. I was in fifth grade and the ski club was my elementary school's hot spot. So one afternoon I made the gutsy move of penciling my name on the sign-up sheet.

I figured if I chickened out, I could always flip the pencil over and take advantage of the eraser.

But my parents paid the bus and ski rental expenses, so I felt committed. Fortunately, one of my closest friends was an avid skier and agreed to hold my hand through the process -- literally, as I flailed down the bunny slope.

I remember walking through the drafty ski-fitting area with trepidation. Everyone seemed to know exactly what they were doing except for me. Not to mention I hadn't made it outside yet and I was freezing in that open-air plywood bungalow.

As a first-timer, I was shuffled along with other novices to a free lesson. The instructor made it sound so easy.

"Just shape your skis into a pizza wedge when you want to stop," he said.

Simple enough. Pizza. No problem.

Then we were told to grab onto a handle as a mechanical pulley system tugged us up the slightest of inclines. At the top, we would ski down while intermittently practicing our best pizza formation. While I stood in line for my turn, I watched as pint-sized toddlers flew down the hill with ease. Not only did they get from one end to the other without falling down, but they didn't even have poles to help keep them upright.

Surely if they could do it, I could do it, I thought.

I was wrong. I faltered, fumbled and tumbled my way down. I had snow in places I didn't know snow could go -- like my tear ducts and inner ear cavity. For the first time in my life, pizza had failed me. I wanted to admit defeat, crawl to the lodge and wait by the fire until our scheduled departure time.

But my friend wouldn't let me give up until I had at least given the bunny slope a try. She assured me it was simple and said that if I didn't love skiing by the time I got to the bottom, she would personally escort me to get a cup of hot chocolate.

Well, I do not love skiing. If anything, my horrible experience solidified the sport in my Things Never To Do Again mental file folder. It was so bad that I took off my skis halfway down the slope after nearly careening off a cliff. Then I awkwardly trudged along in boots that were not made for walking, tears streaming down my face.

My membership with the ski club was short-lived.

Now that I have a little perspective on the situation, I'm glad I was brave enough to give it a shot. But for this girl, pizza is best enjoyed hot with extra cheese. And preferably indoors.


julie said...

Bahaha!! I think I know which cliff you're talking about, and I almost careened off it too. I tried skiing on two occasions with my ex-husband's family. It's not for me. I'm much better off curled up by a fire with a book.

Wissh said...

Ah, but how will Alli learn to love the outdoors? Snow sports? Try snow boarding maybe? =) said...

I hear snowboarding is easier to master. (I went skiing once too. On ice. I, too, do not ski.)

Great photo - in yesterday's post!

Ray said...

Awww, I'm sorry you had such a crappy experience. Some people just aren't cut out for winter sports. I probably could be added to that list, and I've never even gone skiing. It's just something that I know I'd never be good at (although I'd love to learn how to snowboard, though that seems equally hard as well). But you're right about one thing: pizza is good hot with extra cheese. =)

Take, care.

Ray said...

P.S. Since it's not spring yet in the meantime check this out (This is something to look forward to, that you can do with Allison in the Spring/Summertime. Or even sooner!):

Enjoy! I absolutely fell in love with it! And there's tons of other videos you can check out too on there.

dividedsky58 said...

My first time skiing I also ditched the skis and walked down. But I eventually got the hang of it, and snowboarding. now I couldn't imagine NOT snowboarding. Love, love, love it. What a beautiful little girl you have.

sarahhhh said...

no way, 5th grade is such a life time ago. you have to try it all over again! u must. (ps- snowboarding in my opinion is 1000x harder) skiing is fun.

you can always try cross country skiing first. an afternoon gliding my way through a beautiful area is the best mediation i've ever done.

Tiffany said...

That's my story too... but add in that I was 20, my boyfriend left me at the top of the hill, I fell and ended up in the hospital with a concussion and sprained neck. I, too, hate skiing. :-)

Emilee said...

I live in Colorado, the "winter sports capital of the United States" and have never been skiing or snowboarding. The thought of sliding down a steep hill with two thin pieces of metal strapped to my feet is not appealing at all. I would rather sit by the fire with hot chocolate too.

Dominique said...

Oh, thank God there is someone else out there with a "I went skiing & NO I don't like it" story. I went skiing to chaparone my husbands sisters girl scout group a couple of years ago..and wow.
I am not a big fan of near death experiences.
I flew down the slope faster than I imagine sound or light travel...people were screaming at me left and right to slow down but I didn't until I ran into the lift line and dodged about a dozen trees. After I crashed into the crowd of people I couldnt even stand I was so scared, I just cried and I couldnt even get my skies off I was shaking so bad! I couldn't tell you how hard I tried to pizza! But when you are going as fast as lightning and your legs are shaking asking me to "pizza" is like asking me to do a triple back flip off of a hill...really pizza at that point was like Olympic skiing talent.

chelsea said...

You aren't alone! When I was younger my family had rented a cabin in Vermont amd I decided to try cross country skiing (I mean come its basically walking with huge popsicle sticks on your feet) and I failed!

Kristin said...

I like pizza best that way, too :P


kristin said...

I'm with you on that one! I don't like the cold, snow or any of those winter sports. When I ski, I jsut end up with pants full of snow. No fun

julie said...

I can now intimately relate to your post about Alli dripping poo all over the place. Go read my post from this morning if you get a chance.