Back in early January I posted some jauntily optimistic thoughts on making it through winter in New England (others might think I was ass-tastically stupid, which I started to think myself during the third polar vortex). I can only assume, from your total silence, that you are wondering how it went! So here are my thoughts, looking back on our first Winter Skiing Experiment.
Let’s start with an epiphany I had, while skiing Sugarbush mountain in Vermont a few weeks back during my daughter’s spring break. As I snowplowed behind my eight-year-old and my husband, both of whom just started skiing and yet seem to have some natural talent that I do not possess, I suddenly realized this: I have no idea how to ski. Seriously none. I guess this is fine, except I realized it while on an intermediate trail at a sizable mountain.
My only goal for the season had been to not kill myself and, having set the bar so low, I would have to call it a success! But as I looked at all the skiers zooming by me, I tried to figure out how they were looking so graceful and yet fully in control. I even tried to copy one person but I just ended up with both my poles flailing in the air. I decided at that moment to start next season with some lessons. Wait — next season? Did I just say that? Because that would imply that I am agreeing to do this again.
You know what? SIGN ME UP. Because other than that time a few weeks ago – if you live in New England you will remember it because it was this one day when everyone collectively freaked the hell out because we COULD NOT AND WOULD NOT TAKE THIS PUNK ASS WINTER ANY MORE! Other than that, I was mostly fine this winter. Not thrilled, mind you, not all jazzed and I certainly had some grouchy days — but I was way better than in recent winters, and this one was cray-to-the-zee.
So here’s what I really want to say: we had a blast. Although I’m the lightweight who stayed in with the toddler unless it was over 25 degrees and sunny, I went out often enough to discover that skiing and snowboarding and the whole culture surrounding it is pretty joyful. The fun is infectious, which I guess explains how I found myself rocking out to Tiny Dancer in the lift line: Hold me CLOSEr, tiny daaaancer… What?
People are out there enjoying the day and burning some calories. And, can I just tell you? About seventy-five percent of the time that you’re skiing you are NOT COLD — oftentimes, you’re hot! It’s crazy, but you actually want it to snow when you are in the mountains! Sounds ludicrous but it’s true.
I know it is annoying when people try to tell you what they believe would improve your life; I don’t want to be that self-righteous dolt who claims to have The Answer. Skiing is expensive and tiring and, especially if you have kids and their gear to lug around, can be really challenging. I’m not recruiting you for anything and I swear I did not become a sales rep for Rosignol; I’m just reporting back on my experiment.
Here’s where I make a confession. Come in closer. Closer. Okay, here it is: I don’t actually care about the skiing. I could take or leave that part. The part I like is hanging out with the family, having some shared activity after a week of doing our own things, being active, and being outside. I’ll never be like the guys I overheard talking about the mountain like it was a person: “She’s pushing back a little today. She’s a little crusty, a little feisty.” But I spent hours and hours outside this winter (again, usually not cold) when I would normally have been inside, complaining and inhaling stale air.
And if I haven’t convinced you yet, I will say in conclusion that the beer you drink after skiing for a day — or even taking a few runs and then hanging out in the lodge — will taste better than any beer you’ve consumed in your entire life. I’ll even buy you one if I see you on the hill (that’s ski talk). And maybe I will see you on the hill next year — I’ll be the one learning how to ski.