Monday, March 22, 2010

First Time on Skis

I do not think it is a secret that I am not a big winter enthusiast. That can be a hinderance in Scandinavia considering it has been winter now, or what I would consider winter, for about six months. That said, I took on the challenge of attempting to ski this past weekend.

Perhaps I was not what you would call a natural. I think I was a bit hampered by fear. Typically, I am not fearful of such things but after a near brush with death last year biking on a Colorado mountain, I was a little more cognizant of my own mortality. I had been mountain biking for a few days and growing more confident each day. Translation: doing stupider and stupider things without a helmet.

This culminated in me biking down a rocky mountain slope with my dog on a leash. The dog suddenly jumped in front of my tire and I invariably fell while going really, really fast and hit my head. Thankfully, at that time, I was pretty ignorant of head injuries and impending death. It wasn't until later when a celebrity of sorts fell and hit her head skiing that I realized how serious such things can be and also a friend of mine's mother, an ER nurse, clued me in on such injuries.

So now I am a bit skittish. Fear is your worst enemy when trying an adrenaline sport such as skiing. Fear also comes with age. That seems almost counterintuitive. It does, however, explain the five year olds buzzing past me and the fifteen year olds flipping down the mountains on their snow boards.

First off, if it involves packing a lot of gear, it's not for me. Skiing involves packing a lot of crap. Boots, skis, hats, gloves, snow pants, base layers, scarves, poles, helmets. Far more planning than I care to engage in. And the boots? Seriously? Torture devices if ever there were any. "Who does this" I kept asking myself.

The first day: We get up and put on all the stuff. There I was: prepared to go out on the slopes or a moon mission. It could have been either from my perspective. It was raining. After an early morning lesson by our Russian ski instructor, my daughter and I sat at a picnic table, in the drizzle, amusing ourselves by trying to come up with places we'd rather not have been. Other than in a hospital (which was an entirely possible outcome) or in a doctor's office receiving a fatal diagnosis, we were coming up short. A weekend getting water boarded at Guantanamo Bay outranked the present circumstances. At least it was warm at Gitmo and they were serving decent food.

Day two was better. The sun was out and it was a warm day. My daughter and son by this time were whizzing down the hills and by lunch time I had actually stopped falling. I never graduated past the easy slope but I overcame my fear and was actually somewhat addicted to going down the hill "one more time" by the end of the day.