My Adventures With Snow Skiing...And The Grumpy Old Fart!

It is no secret to those who know me well, that I absolutely HATE cold weather!  My family, however, all love to snow ski.  The kids learned how to ski and they and Robby really enjoy it.  Perhaps that is the key to enjoying the sport; you must learn how to do it when you are very young. I have however, accumulated a few snow skiing adventures over the years...back when I gave in and decided to "give it a try".

It has always been my motto to NEVER do anything that you truly are afraid of or don't like to do...and above  all, don't allow someone to push you into doing something you are not comfortable with.  Then, why, I have to ask myself did I ever think I could be made into a snow skier?!  First, let's just consider the mere fact that I hated P.E. in school and have never played team sports in my life.  Oh, I know that I work out constantly now, but that is totally different from being able to participate in a sport.  Second, I really do not like the cold weather.  Of course I think the snow is pretty, but after you get past that fact, there isn't much I like.  For starters, you must bundle up when just wandering outside.  And by bundling up, I mean you have to put on thermal underwear, thick socks, sweaters, insulated pants, boots, coats, hats, scarves and gloves...and THEN your face is still freezing!  That is unless you opt to wear one of those unfortunate looking hats that also covers your face.  So...after factoring all of that in, it still does not cover another VERY important reason I do not like to snow ski...I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!  Yea, and that, in and of itself, pretty much makes snow skiing for me miserable, if not impossible.  Now that you understand more clearly my dislike of the sport, I will tell you that I DID try it a few times...just to appease my family.

The first time I went snow skiing, the children were all young.  They caught onto the sport quite quickly; obviously more so than I.  Robby, who had been skiing for years (this snow skiing business is all HIS fault...), thought it best if I enroll in "Ski School"...hmph!  One might think that this is the very thing to do and for most people, I suppose it is; for me?...not so much.  Robby deposited all of the kids in their class, me in mine and then headed out to the slopes with his friends.  When he returned a while later, the kids were already able to ski like pros.  Upon arriving at my lesson, he found a different story.

I sort of think a lesson is "all about the teacher"...and unfortunately for me, mine was a "grumpy old fart"!  As I looked around at other women and ski groups, I noticed that they all had these cute, young, Aussie's, who dashed to their sides whenever they slipped down.  Why couldn't I have had one of those? Did they cost more?  They sure looked worth it if they did.  Needless to say, I ended up with the polar opposite.  My instructor was not only old in years (as evidenced by his "leather dog appearance") but had obviously been teaching skiing lessons for decades as well; probably thrown on a pair of skis to get himself to nursery school.  Anyway, he was not very tolerant of slow learners.  And while I may be a quick learner at many things...snow skiing is NOT one of them.  For one thing, I didn't even know the jargon used while talking about equipment, form or style; FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE...I THOUGHT THIS CLASS WAS FOR BEGINNERS!  Would you fold your arms, scowl and huff at a kindergartner on his first day of school if he had trouble reading?!  Well, MY "old" instructor did just that.  With every slip and fall I made, I could see the disdain and utter disgust on his face at having to "attempt" to teach me to ski.  And THAT settled it for me.  I would now REALLY try to get under his skin.  This became a game for me...it was just like being back in high school.  He had NO IDEA how hard he was going to work to earn his money that day!

After becoming convinced that "most" of the class has mastered the important aspects of snow skiing, our "grumpy old fart" told us it was time to get on a ski lift, go to the top of the mountain and then all ski back down...WHAT?!  HOLY CRAP!!!  There was NO WAY I was going up the side of a mountain, in an open, two-seated swing, suspended from a cable...HOW ABSURD!  Well, "grumpy old fart" told us we HAD to go (I now wonder...or what?  What would he do to us?  Not take the money we were paying him?) and then he asked a question that I am sure he wished he had never asked, "Is there anybody who is really afraid of heights?  If so, I will ride the lift up with them."  Perhaps he didn't think anyone would comment or maybe it was just a rhetorical question; something he was "required" to ask.  Glancing around, I saw that no one was going to say anything and I decided that although I did not like this "grumpy old fart", I wasn't going to let him get by that easily...I thought, "Time to earn your pay, Bucko!"  I quickly raised my hand and said, "Me!  I'm really afraid of heights."  I could see his whole physical demeanor stiffen, with resignation as he realized that now he was STUCK WITH ME for a ride up the mountain!  This thing was about to turn my way quickly.

As we neared the the top of the mountain, my "grumpy old fart" told me HOW to quickly jump off the lift, so I didn't cause them to have to stop it.  Just sit on the edge of the seat and pop off, while skiing away from the lift...RIGHT!  He popped off while I fell...flat on my back, with my skis sticking straight up in the air.  You guessed it...they had to stop the lift; that was "strike one"!  He gathered us all together, told us to NOT put the straps connected to our poles around our wrists and start down the mountain.  After continuing to fall, losing my poles and having to crawl back up to get them numerous times, he finally allowed only me to hook them around my wrists; that was "strike two"!  Everyone else in my class appeared to be catching on to this skiing business nicely.  However, I remained on my butt more than on my skis,which was quite alright with me...I could at least control where I headed from that position.  As my instructor became increasingly frustrated at having little success with teaching me how to ski, "strike three" was achieved.  While laying in the snow, completed exhausted by the task of making it down that mountain, he asked, "Do you even have compulsory physical education where you live?"  Well...THAT DID IT!  I, in turn replied, "And I am paying for this abuse?!"  Everyone else had made it down the mountain, but it was the instructor's job to stay with the last person until they finally made it too. As the bottom of the mountain came into view and the end of my lesson was in sight, I could see Robby in the distance...with the video camera.  He informed me that he had been filming me and my instructor "fighting our way down the mountain".  I hope he enjoyed it...because, I SURE DIDN'T!

I tried skiing another couple of times and didn't enjoy it any more than I did the first time.  I eventually came to my senses when I turned 40 and decided that I would NEVER put this body on skis again; it just seemed unnatural (and dangerous) to me to polish two pieces of board, stick them to your feet and slide down a mountain at high speeds.  And true to my word, I never have.  I like the beach.  I don't like going above sea level...and it doesn't like me.  So, all you skiers can have at it.  As for me...give me a tropical island any day!

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