Our whole household was awake unusually early on this sunny and cold Saturday morning. Weekends are usually reserved for sleeping in and errands, but today was planned. Our 11-year-old daughter was checking her brand new snow boots and jacket. Our 8- year-old son had his goggles on, moving from side to side, pretending to be on a snowboard. We were all going to ski and snowboard for the first time. I could see it now, both kids talking about who went to the higher slope.
We arrived at Dodge Ridge in Pinecrest a little after 10 a.m.. The parking lot was already full and the resort was buzzing, boarders and skiers of all levels lined up for tickets. We decided to take lessons: the girls in skiing and the boys in snowboarding. After dropping off the kids for an all day lesson (lunch included), my husband and I headed to the adult section for our shoes, skis and boards.
I took the shoes and found a seat. I grasped the right shoe and put it on. My foot went in smoothly. Then came the part where I had to tighten the clasps and lock them. I will be forever grateful to the ski resort associate who helped me put them on. Little did I know that once you put the ski boots on, your ankles sort of magically disappear. So I walked with my knees to get my skis. More of a march, really.
To my amazement, my husband was already outside, board, helmet and goggles at the ready, observing. I could see the excitement in his eyes watching the expert boarders, moving gracefully and confidently. I, on the other hand, started to feel dread as I walked towards the bunny slope. I was feeling like a fish out of water. My movements were not coordinated, there were too many things going on and my lesson had not even started yet. I stood right next to the instructor to make sure I captured everything he said.
The first lesson was how to put the skis on and take them off. OK, I can do this, I thought, starting to gain composure. Then we were taught how to stand properly, how to brake, and turn. There were ten students and all of us clumsily plowed through the snow, desperately turning with one foot while making sure we did not fall over. Fifteen minutes later, most students got the rhythm, but I still struggled. And this was just the bunny slope.
A demonstration of how to get up the slope was given and we all successfully reached the top. Then the instructor asked us to go down in turns. At this point I was quite sure I had not mastered braking yet and I uttered a grunt of apprehension. There were four others ahead of me and they were waiting at the bottom. I did not want to look like a loser in front of the other students, so I sighed and started to head down the slope. As my speed picked up I only grew more apprehensive and panicked. How was I to brake, again?
Before I could think of the answer my fall was broken as I broad sided one of the women in the group. I tried to use the poles to brake but it was too late. I was the center of attention for the next three minutes. What was I doing? It was cold, but I was sweating. My cheeks were red, not from the wind but from embarrassment. How could I have failed so miserably? First, my ankles were non-functioning and because of the skis, it felt like my foot was elongated three times in front and in back. I tried to remember all the instructions but trying to recall all of them at once just made me frantic. Where was my husband, I wondered and how is he doing compared to me?
No sooner than I had these thoughts when I saw him approach me. He was on his board and had seen my collision. While I was struggling to learn to ski, he was doing magnificently with his board. He took to it like a fish in the water. I reassured him I’d be OK and that he should go back to the slopes.
We returned our boots, skis and board and headed to the children’s area to see how our kids were doing. Our daughter was second in line to go down the highest level allowed for her age. When it was her turn, she adjusted her goggles a little bit and whizzed by. On the other side, our son was dragging his board with one foot, his cheeks were flushed but he was beaming at us. Clearly, their day had gone very well. We all piled into the car to head home. Everyone talked about what they plan to do next time. When it was my turn, I sheepishly replied “Maybe I should snowboard since I surf…How hard can it be?” For more information on Dodge Ridge, go to http://www.dodgeridge.com/site/contact.php--CB
Celia Baula is a life science management consultant who loves to travel. She believes in living life to the fullest everyday, responsibly.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 02 February 2011 00:33)