At 26 (i’m still 26, goddamit!) I have never been skiing. Its not something that ever appealed to me; I’m more of a bikini on the beach girl as opposed to having to put on all the clothes I own for fear of catching hypothermia, and heading out into what is essentially frozen rain, which in my opinion, is worse than normal rain.
But, from afar, it does look fun, doesn’t it? Riding to the top of a mountain and then skating down a massive hill covered in fresh, sparkly snow. The Princess in me has always thought that the sparkly was fascinating, and wondered that if so many people enjoyed it, it could really be the bad (or that hard), could it?
I had failed to remember of course that at about 8 years old, my Dad had taken my sister and I to the ice rink, I had tried ice skating for about ten minutes and then thrown a strop over being cold and the fact that my sister was getting it and I wasn’t, and demanded to go home, never to return.
Glossing over that.
So this year, I decided to join my (super sporty) family in Mammoth Lakes, California, for three days of skiing / snowboarding / generally making piece with the cold. I was armed with a shed load of cold weather clothes, chap stick and an open mind on falling over in the snow, something that I do on a regular basis.
I got off the plane at the really cold airport, and went to get a taxi to meet my family, who had been snowboarding since Boxing Day. As I opened the taxi door and went to hop in the truck taxi, I slipped and slid under the car, mechanic style.
I can’t help to think, that with hindsight, this was an omen.
The day before I flew to LA I had been trying to be a big girl and carry my luggage down the stairs, slipped and fell and landed on my coccyx, so I had an achey bum to start off with, but I soldiered on.
The next day, I enrolled into ski school. Can’t be that hard, I thought, there are teeny tiny kids out there doing it.
My lesson consisted of 20 people, including a hot man called Craig who I made a beeline to with immediate effect. Craig (my new arch nemesis) took to skiing like a duck to water, and smugly checked in on my every now and then as I failed to do anything with any success.
Skiing looks easy. My thirteen year old cousin reinforced this belief, by telling me she had got bored of it and turned to snowboarding instead.
ITS NOT FRICKIN EASY.
The idea was that you made a pizza shape with your skis to stop, and the shape of two fries net to each other to go. Eaaaaaassssyyy.
I got that fairly quickly, but it turned out that I have an overwhelming propensity to veer left, for no discernible reason whatsoever. My group found it endearing the first few times, until I got to the top of the teeny slope, skied down a few metres and then veered left, taking out my entire class INCLUDING HOT CRAIG. Jesus, my fool proof plan of meeting and marrying an American and never having to leave San Diego had suddenly taken turn for the worse.
Luckily, we then broke for lunch. I informed my Aunt that, as an adult, I wouldn’t throw a monumental strop and I would go back (complete with torturous ski shoes) for the afternoon portion of the lesson. slightly encouraged by hot man, obviously.
When I got back to the group, we had been split into two. Hot men (or as they called it, ‘apt skiers’) and complete idiots (‘taking slightly longer to feel confident’). upon reflection, I am eternally grateful for this.
The afternoon session saw us walking to a different part of the mountain that was slightly steeper, to learn a bit better. I got half way, and as we began to walk up the hill, I somewhat successfully managed to ski about 10 yards down the mountain, BACKWARDS. The t**t of a ski instructor caught up with me and informed me that he couldn’t understand why I “Just hadn’t gotten it yet’. *!&#* I clearly wasn’t being a skiing idiot on purpose! I followed him up the mountain and promptly did it again, but this time I fell at the end of my dramatic (and impressive) backwards ski, got my skis stuck in the snow and totally lost the plot. I got up in tears, dramatically threw a pole, closely missing a small child and declared I was giving up. I sat there for a while and had a flash back of when the surf board hit me in the face a few years back, and decided I didn’t want to be labelled by my family as a serial giver – uperer. I went back.
So, to sum it up, the afternoon lesson was cut short by my ability to veer left. I successfully veered left into the flight path of the chair lift on two occasions, before tearfully sticking ym skis in the snow and retiring my short ski career.
At least I tried.