Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Watch Out! Middle-Aged Beginner Coming Through!

I didn't start skiing until we moved to New England four years ago. (I don't count an abortive attempt on vacation years ago in Colorado. Worst. Instructor. Ever.) Skiing isn't exactly in my blood, having grown up in a completely flat, seaside city where the highest piece of ground is a manmade hill composed of garbage covered in dirt and made into a park. (As Dave Barry would say, I'm not making this up.)

But we live here now, so we took up skiing. ("Good excuse to get outside in the winter," said Jim, the ultimate "when in Rome" person. He even bought a cowboy hat in Texas to ward off the sun.) Although I've been skiing for the last three years or so, I'm still in the rank beginner category. (Did I mention that I'm not a natural athlete either?) Thanks to some good instruction and a little (okay, a lot of) patience, I've mostly conquered my lift departures and can usually get through an entire day on the slopes without falling.

I've even reached the stage where, though I still rent my equipment, I know exactly what size boots to request and how to put them on. Even better, when I get out onto the snow, it actually feels almost natural standing on the skis. "Natural" being a relative term, you understand.

Yesterday we celebrated what we thought was the last day of winter break (who knew they'd be closing the schools today?) by hitting Pat's Peak, in Henniker, NH. Finally, the weather gods smiled on us. It was downright beautiful--temps in the low 30s, sunny, not windy. Pat's Peak is an excellent choice for the beginner (I'm trying to avoid the word "wienie") because you can buy a discount "Valley" pass for two lifts that take you up to some nice green trails: long and wide, curvy but not too steep, through the woods--but not through the woods, if you know what I mean. Perfect for perfecting your S-curves or even going fairly fast, if you've built up your courage (as I did toward the end of the day). "Fast" being a relative term, you understand.

A bonus of the Valley ticket: Off to your left (from the two-seater lift), you can watch the crazy kids snowboarding on the Turbulence Park and remind yourself why they invented helmets. (And why you don't want to make the wrong turn off the lift and end up on the double black-diamond Turbulence Park.)

My only tumble yesterday came when my husband and The Boy, going up on the lift ahead of me, dropped a ski pole. In my rush to pick it up, I slipped on the concrete departure ramp of the ski lift, fell, hit my hand hard (bruise to prove it), and then got hit by a lift chair as it came around the corner. Very graceful indeed. My husband says that the fall doesn't count, given as it came in a "no good deed goes unpunished" moment.

So--first time on skis since March, and a beautiful day it was. Despite the ski lift tumble, I'll call yesterday a success in my ongoing effort to move beyond "beginner" all the way to "intermediate beginner."

"Intermediate" being a relative term, you understand.


Blogger Rebecca said...

Stop! We are NOT middle aged! ;)
I'd like to think we are in the adolesence of our adulthood. :)

5:13 PM  
Blogger clipper829 said...

My husband calls me a "Sunday skiier" - sort of like a Sunday driver - I like my trails exactly like you describe, long, virtually flat, curvy, not steep - I'm a real easy rider! I basically love being outside, and I'll ski, as long as I don't go too fast and scare myself!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Well, my grandmother lived to be 102, so if I follow her example, I won't be middle aged for years yet. So maybe I'll go with that!

"Sunday skier"--I like it!

6:29 AM  

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