Thursday, January 29, 2015

Up In The Air

I am not and have never been anything even approximating an athlete. I happen to be blessed, however, with athletic friends who are determined to keep me healthy, even if it kills me.  As already mentioned here, my Fit Friend made me get back on my bicycle and ride a ridiculous number of miles over the past 2 years.  There's also Winter Sports Friend - I met her during the girls' homeschool skating sessions. Turns out she is really into skiing.  Her children learn to ski when they are just 4 years old.

My kids? Don't learn much of anything at that age, actually.

So! Because her two youngest girls and my two youngest have hit it off during ice skating, Winter Sports Friend decided it would be a great idea for us to take all 4 of them skiing at a nearby resort, on one of the half-price days.  In a fit of insanity, I not only agreed to this plan but also announced that I, too, would take a beginner ski lesson.

Because skiing is a good sport for people who are scared of heights, right?

Today was the big day - we all piled in Winter Sports Friend's car and headed for the mountains.  Her skiing-adept kids jabbered excitedly, while I wondered for over an hour if there were a graceful way to avoid humiliating myself in front of my children.  I couldn't think of one, however, and soon found myself being outfitted (with Winter Sports Friend's guidance) for skis, helmets, boots, poles.

At no point during the day did I look like either of these people.

By the way, walking in ski boots?  Is really, really hard.  I was exhausted by the time I staggered over to where the lesson would be held.  I got through the first part of the lesson without embarrassing Rachel and Susie by falling over, and then the instructor said, "Okay, now, let's go over here to the chair lift!"

By the way, have I ever mentioned that I cannot get Susie on an escalator?  Do you know how many stinky-smelling service elevators and creepy out-of-the-way stairwells I have had to endure due to Susie's aversion to moving stairs that go up in the air?

So! Chair lift.  At these words, Susie stopped dead in her tracks.  "He's just going to show us how it works," I reassured her (and myself). "There's a Magic Carpet conveyor belt thing-y over there that we are going to use.  I looked it up.  Don't worry."  She shrugged and we stepped/glided to where our teacher was already giving directions on how to use a ski lift.

"Okay, you stand between those gates, and right after a chair passes you, you move forward, so the next chair comes up behind you."

Fat chance of that working out, I thought, picturing my uncoordinated self face down in the snow after being hit in the back by a motorized bench.

"To get off, you flip up the bar and wait until you reach the flat part - then you simply step off the chair and glide.  Get out of the way quickly!" he said to the bunch of us, newbie skiers who still couldn't glide properly, let alone with any amount of speed.

"Okay," the instructor pointed to me and Susie and another young victim. "You three get in the gates and take the next chair.  We three will follow in the next one."


"Come on!" he said, motioning toward our doom. "Let's go!"  To my surprise, I saw Susie start to move forward, leaving me no choice but to follow.  I glanced up at the extremely open-air chairs dangling high above the ground. Insane.

"Okay, get ready!  Move forward! Forward!" our crazed dictator of a teacher commanded, as I prepared to be heinously injured by a contraption that was looking more and more rickety by the second.  "Sit! Sit!" he yelled. "Pull the bar down!"

And the three of us were up. Just like that.

"Well!" I said to Susie, as brightly as I could muster, considering that we were obviously creaking toward our deaths, miles above the ground. "Aren't you a brave girl! Wait until Daddy hears!"

Chalk one up to facing your fears and conquering them, right?

"I am NEVER doing this again," Susie said quietly, staring straight ahead. "NEVER."

Can't say I blame her...


  1. I want to know how the getting off worked out. I've done this ONCE and only once.
    Signed, a fellow fear-of-heights non-sporty type

    1. We got off a tad too soon the first time, which was awkward but still worked. The second time (yes, he made us go up a second time) went better, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was about to get hit in the back of the head by the chair.

    2. But how did you get back down the hill?
      Seriously, I begged the guy to let me ride the chair lift back down. He denied me and I have blocked out the experience of falling back down the mountainside..

    3. I HATED being on that lift. I figured I could slide down the hill on my butt if I had to. But I managed to sort of snowplow all the way down.

  2. So I won't tell you about the time that I waited a bit too long on the lift getting off and had to jump! Worst part, I knew I was in trouble right before I jumped, but for some reason started laughing. You can imagine how pretty all of that was!

    Now I find myself heading to northern Vermont with the entire family, grown kids & spouses, to ski on what may be the coldest day of the winter so far. Did I mention I hate being cold? And the last time I was at this mountain, I almost froze going UP the lift.

    The things we do for the sake of the "children."

  3. I had an acrophobic anxiety fit just reading your post. I am comforted by knowing that the fact that you posted here means that you survived the experience.

  4. Those chairs still make me breathless. So scary but still so sensible to move people UP the hill...

  5. I'm so glad you left a comment on how it worked out! I was worried when I saw that your post ended with both of you still on the lift.

  6. Hah! I'm better off on the chair than on the snow!