You Don’t Need Skis to Ski

People who grow up in Colorado are almost always asked the same questions: Do you smoke weed? Do you like the Broncos? Do you ski? The assumption is usually yes for all of these, so people are always shocked when I tell them I’ve never skied… until Sunday. I realize I haven’t posted in a while, but this post is going to be story time. So gather round the proverbial campfire and listen up. My tale requires the utmost imagination to enjoy it fully, so turn on your brain televisions and read on.

Before Sunday, I had never skied before, unless you count the day I spent in a ski academy when I was like four years old. The only lesson I remember from that day is, “Pizza!” So when we arrive at the very top of the mountain and I have all my gear on, we set forth on a nice easy trail and I start sliding down the mountain. Gaining speed, I don’t know how to slow down except for “PIZZA!,” but this isn’t enough to save me. Ten seconds of skiing later, I’m colliding with my friend, another novice, and we both crash into the snow. On the easiest track, I lasted ten seconds before falling over, and I took my friend with me. After struggling to put my skis back on and getting up, we make it the rest of the way down the hill with no accidents, that is until I reach the bottom and have to stop before falling into a ditch next to a cabin. Fall number two. So at the bottom of this hill, we start going again and on the way down, I think I fall two more times. My friend keeps telling me not to go straight down, but also not to go into the powder, so I try zigzagging, but I crash into the powder every time.

We manage to get down to a lift and take it up to the top of a hill, where we  head for another green trail. The only thing here is that it intersects with a blue, and my novice friend chose to go down the blue hill, though I’m not sure whether he meant to or not. So after having gone down two hills, I’m tackling a blue slope where, you guessed it, I’m falling down on. I really didn’t keep track of the number of times I fell down, but needless to say I was scared for my safety as I rocket down the mountain unable to control myself. I began to intentionally crash myself just to slow down. We make it down this hill and rather than take a lift, choose a nice, leisurely green track, which is my favorite one now. It’s leisurely and I get to practice slowing down and I don’t fall over. It’s after this nice, easy, fun trail that we come to the last lift and have to go all the way up.

We make it up and look at where to go next. We choose another green one that happens to deposit us on the same blue hill we’d just gone down, only farther down. This time, I make it all the way down without falling, except at the bottom when I try to stop. We go down the same green trail one more time and ride the lift up, take the same green trail again, and finally the same blue one, except we take the lift from the end of the blue hill instead of continuing on the green one. This lift takes us to the top of the mountain where we started the day. One of my friends wants to go see where the ski resort is building new stuff, so we head over there, only we take the wrong trail and end up at a tow line. It turns out skiers are supposed to tuck it between their legs and sit going up, but I saw people grabbing it, so I thought I was supposed to do that. I heard yelling from behind me, which I later found out was to tell me I was doing it wrong, but I thought it was for someone else. However, I just about had my arms pulled out. I could barely hold on and several times I thought I was gonna lose my grip and slide back down the hill. Making it to the top, it’s extremely windy and I can hardly push myself along because it’s flat and my arms are tired and the wind is pushing me away from where I want to go. We wait on my other friend to arrive and keep going, though the wind is strong enough to where as I’m pushing myself along, I’m being pushed by the wind closer and closer to the edge of the mountain and blue slopes. I eventually make it and we take another two green courses, where we end up at the same ski lift that took us up to where the car was. We take this lift to the top and find the missing fourth member of the group, deciding to go back down the mountain to the bunny hill and night skiing area since the other lifts were closed.

When we arrive, we eat some pizza in the lodge and go back up the mountain. This is where things go from fun but slightly aggravating to making me loathe skiing. At the top of the mountain, I immediately look for green courses. I see a sign behind some tape, so I think the course is closed for some reason. My friends take off toward a black diamond obstacle course and my novice friend goes with them. Thinking them stupid, I don’t follow because I’m pretty sure I’d kill myself on a black diamond course. I later found out that the black diamond is adjacent to the green trail I thought was closed, and it wasn’t closed. But anyway, I have no way to get down the mountain except for blues and blacks, so I muster up my courage and take a blue down, thinking that since I handled half a blue hill, this can’t be so bad.

I was wrong.

I tilt over the edge of this blue hill and because it’s kind of dark, I can’t see much detail in the snow. It’s also very steep (for me) and I can’t slow down or really curve myself, so I crash myself and slide about fifteen feet from my skis. I don’t want to try skiing down again, especially because putting my skis on on that slope would be damn near impossible for me to do alone, so I resolve to walk down the mountain. I get my skis over my shoulder and start walking down this ski slope. This next part is where the title comes from. By this point in the night, the snow is pretty icy, so my boots are sliding along and I can’t really stop them, so I just go with it. I squat down with skis over my should and slide down the mountain on my ski boots. There’s me, squatting down with skis over my shoulder, hurtling down the mountain looking about as stupid as a skier can. I found out quickly why skis are necessary, as the front of my boot dips into the snow and I’m flung forward, crashing my head into the snow and my elbow into something unknown (probably the skis). This one actually hurt and I was angry, so I just kind of sit their in the snow, in pain, and contemplate crying. I’m in the middle of the mountain alone, in pain, not knowing how best to get down, and I regret my decision to try skiing. It then occurs to me I can walk down the mountain if I go to the side of the course and walk through the powder, so that’s what I do. I walk down the mountain until trails merge, put my skis on, and manage to ski the rest of the way without injury. I sure as well wasn’t going back up again, so I sat by the fire until my friends were done. When they were done, we left and I was thankful to be leaving.

Now that I’m calmer, I can realize my mistakes and consider them funny, but skiing still isn’t something I’ll do again until I can afford classes, or at least afford skiing at all. And that’s the story of my first time skiing. It was fun, it was painful, and I fell down a LOT, but most of the time I was enjoying myself. If nothing else, the views from the tops of the mountains were spectacular and I’m glad I got to see that. Overall, it was worth it for the one time experience and next time I’ll be a little smarter. I just want all of you to remember one thing from my story: you don’t need skis to ski.

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