As you might have concluded from this post, I am not athletic. The idea of snow sports wasn’t really even on my radar until I began attending private school in sixth grade.
Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, even waterskiing, wakeboarding, and water tubing were all foreign to me. In seventh grade, we had a day ski trip scheduled to Bear Valley ski resort. I wanted to try at least, and signed up for the ski weekend and a ski lesson while I was there.
After going through the rental, boot fitting, and equipment pickup processes, I went to my lesson.
I should probably stop here to remind you that my family doesn’t do any snow sports. At all. I borrowed snow clothes. Bright yellow, suspendered, marshmallow-like snow pants and a mishmash of my own jackets and sweaters. No goggles. I’m not even sure if I had gloves on that trip.
I was already feeling pretty embarrassed, but it got worse when within ten minutes of the skiing lesson starting, my skis had gone from parallel and close together in the proper form to a sliding, slipping V that ended in me crying in pain while my knees were inverted between my skis and my ankles were trapped in my boots. I couldn’t stand up to free myself, reach my boots to unclip them, or fall over sideways to stop the pain. I ended up being helped by an instructor and carted off to the first aid station where I swore off my skis for the day and went to sulk in the lobby with my ankle elevated and watched everyone else ski from the window.
You’d think after all that, I’d just smile and nod when people talked about snow sports.
In college, a group of friends and I decided to go snowboarding over a long weekend. We stayed at L’s parents’ big house, and enjoyed a good portion of the weekend watching movies, laughing and playing games.
The day we went snowboarding, I left the house clad in another borrowed snowsuit and determined to learn to snowboard. It seemed like fun, and despite the fact I’d never truly learned to even skateboard, I was ready to learn.
I rode the lift up a couple of times with A, on a slightly harder hill than the bunny hill and he guided me down, teaching me the ways to “cut” the board into the snow so that I’d control how fast and where I was going.
I began to get the hang of it, excited that I was learning. I began thinking that maybe what people told me about being either good at skiing or snowboarding was true, and snowboarding was just my thing. But, that’s also when it all went downhill.
See, A had a crush on V. And V didn’t know how to snowboard either. So I went up the hill with the two of them, and was promptly ditched the moment we hit the hill. Not sure if I could manage on my own, I tried to maneuver my snowboard the same way, but after wobbling like a bow after it’s been shot and having my feet slip right out from under me, I decided the hill was a little too much too soon to go by myself. Dejected, I unthinkingly took off my snowboard and removed the safety wire that kept my snowboard attached to my boot.
I also didn’t realize you could ride the lift back down.
I began hoofing it down the hill, slipping and sliding as I went. A particularly nasty fall landed me flat on my back, and my snowboard bounced out of my hands. My rented, probably $300 snowboard.
It landed slippery side down, and went flying down the hill faster than I could get up to snatch it. I sat there horrified as it sailed merrily past confused looking snowboarders and past the grouping of trees on the side of the slope. I hoped it’d hit a tree and stop, but it managed to slip between all of the gaps and disappeared from sight.
I stood there gaping at it for a few minutes, before trudging down the hill, dodging snowboarders that gave me weird looks and asked questions half-to-themselves as I passed them. After managing to arrive back at the lodge, minus my snowboard, my friends began to ask what had happened. I had to go to the reception desk, file a report, and let them know what happened, between eyebrow raises and incredulous looks that wondered why I didn’t know the way a ski resort worked. The woman at the desk roughly said that if they didn’t find the snowboard, that I’d be charged for the full replacement cost. As a college student that had spent most of her extra funds on even going on the snow trip in the first place, I left the resort with a lump in my stomach at my oversight.
I am glad that six years after the fact, I can laugh about the whole thing, especially the sight of the snowboard sailing off into the distance. However, snow sports are lumped in with the other athletic failings I have. I think I’ll stick with sledding or tubing if I am visiting the snow.