Seven years ago, I strapped on a set of ski boots and skis and immediately fell down a ski mountain. For real. Did I mention I suck at skiing?
A little back information: though I grew up in the Northeast, my experience with skiing was limited to a few attempts in high school and college. And by “few attempts,” I mean “barely made it down the bunny slopes” and “let’s not talk about that unfortunate chair lift incident when I was a senior in high school.”
Suffice it to say, Lindsay Vonn I am not. At all.
When our kids came along, I decided that we would take advantage of living close to the Pocono mountains. When the time came, I signed them both up for the Ski Club at school, mostly because I didn’t want their mother’s inability to stand upright on skis to hinder their ability to enjoy ski weekends when they went off to college.
I’m a giver, I know.
And, because I’d been on skis a few times, I figured it was just like riding a bike. Well, in my case, a monkey riding a unicycle blindfolded but whatever. On the first night of Ski Club, I sent the kids to their ski classes and met a friend to do some light skiing until the kids were finished.
That ended in me falling end over end down one of the easier mountains. (Seriously, my friend still tells people about the yard sale I had on that slope: Everything must go! Poles! Gloves! Skis! Her pride!)
But, I didn’t give up. Night after night, year after year, I showed up and kept skiing. Slowly but surely, I learned not only to pizza wedge down the bunny slopes but I was able to actually get on the chair lift without mortifying my kids.
After a few years of spending long, lonely nights on the bunny slopes as my kids careened down the grown up slopes, I decided I was finally ready to attempt a real slope.
Again, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson.
That night started out full of promise and with me feeling confident in my ski skills.
“I’m going to join you tonight, kids!”
After hoots and hollers from the Fruit Loops, and even though I had my doubts, I donned my ski goggles and got on the big girl chair lift all the way to the top of that mountain.
All. The. Way. To. The. Very. High. Top. Of. The. Mountain.
As I stood at the opening of the easiest slope on the mountain, I pushed the panic away.
“Just pizza wedge your ass all the way down if things get dicey,” I told myself.
Sensing my apprehension, Fruit Loop #1 yelled, “Come on, Mah, just follow my ski tracks.”
And I did.
Very, very slowly.
I managed to get to the bottom of the first hill on the slope and took a look to my left at our next descent down.
And that’s when all the Nopes in Nopesville that ever Noped in the history of NOPE hit me hard.
I legit, full on panicked.
As in, you know that GIF with the guy yelling, “NOPE. Uh uh, NOPE NOPE”?
That was me.
I stood on that mountain and shook my head saying NOPE.
And I could not get my shit together.
“YOU GO AHEAD BECAUSE I HAVE TO LIVE HERE NOW,” I said to Fruit Loop #1.
After a few minutes of tense negotiation (read: him reminding me that it was physically impossible for me to spin out of control), he realized it was futile.
“I’ll ski down, Mah. You sit tight. I’ll send help up.”
And that’s how I began my life, living on a ski mountain.
I watched five-year-old skiers wave to me as they whizzed by.
When I saw a man on a snow mobile accompanying a snow plow, I flagged him down.
“Excuse me? I’m stuck. Can you help me get down?”
“Uh, NOOOOOOOO” he yelled with a WTF face and a curt wave. He followed with a “I’ll send someone down,” when he saw my crestfallen face.
It’s hard work, living on a ski mountain, you see. I wasn’t sure I was up for the long haul of sleeping on snow.
Finally, my knight in shining armor showed up.
With a ski sled.
And a whistle in his mouth, to alert the other skiers to make way for me and my humiliation.
Once I was loaded onto the Sled of Shame, he turned to me with a smile and perfectly white teeth and said, “You might want to pull your goggles down because I’ll probably kick up some snow on the way down.”
There’s more than one way to get down a ski mountain, ladies and gentlemen.
And, sometimes, when you are catching air on a ski sled with the snow misting your face, as your pride is riding next to you in tatters, you realize that someone has to be the one who is rescued.
It was my day to be rescued.
And I hope to return the favor someday.
Just as soon as my friends and family stop laughing about my ski adventure from hell.