I don’t go outdoors in winter, except for the length of time it takes me to get from a building to my car. That’s why even though my friend V has been hounding me to take up skiing, I’ve always refused. What is the point of it? You go up a hill, you go down a hill. Up, down, up, down. An exercise in futility.
But my friend V is nothing if not persistent. And persuasive. Every time I turn around, it’s, “I know you’re going to love skiing, JJ! (that’s my nickname). You have the coordination and core strength, not to mention you’d look great in a helmet!”
I do have core strength, in that if you give me advance notice you’re about to punch me in the stomach, I can tighten up my abs in such a way that your fist will bounce off them like a tennis ball. And I look good in a helmet.
But there are still many reasons why I can’t possibly ski – Sonny Bono, Natasha Richardson, my stance against winter sunshine, and my inability to tolerate wearing two layers of pants at once, just to name a few.
My friend V, who has a law degree, managed to shoot down all of these so that before I knew it, I had signed myself up for a ski getaway in Colorado with her, even though I don’t even know how to mount a chair lift.
Since our Colorado ski trip is coming up in less than a week, there was nothing for it but to test out the slopes right here in Northeast Ohio first. That’s why if you happened to be at Alpine Valley on Sunday, you may have seen me on the bunny hill for a morning lesson with about a hundred kids, my instructor Jim, and a guy named Suri.
Neither Suri nor I had ever been skiing, so we had to start with the basics, like popping your boot in and out of your ski and side-stepping up the slope.
It was a piece of cake.
Next, Jim wanted us to jump up and land with our skis pointing toward each other, which, in case you’ve never attempted it before, is not humanly possible.
Still, Suri and I complied, but afterwards he left for several minutes and we weren’t sure if he was going to come back. Next Jim showed us how to stop and turn and said something about pizza and french fries. Then it was time to hit the (very small, very crowded) slope. I knew as soon as Suri careened into a group of toddlers on snow boards that I was going to quickly surpass him, talentwise.
Jim had to spend a lot of time helping Suri stand up and disentangling him from groups of felled children, so I whiled away the minutes practicing all the fly moves I’d just mastered. Up and down the bunny slope I went, weaving in and out like a regular Picabo Street, if Picabo Street was about five feet tall in a leopard print jacket and skied at a pace of .1115 miles an hour.
Before ditching Suri and Jim entirely, I bade them farewell, and in order to make Suri feel better about himself, I explained that I thought it helped to have a low center of gravity. Then I moved onto the intermediate slope, where I totally busted.
I’m not ready to say that I “love” skiing yet, because even with a handsome total of four hours of ski time under my belt, I still feel like I could lose control and seriously injure myself at any minute. Also, I’m terrified of the ski lift and spend the entire time I’m riding it with my legs sticking straight out, mentally preparing for my dismount.
But I will admit that you don’t feel the cold so much when you’re actually skiing, and you can almost forget that you have on multiple layers of pants.
It just pains me that all the people who ever told me to “get some fresh air” keep turning out to be right.Did you like this? Subscribe to the blog. (It's free!)