I’m not sure why my parents took my brother and me skiing in the first place. They grew up in snow, but in Chicago, where mountains are illegal. This meant that my father knew exactly what he was getting into with driving in snow and subjected himself to the swear-word intensive process of putting on tire chains anyway. He doesn’t like any kind of mechanical object and the feeling is mutual, so taking up a sport that involves putting a rack on the car seems like a doomed enterprise.
My mom let him do it, so she must have been interested at some level. I know she bought herself powder pants and a matching jacket in a flattering shade of gray (this from a person who compelled me to wear a series of extremely ugly and unbecoming hats while skiing. Life, even full of privilege, is unfair.). The sound of her slowly lumbering through the ski lodge has become a family legend: swish, clunk, pause to regroup, repeat. My dad, as a confirmed jock, did better, giving up at the point where my brother and I out-skied him.
My brother and I went to ski school. In my first lessons, I managed to learn to turn, but not to learn how to stop when the ground was not nearly flat. My first trip up a lift ended in me streaking down the run sitting on the back of my skis and hoping I wouldn’t crash into anything too hard. Obviously, I lived and have in fact mastered several alternatives to crashing as methods for stopping.
In high school, I thought I was invincible on skis. I was right enough to avoid major injury and to have lots of fun. I loved the views, the cold air, the sun on my face, the speed and silence of the runs. Plus: cute guys!
Now I know I’m not invincible, so I ski more conservatively. I am only too conscious of all the things that could go wrong. I know what it is like to have a broken leg and I never want to have one again. Fortunately, T.R. is my skiing buddy and he is still learning. We have a handful of runs that don’t exceed his patience with falling down.
My old skis are vintage. Ski styles and shapes have changed a lot in the many years since I was in high school. I bought my boots back when I was far more concerned about how I looked than how I felt. This bit me last year when the too-small boots hurt enough that I didn’t want to ski too many days in a row.
But now: I am unstoppable. T. is excited to go skiing and I just have to get some dates on the calendar to go!!! Hooray!