Tuesday, January 30, 2001


Another thing that has been occupying my time is my newly acquired hobby of skiing.

Well, actually I did attempt one other ski trip, back in '94. My friend Ben, who has been skiing since birth, kept encouraging me to go skiing with him some time. With his vast experience, he'd be able to show me how to ski. So a group of us planned a trip to Seven Springs. Unfortunately, due to an illness in the family, Ben had to drop out at the last moment. Not to worry, he assured me, I could just learn from the guys who were going.

So I rented my skis, and while we were going up the lift, I asked my friends for some pointers on skiing. Skiing? No, they only knew how to snowboard. Oops. So I went down the mountain -- once. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Ski, pick up speed, fall. Oh sure, the repetition may be annoying you, but at least you're not falling over constantly. I got to the bottom, turned in my skis, and put off the sport of skiing for a while.

Well, the weekend before last, I took it up again. We went to Whitetail. This time I took a lesson. And it made all the difference in the world. I had a certain amount of fear based on my experiences trying to learn how to do other things involving coordination -- like rollerblading. If I tried to learn with a bunch of people, almost everyone else would get the hang of it quicker. The instructor would say, "Do A. OK, now that you've mastered A, here's how you do B. And C. Now try D." Meanwhile, I'm stumbling along trying to figure out A. As a result, I was very nervous right before the class started.

I needn't have worried. I don't know where on Planet Clumsy they found my fellow beginning skiiers, but boy did they make me feel better by comparison. Half an hour into the lesson, we were ready to practice going downhill. A little. We would walk up the hill for a minute, then ski the distance we had just covered. Simple enough. I found myself picking up more speed than I'd like, but I'd turn at the bottom and slow to a stop. Not my classmates. They were constantly falling down, running into each other... After an hour or so of this routine, it was time to inflict them on the rest of the slope via the lift.

After riding up, the instructor gave us coupons for hot chocolate and a $29 return visit. He was doing that, he said, in case we got separated on the slope. After skiing down a little bit, a group of us waited for the rest to catch up. We noticed the instructor heading back up to help someone who had fallen and couldn't figure out how to stand up again. Someone said, "Can we just go? It's not like he can stop us." So we went.

I had fun. If you look at the trail map, I only skiied the two tiny ones on the far left. But I had fun. And I only fell once, getting off the lift. And I knocked over some orange cones. Woo hoo! It was so much fun that I wanted to go back the next weekend...

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