I remember after Christmas break in elementary school that lots of kids would show up proudly displaying their “lift ticket thing” attached to their oversized winter coats. This sticker was of course earned after their parents dropped some serious coinage at a ski resort. Living in Kansas, this also meant they’d traveled a bit to find actual mountains. Despite going to college in Utah, home to many a ski lift, I never went skiing on purpose (I’m assuming you don’t count trying to stand on a sled as it rocketed down a hill… not one of my more graceful dismounts).
A few weeks ago we found ourselves at a ski “resort” up the road from my wife’s childhood home. It was my first time skiing on, well, snow, so I was pretty apprehensive, but since I was going to take lessons I took some solace in knowing that there would be athletic teenagers there to teach and help me. This understanding was shattered when the Mrs. HTF revealed to me that the lessons we’d booked were just for the kids. She was to be my “athletic teenager.” This was semi-ok because, well, how hard could it be? You just stand on these fiberglass things and pivot to avoid the larger trees, right? Outside the lodge I put the skis on for the first time. That part was the highlight of my morning of skiing. It was all “DOWNHILL” from there.
The first task was making my way over to the lift and generally moving around a bit. The ground was flat, but I was averaging roughly 2 inches per hour on the 30 foot walk to the lift with my skis on. After several minutes of serious effort I let Traci know that I’d be removing my skis and would watch happily from inside the lodge. This was where she put her ski-boot down. She was not going to let me quit. (I suspect this was partially driven by the amount of money we’d spent for me to go 6 inches on my skis. But I’m sure there was some tough love in there too) She made me fight through the panic and we somehow got on the lift. I liked the sitting part.
On the dismount from the lift I immediately fell down – this was a clear, and foreboding sign for the rest of the morning. Getting up was WAY harder than I’d expected, but I got lots of experience as I matriculated my way down the hill. Now it should be pointed out that the Mrs. HTF scores about a 7 on the patience scale. There are limits. She did a pretty miraculous job of getting me to not just get on the lift, but also to make my way down the mountain as well. But it should be stated, I’m quite certain she thought about leaving me on several occasions. Each time I fell I consistently couldn’t figure out how to put the skis back on. She’d help me out, but after the 20th time, the frustration was so palpable that I’m pretty sure thought about stabbing me with a ski pole and calling it an accident. Still, she stuck with it and somehow I made it down. But here’s the thing…
From then on it was relatively smooth, though not graceful, sailing. My kids picked it up really quickly, especially Sydney. At one point, and I’m not making this up, she literally skied in a circle around me while I went down the hill. We went back a few days later for night skiing – yep, I liked it that much! I’m sure I still look goofy going down, but I love it anyway and…
I have one of those sweet sticker lift ticket things on my coat!!
PS – Thank you, Traci for teaching me to ski AND for not leaving me to be eaten by confused moose