That's right. I decided that for some reason, it was absolutely essential that I learn to alpine ski. I set my mind on it after being kinda pushed into the whole thing at the end of December. Let me preface this journey with a bit of history. I'm not athletic, I have little to no upper body strength (my arms are like wet noodles) and I'm pretty sure my cardio ability is ranking pretty low these days. Sports have never been my thing. I am functionally competent at a few things which are pretty much life skills, like skating and swimming. I can ride a bike, row a canoe and hike at least 5 k. The list pretty much ends there. When I was in grade 7 and 8 I was on the cross country ski team, so I guess that could count as experience, maybe? Let's just say learning to downhill ski wasn't something I was planning on ever doing.
Then when he was 7, Luke became interested in snowboarding. Seeing him going on those lifts freaks me the hell out! They're so high up! Until now his uncles have been helping out by taking him snowboarding now and then, but it's a lot to ask for them to do it regularly. Someone needed to get on the slopes with him, just in case. Someone? Anyone?
Well Todd wasn't super into it. I don't blame him. We both tried snowboarding last year and it was a pretty big fail. A hard fall and a swollen wrist scared me off of trying again until this December, when my sister in law encouraged me to ski with her on a trip to Detroit Mountain. I was convinced I'd be a wreak, and even more convinced that I'd probably break something this time. But, no. skiing came much more naturally to me. It felt a bit like skating, and required very little to no upper body strength. I was still going way too fast and bailed getting off the ski lift a few times, but by the end of a long first day skiing, I felt like maybe I could actually do this! It was fun and I was able to ride the lift with Luke, which was my favourite part.
Today we went to a local hill. It has two tow ropes, one lift, and is probably much better suited to snowboarding with jumps and features that I have no business getting close to. This was my second day skiing, but my first time doing it alone. Hey, DIY has never scared me away before! It took me a while to even find the easy slope, a narrow run between terrain parks. Once down, I realized that the only way back up was to use the tow rope. Crap. So I stood and watched for a long time, waiting for someone on skis to use the tow so I could figure the whole thing out. Yeah. All snowboarders. So, not even sure if I should attempt it on skis, I lumbered up and inched my way up to the rope. It took a while, like an embarrassing amount of time to position myself close enough without sliding backward into the snowboarders crowding behind me. Then, I grabbed the rope and zoomed wildly up the hill, dragging my poles beside me and occasionally loosing my grip so the rope burned through my mits. I did it again, and again and again until I felt ok with being slower than everyone else getting up to that stupid rope, and managed to let go somewhat smoothly at the top. My mitts are in rough shape, and I didn't enjoy it, but I did it and that's a big victory for me.
The biggest victory though was exercising my "you can do it!" spirit. Learning alone is hard. There's no one to give you tips or to rally you to keep trying. I've always had a cheerleader in Todd, family and friends and while that's awesome, it's made me reliant on having one. Maybe this whole learning to ski thing will teach me more than how to cruise down a mountain confidently. I guess we'll see!