On Saturday, after an easy morning, we headed to Lost Valley in Auburn, ME, to test our mettle at skiing. Jeremy had been skiing once or twice before, and since we got a leisurely start on the slopes that day, he offered to save us $60 and 2 hours by showing us the basics on the bunny slope. In the following bunny slope pictures, Denise is in the light blue jacket, Jeremy is in the red jacket with the black pants, and I’m in the red jacket with the white pants.
My favorite piece of advice was actually from a mother to her (very) young son Ben. As she ran to the bottom of the small hill, she asked him, “Okay now, what do you do with your skiis when you want to slow down?” And he replied, “I make a slice of pizza!” Now let me tell you, that kid will be on his way to the Olympics in a few years, he had the slow-down “v” ski-formation thing down pat!
The problem with a very small bunny slope is that it makes you feel like you’re getting the hang of skiing, so after a few “runs” you decide to figure out the whole ski lift thing by just going ahead and getting in line. And your friends tell you what to do: “At the top, raise the bar and when your skiis touch down, stand up and push yourself forward with your poles so you’ll get out of the way!” Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not as easy as it sounds or looks, people. Seriously.
Yep. That’s me. White snow pants and red jacket, realizing that what they don’t tell you is how slippery snow (and ice) are!!! Go ahead, click on the picture and enlarge it. Get your giggles out. As if sprawling out at the base of the lift wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t get back up because I couldn’t get my weight distributed right and my skiis kept sliding out from underneath me. This was a moment not so unlike the first time I rode my motorcycle onto base and dropped the bike right in front of the guard shack. Luckily, I’ve developed an ability to laugh at myself. Realizing that I wasn’t going to get up gracefully the ski lift attendant came out of his little hut to assist, but I had already taken my skiis off, preparing to walk to a flat spot and step back into these
death traps winter fun footwear.
Admitting that we were, in fact, beginners, Denise, Jeremy and I headed down a relatively easy ‘green circle’ route, the Chipmunk. Sounds relatively harmless, huh? But damn them mountain trailblazers apparently forgot to put up GIGANTIC NEON FLASHING SIGNS the rest of the way down the mountain to remind us snow bunnies of just how, exactly, to follow the “easy” route down the freakin’ MOUNTAIN. There is NOTHING that can prepare you to go from a tiny, walk-uppable bunny slope to attempting to get to the bottom of a mountain from the top. (Why can’t you get off the lift halfway up??)
The first time I was able to yell “Man down!” was about, what? 25 feet down the Chipmunk Trail? I, apparently, can ski to the right with ease but once I head to the left I gain “scary-speed” and before I can turn my body to head back to the right, I fall. Repeatedly. And, because I didn’t practice falling on the bunny slope I had no idea how to get back up on a slope. The first time I fell, two very nice boy-kids helped get me up while Denise laughed. I have to admit, it must have been hilarious to watch me, but after that experience I had to figure it out the getting back up part all by myself (which I did). I’m now a very adept getter-upper, and proud of it!
Denise did however, manage to capture my skiing prowess in these stunning sequential images:
In total, I went down the mountain three times. It should be noted that Denise stuck with me through these three runs, never leaving me too far behind and trying to help me figure out what my body was supposed to do in order to get me to the bottom without killing myself. I was grumpy and had “had it” after two runs, but a dad skiing down some of the steeper trails with his (again, very small) son (who was between dad’s skiis and holding onto a horizontal pole that dad also held, a method that immediatley made me wish for a dad the size of a giant that could ski) called out to me, “Keep trying! It’s fun!” I guess I should mention that I was sitting on my butt at this point. I replied, “Alright, but I think I need one of YOU.” His encouragement and Denise’s prodding got me on the ski lift for the third time.
On the third (and my last) run, I made it more than halfway down before falling! [And, in my defense the part where I fell (twice, in a row) was right where you have to slip down a “more difficult blue square” trail (e.g., STEEPER) for a bit, avoiding the SKI JUMPS (eeekkk!), and maneuver through a little hole in the orange mesh fencing.] And I somehow developed an odd way of skiing where I assumed a quasi “slice of pizza” stance which allowed me to control my speed but not to turn, so I basically came straight down the last big hill but I wasn’t scared, didn’t fall and didn’t crash into anyone else. In fact, I made down that damn mountain basically unscathed and in a much better mood than my previous two runs, which left me wanting a mug of hot scotch and a hot tub.
Thank god for good friends, kind strangers, warm snow pants and later… pictures to commemorate the entire, embarrassing, hilarious and exhilarating experience. 🙂
So… I’m ready to try skiing again! Although this time I think I will spring for the professional lesson because, you know, I’d like to ski down the mountain and look like I know what I’m doing! Who wants to go with me?!??! 😉