I think everyone knows by now that I’m a giant klutz, and no one would dream that I could learn to ski. But my brother CJ and sister-in-law Lisa were taking all the kids out to Colorado for a ski vacation and I thought maybe this was the opportunity to finally shine at something athletic. I mean how hard could it be? So Dan and I signed up for the beginner’s class on our first morning.
The instructor took us all to the shop to rent boots and skis, and we practiced clicking the skis on to the boots. Naturally I was already struggling, but figured the fake it ‘till you make it philosophy would work well. So we headed out to the bunny slope and I hear click click click all over the place as people strap their skis on, and realized faking it wasn’t really helping anymore. Dan to the rescue as usual, and we finally managed to snap on my skis. Unfortunately by the time we finished with that the class had already moved on to the bunny slope. I tried it a couple of times but I could only ski halfway down before falling and rolling the rest of the way. It was pretty discouraging, especially when I looked up and saw that the rest of the class had already moved on to the next slope.
I cheered up when the instructor called time for lunch, but then I realized he was waving me over to talk to him. Stop me if you’ve heard this one…he told me he felt I was too far behind the rest of the class and wouldn’t be able to catch up after lunch. He offered me a refund and suggested I just keep giving the bunny slope a try. Fine. As we know from my lame attempt to learn how to dance, I’d been down this road before.
At dinner that night I told my family that I was done with skiing, and planned to shop and nap and sip hot cocoa for the rest of the trip. And that’s what I did for the next two days, although when everyone else came tumbling in from the slopes, laughing and talking about the day’s adventures, I felt really left out.
We only had two days left in Colorado when my niece looked me in the eye and said she was disappointed in me for not trying harder to learn how to ski, and it was sad that we would never get to ski together. Ouch. That did me in completely.
Clearly I had no choice but to try again, so first thing the next morning I decided to start fresh and hired a one-on-one ski instructor; that way I could not be compared to anyone else and we could go at my own snail-like pace. Bill The Instructor was great; he helped me with all the equipment and talked to me about how I learn new things. He asked me what I hoped to get out of the lesson and I told him I wanted to be able to meet my family for lunch at a place I hadn’t been able to get to because I couldn’t ski.
We skipped the bunny slope and went straight to the ferocious beginner’s slope. Bill showed me the t-bar that I was supposed to catch as it came by and sort of sit on while I was dragged to the top of the hill. I figured no way, but with Bill anything was possible because he refused to let me fail. Before I knew it I was gliding up the hill on the t-bar. I was so proud of myself until I realized that getting up the mountain was just the beginning; I still needed to learn how to ski. I fell a lot of course, but Bill kept telling me I was doing great and to keep up the good work. Huh? This was unfamiliar to me. We made it to lunchtime and he still hadn’t given me the sympathetic talk and offered me a refund. It was a pivotal moment in my life.
Ski Adventure Part II soon to follow…