Monday, April 13, 2009

Skiing with Loved Ones: A Slippery Slope

I have now let several days go by with people thinking that I can ski, and that I had a completely successful trip to the mountains of Utah. Not true! I fooled you. But I think enough time has gone by that I can now tell the story of Day 2. Otherwise known as the story of The Blue Run that Wasn't. Or Swift and Simple Ways to Test Your Relationship.

On Day 2, I really did not want to ski alone and was very pleased when Rob, Spero, Bill, and Bill's friend Jim said that they would ski the blue runs with me. The easy blue runs. We had a nice time at first, the four of them speeding down the slopes, me teetering back and forth, bringing up the rear. We made our way further and further up and across the mountain, never doing the same run twice. One of the guys--I'm not even sure which one--had mapped out our path, and I was just following along.

Eventually, we exited a chair lift and had a decision to make. One trail was called Panorama, and it had an inviting, simple slope. The other was called McDonald's Meadow; it began with a precipice that you had to jump off of in order to ski the run.

The guys insisted I could handle McDonald. It was blue, after all. They flew off the ridge and down the slope. I stood at the edge and stared. Spero held up. "Enter from the side," he advised. "Don't go straight in."

Later, Bill told me that as soon as he got the feel of the run, he knew I wasn't going to like it. "It should have been at least a double blue or even a black," he said, earning my undying gratitude. But there we were, so I entered at an angle, like Spero had said, and tried to stay on my feet. I found myself on the steepest slope I had seen all day. "What is this?" I yelled several times to Rob, who had stopped flawlessly in the middle of the mountain. "Just go slowly, back and forth, use the whole width of the mountain," Spero said. Good advice, which I really tried to follow. But I immediately picked up speed, losing control, and tumbling down as one ski popped off and landed 15 feet up the mountain from me.

Spero and Rob watched as I inched up the hill, gracelessly, trying to grab the ski. Then I sat there for a while, thinking evil and misguided thoughts about Rob and how he had tricked me into this dangerous endeavor. There was no way I was going to be able to stand up and get my ski back on, let alone make it down the rest of this stupid slope without falling and ending up with a physical deformity. Spero took off, sensitive to the fact that I wanted to be alone with Rob so that I could express my actual thoughts about the experience.

I knew that it was inappropriate to be angry at Rob for the predicament I found myself in. After all, the geniuses at The Canyons had categorized this the same way as the other runs we had done that day. Yet I found myself directing much of my fear and frustration at him. Mostly, I sat there in a somewhat shocked silence, punctuated by flurries of I-Cant's (and, ok, some profanity.) But where was my can-do attitude from the day before? Where was my choo-choo train of confidence? Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Adult Ski Problem #1: Imagination. When you're a kid, your cushiony butt is already close to the ground; you don't have very far to fall. You are impervious to danger, and this knowledge resides somewhere deep in your baby fat. But grown-up novice skiers, they have a whole range of terrifying possible outcomes to summon up, all of which were leaving my traitor legs flat in the snow.

Rob tried to get me to stand up. Not happening. He tried to get me to put my ski on. I slid it at him petulantly. Bad idea, because I began sliding after it at top speed, screaming "Help me! HELP ME!" Not proud of that one.

I really was out of control, so when I got to where he was, Rob launched himself sideways and stopped my fall, smothering me. As happens when I am angry and embarrassed, I started to cry. We sat there for many, many minutes. My legs were rubbery and I simply could not stand up, so I gave one ski to Rob, grabbed the other, and scooted (in control, at least) down the mountain on my ass.

Right about then, Spero, Bill, and Jim showed up to see if they could help. They had skied down and all the way back around in the time that we were sitting in the snow, debating the merits of a continued relationship.

"Are you guys still married?" Jim asked, edging up to us.

Rob did not laugh.

"Oh, we're not laughing about this yet?" Jim asked.

I'm still waiting for Rob's answer on that one.


Elizabeth said...

Laughing out loud right now. At work. In front of people.

I don't understand where you came from? Between this and your fear of escalators that I never knew about, I'm going to say that I now feel 78% certain you are adopted.

Amanda said...

I am quite proud of you for #1: skiing, which having never skied, admittedly seems like a mythical activity to me, something only done by unicorns and people of profound athletic prowess, like, say, Thor, and #2 telling this story on your blog. This may be little comfort to you, my friend, but I would have done the exact same thing. Wait no, scratch that, I'd probably still be there.

Michele said...

Thank you thank you thank you! Sarah, this entry made me cry and laugh out loud all by my self! I too would still be there sitting. Love you girl! Thanks for sharing, I hope Rob can laugh soon!