My 12 New Things

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Thing #1- December 2009- Attempted Downhill Skiing

In true overachiever fashion, I began my New Year's Resolution of 12 New Things in 2010 in December of 2009.

If you know me, you're probably aware that I've always felt the most comfortable with my feet firmly on the ground. This preference, coupled with my fear of heights, made skiing something I was always to terrified to even fathom trying. It had never even crossed my mind to attempt, but when visiting family in Northern Michigan, my in-laws were taking my nephews to the nearby slopes. I thought to myself, "if small children can do this,  then I can too." I wasn't about to be trumped by a 5 year old.

The destination was Nub's Nob in Harbor Springs, Michigan and my goal was to make it down the bunny slope without breaking my legs or tearing up a kneecap.

Being a sensible gal, I signed up for a group lesson to learn the ropes. Looking back, the whole thing was a little like an out-of-body experience. I checked my dignity at the boot rental counter and hobbled to the great unknown.

My instructor was an older gentleman and a 20+ year veteran of ski instruction. I was thanking my lucky stars that my instructor wasn't of the young, hipster crowd. At least with a fatherly figure I could bear the embarrassment of my lack of skills without wanting to pop someone in the nose.

The next 90 minutes were some of the most humiliating of my life. I hobbled past skiing and snowboarding toddlers. Their self confidence made me want to vomit.

I was with a group- a pretty young woman who looked like she was here with friends or a boyfriend and she was the only one who didn't know how to ski, a woman and her boyfriend/ husband who patiently took the lesson with her, and three children. I immediately scoped out the least skilled and stood near them so as to not stand out.

We learned how to snap our boots into our skis and then how to snap them out. We learned to make our way up the tiniest side of a hill in a horizontal fashion so as to not slide backwards. One by one we went uphill, then back downhill. It was no more than 10 feet of a slight incline, but it could have been the Rockies in my eyes. I fell at least twice within the first half hour. I learned how to get up without dislocating a hip. That, in itself, was an accomplishment.

When it came time to brave the lift, the instructor singled me out and called me from the back of the group to ride with him. I wanted to think it was because of my stunning good looks, but on the way up he informed me that he'd chosen me because I seemed to be the most likely to hurt myself and I was without a partner. Thanks for the overwhelming vote of confidence, guy.

No amount of preparation readied me for the dismount of the lift. Kersplat. The instructor had to yell for the operator to stop the lift while I navigated my rear from around my legs. I didn't even have time to be mortified. I was focused on surviving and not getting my head taken off.

We'd made it to the top of the bunny slope and I was terrified. It was a long way down and I'd already learned in my class that falling didn't necessarily mean you stopped. I was an experienced faller at that point and at the bottom of the hill was a large, sturdy building. Somewhere between the top of the bunny slope and that building, I was going to have to learn how to stop.

And I did. Without even falling. Even more surprising was the 90 seconds in there when I wasn't in absolute misery. In those brief seconds, I thought skiing could potentially be enjoyable.

Upon making it safely down to level ground and finishing my lesson, I immediately called it a day. I turned in my rented skis with a sigh of relief and a sense of renewal- retrieving my dignity in the process. I could go back to the world that hadn't seen me at my most uncoordinated and thought maybe, just maybe, I'll brave the slopes again someday.

It is safe to say that I was waaaay out of my comfort zone on this one. But, I made it through uninjured and my self confidence gradually resurfaced.  New Thing Number 1 accomplished. Numbers 2-10.... bring it on!

No comments:

Post a Comment