Since we’re getting somewhat of a more traditional life back together now, we thought we’d keep the spirit of adventure alive through our Bucket List. So we’ve challenged ourselves to continue to regularly cross things off. Because of the time of year and the fact that it was Danny’s Birthday, the first bucket list challenge taking a ski holiday.
Before we get too far into this let me defend myself. Yes, I’m from Pennsylvania, and yes there are ski resorts within 45 minutes of my house. The problem is my parents are from the Midwest, where people enjoy cross country skiing, not downhill. Then there is Danny, from Ft. Lauderdale, where the only skiing is done with a tow rope from a speed boat on water. Enough said. Sure we’ve skiied down a volcano and even a sand dune but snow…that was something new.
“Dude” and “You” take a lesson
We arrived at the hill just after opening and were thrilled to find out we were the only adults signed up for the morning lesson. The instructor, a typical ski bum, called Danny “dude” no less than half a dozen times in the first 20 minutes, leaving me to be named “you” for the lesson. “You,” she asked me, “Why can’t you pick up your feet? This isn’t the Olympics.” As I looked around at the other lessons, I saw four year olds advancing faster than us. Thirty minutes in, we had progressed to allowing gravity to pull us slowly down a 2% incline. Progress it seemed, would take time.
Figuring there was no way we’d be “hitting the slopes” that day, I was shocked when no more than three minutes later she ordered us to the ski lift. “Shit,” I thought, as I struggled to the lift, unable to propel myself through the snow with any sort of grace or speed. Sure enough, I ignored almost all the instructions our ski bum had given us and arrived at the chair freaking out. Fortunately the resort was practically empty (a benefit of going during the week) and chair lift guy stopped the lift to allow me on. Humiliating to say the least. Flopping back into the chair lift, with the safety bar down I reminded myself it was “just like the sky ride at Disney World.”
Thrilled to have escaped injury or death on the chair lift, we made our way to the slope where ski bum worked on our “wedge” and promptly took away our polls. Wedging down the slope, we made it in one piece, and headed back to the chairlift, where we passed the 4 year olds whose learning curve had slowed drastically. This time, without our polls again, we learned to turn, and a third time to go faster. By the time we were at the bottom for the third time I had built up enough confidence and our day began in earnest.
And then it got interesting…
Hitting the steeper run wasn’t so bad…until I hit the steep part. At that point, some rather unlady like words audibly escaped my lips and I pretty much freaked out until half way down when I realized I wasn’t going to die. Of course, I never admitted this to my husband, instead I agreed to do it a second and a third time, each time willing myself not to crash and burn before the bottom.
As we hit steeper slopes our mantra changed from repeating “I’m not in control, I’m not in control” to “Keep the wedge, I can do this, sharper turns, stop there.” Even though I had asked the ski bum if there was a proper way to fall – she advised just to ‘go with it’ and make it ‘spectacular’ – we really didn’t have but a couple of fairly minor missteps as we continued to larger slopes…even trying a couple of jumps at the end of the day. (We did however pass on the route labeled double back diamond.) It was a fun day and I look forward to working up to bigger hills and perhaps one day a real mountain, but now I’m content crossing one item off our Bucket List.
IF YOU GO: If you live in any kind of vicinity to some slopes, you can probably find a cheap place to do what we did by doing an Internet search for “inexpensive ski resorts near” and add in a zip code or a city name. We found an article by a local news station that featured at least 10 sites and we chose the closest one, which also happened to be the cheapest. The whole day (lessons, tickets, equipment) only cost us $70 total for both people, mostly thanks to the generous midweek specials. The hills though were not mountains which made them great places to learn on but not a place to spend a week by any means. If we go back, we’ll likely take snowboard lessons.