How I am Learning to Stop Worrying and Love Like Gravity
When it comes to skiing, there’s a difference between what you think it’s going to be like, what it’s really like, and what you tell your friends it was like. ~Author Unknown
Never, ever in my whole entire life did I imagine that one day I would clap my feet into long, flat runners, ride up the side of a mountain then slide all the way down and then do it again. Living in a hot climate, the closest I had come to this activity was watching it on television during the winter Olympics. My mother has always been a big fan of downhill skiing and ski jumping.
Last March my foray into skiing began at Winter Park, Colorado. The ski instructor, Tom, was very patient and kept reminding us to have fun and me to relax and remember to breathe. The lift was an unexpected horror. I had the notion that you would be gently escorted onto the lift by the lift valet and that getting off the chair would be like stepping out of a car into the gentle hand of the other lift valet. I was so wrong! It was more like being a race horse herded up to position, the chair bonking you on the behind, holding on for dear life and then being tossed off the chair like a sack of oats. This may sound like an exaggeration now, but at the time it was unpleasant and unexpected. Tom said to stand up and lean forward off the chair. (Leaning forward seems to be one of the keys to the whole process of skiing.) When I finally believed him, it worked! My lift skills got really good. Who knew this was so important?!
“It’s a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.” Ed Viesturs
Slipping down the side of a frozen mountain for no apparent reason was my initial perception of skiing. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Yet everyone was smiling, laughing and seeming to have a blast. Getting to the bottom of this mystery was what kept me motivated to stick with it aside from the fact that my BF skis all over the planet and wants me to join him.
Al’s infamous run in Taos. The sign reads: “Don’t Panic!
You’re looking at only 1/2 of the Taos Ski Valley.”
I am not a thrill-seeker nor do I like high speed, and gravity worries me sometimes, but I am warming to skiing. One of my instructors in Taos, New Mexico said about himself, “I am not a graceful man, and I can’t dance. But when I ski, I am graceful and I am Fred Astaire.” My BF often mentions control and skill when he talks about skiing. My last instructor in Taos described skiing as a kind of meditation in that you can only think about skiing when you ski. You need to be present and aware. We skied all the blues together, and it did in fact feel like a moving meditation. Perhaps gravity is friendlier than I imagined.
A couple of weeks ago my BF and I went to Whitetail where I actually skied down a couple of black ski runs keeping in mind that the ancient mountains in the East are not quite as tall as the baby mountains in the West. Could moguls be in my future?
The Big pretzel has become a favorite lunchtime ski reward 😀
Mondrian inspired goggles (My favorite skiing equipment)
Who are those masked people?
Apparently Leonard Bernstein was such a fast and furious skier, they had to put a cowbell around his neck to warn others of his approach. 😉
Tags:Colorado, Leonard Bernstein, Mondrian, Seiji Ozawa, Skiing, Taos, Whitetail