Avid skier? Depends on how you define "avid’
Some people would argue I’m not an avid skier, but I beg to differ. Granted, when I slapped on my tele skis last week to hit the slopes with my husband and daughter, it did occur to me that the last time the three of us skied together was on Jan. 21, 1993.
I remember it well.
Our daughter, Erin, was 2 years old that day and excited about her first day on skis. We rented some absurdly short skis, pushed her little feet into neon plastic boots and locked her in place. She couldn’t move, and we found that incredibly funny.
“This isn’t skiing, Mama,” she said, looking at her equipment. “People ski outside.”
Dang. She was on to us.
So we picked her up and carried her outside to the driveway, where she shuffled her feet and stayed in one place.
“I’m doing it!” she shrieked. “I’m skiing! I’m skiing!”
“You go, girl,” we cheered as she shuffled back and forth on the ice. About a half-hour later, she actually made it to the end of the driveway, at which point she called it a day. We encouraged her to get out on the street – “Look! It’s a hill!” we said gleefully, thinking that if she skied on the street we might see something resembling movement, or even speed. But she wouldn’t have anything to do with it.
She’s come a long way since that day in the driveway. Years of lessons have propelled her into a borderline racer, although her idea of a tuck looks more like that of our Deep South visitors than speed demon C.J. Mueller, if you get my drift.
In some ways, she’s as graceful as her father, gliding effortlessly down the steeper blue runs. In other ways, she’s a lot like me, using her face as a snowplow on the moguls.
But she enjoys it, and that’s all that matters.
Last week, however, was a little different.
The three of us, noting that Erin had never skied with her father and that the three of us hadn’t skied together in a decade, decided to check out Peak 7. I like Peak 7. The new part isn’t steep but it’s got dipsy-doodles and unexpected drops and it’s often wide open and free of skiers.
My first run, I caught an edge and fell into a tree well.
My second run, I yard-saled all over the slope.
My third run, I slowly, slowly slid down the hill, on my stomach, until I came to rest at the feet of a man in lift line.
Erin rolled her eyes.
“Mama, you’re not skiing as well as you used to,” she said.
“Mmrrff,” I said, wiping the encrusted snow from my eyes and ears. “I’m a little rusty. My, uh, my knees hurt. Yeah, that’s it.”
OK. So I got in a whopping four days on the slopes this year – half of which were by choice. The first time was when Peak 7 opened. The second time was at Copper Mountain when a friend came into town. The third and fourth times were at Breckenridge, for benefit ski races. I never place well in those races – my score is the one the judges usually throw out.
Six-year-olds beat me on a routine basis. But I try. I participate in those races so I can eat good food the night before and place my bets in the silent auctions. I love a good silent auction.
And after that, my so-called “friends” took me to the top of the T-bar and urged me to make some turns down Contest Bowl on Peak 8. A double-black diamond run, in the clouds.
I hadn’t been up there in years, and few people were very impressed with my ski technique then, either.
I couldn’t tell up from down. I fell just standing there. I lost a ski, a hat and a wee bit of dignity. And that was on the lift up.
But once I pointed my ski tips downhill, I slammed through the mogul field – with my face headed straight down the fall line. I didn’t know facial orifices could accumulate so much snow.
So don’t tell me I’m not avid. My dictionary describes avid as “desirous to the point of greed,” “characterized by enthusiasm and vigorous pursuit,” “urgently eager.” If you’d seen my face as I came down Horseshoe Bowl, you would have agreed. I was urgently eager, enthusiastic and in vigorous pursuit of getting to the bottom of that slope without ending up in an ambulance.
That, to me, was a day well spent in the life of an avid skier.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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