Dec 20, 2013, 07:10AM

Winter Wonderland or Ski Demons?

I feign enthusiasm when winter comes.

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It’s ski season. This time of year my family and friends start planning ski trips and my anxiety sets in. I can cross country ski all day but when it comes to downhill, I’m a spazz.

When it comes to sports, I lie. My husband asked me to play racquetball on our first date. I told him, “Sure, I play,” even though I’d never held a racquet in my life. I frantically called around until I found one, pretended it was mine and proceeded to make a fool of myself on the court. I’m sure he realized I’d never played before but asked me for a second date just the same.

My high school boyfriend asked me if I skied. “Of course I do,” I said. If you live in Western Maryland, you are supposed to know what to do on a mountain with snow. I didn’t. We went to Seven Springs where his buddy was a ski instructor. I knew I’d be great at it when my boyfriend bought me a purple ski parka with fur. How could I not expertly freestyle down the mountain looking hot in my new jacket? Tim tried to stay with me in the beginning and even had his instructor friend give me a lesson. They soon realized it would take me hours to finish the beginner trail, gave me moral support and raced off.

Tim and I went skiing numerous times during our young romance but I never seemed to improve. He was patient and continually tried to teach me to no avail.

My children are big skiers so I feign enthusiasm when winter comes. I’ve been in every position on the slopes, all of them prone. The worst is when you fall and your legs, with skis attached, are lying in two different directions. Usually when I’m in this splayed position, kids no taller than my knees are speeding past me sans poles. If you’ve ever been planted in the snow like this, you know the tremendous amount of upper body strength it takes to get up. I usually spend a good portion of the day just extracting myself from the powder.

Once, on the last fall of the day, I landed like a Lycra-clad cannonball directly on my backside, so hard that I bounced into the air before landing back on the same spot with a loud thunk. My glove and the Chapstick from my pocket slid down the hill and my left ski detached with such velocity that it shot down to the end of the jump, across a road and into the wall of a cafe. I cried. A father and his two children came over and asked if I was okay. I was so frustrated all I could say between my sobs was, “I lost my Chapstick.” He quickly led his kids away and I’m sure warned them to “stay away from that woman.”

Sometimes, I’ll hide in the corner of the ski lodge and drink hot cocoa. Then I’ll go stand at the ski lift until I see one of my family members. I’ll exclaim, “Wow, I just had three great runs.” They usually congratulate me and ask if I want to go inside and have a hot drink. Works every time.

This year will be no different. I’ll head to the resort with big expectations, probably take another useless lesson from another unfortunate instructor and end up most of the day snowplowing and eating snow.


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