Thursday, 7 April 2011

Not A Big Deal, I'm Just A Snow Bunny Now

The absolute number one activity that Dan and his brother wanted to do together when Marc and Wynter were here was to go skiing.

Downhill skiing.

As in, ski...down a hill.

Like, strap on some narrow boards and go flying down a hill.

Do you get me?

Now based on the above, are you also reading between the lines and figuring out that I actually don't know how to downhill ski? My mom was a Nordic ski instructor, so growing up the only skiing I did was cross-country and I must admit I wasn't even a fan of that when I was a kid. Do you realize how much energy you have to exert for that sport? Especially if you want to keep up with my mom?

But as I got older I learned to embrace Nordic skiing, and the two winters before I moved to Switzerland, my sister Meghan and I went to our local ski tracks nearly every weekend. And some of these Nordic tracks we skied were even located at Sun Peaks, which is the downhill ski resort near Kamloops.

Now living so close to such a great ski hill, one would assume I might have gotten into downhill skiing, but one would be wrong. I went once with a group of friends, and it took me 45 minutes to get down one track (snow-plowing the whole way) so I  then spent 3 hours in the hot tub that night trying to loosen up my sore leg muscles. I think all the booze I drank in said hot tub might also have helped, because it sure wasn't my legs that were sore the next morning.

But in much the same way that feeding birds on a park bench seems bucket-listy, obviously so too does 'skiing in the Swiss Alps'; therefore, no matter my fears about downhill skiing, I was actually gung-ho to give it another try.

We went to Adelboden, as that's where the family chalet is and it's the hill where Dan and Marc learned to ski as kids. Basically, it was a giant trip down memory lane for those boys (well, Marc anyhow: Dan has a frighteningly terrible memory), and for me it was a long ski down groomed trails with hardly any photo ops because I was too busy trying not to fall on my ass and look bad in front of the four year olds who would go whizzing by me.

Here are a few pictures from the top.


But sadly Internet, I was not able to save face in front of the four year olds, and on my second run of the day I crashed...right into Dan. My body twisted and contorted as I collapsed onto the face of the hill in a jumble of skis and poles, and I lay dazed for a minute trying to figure out what happened while Dan raced after one of my runaway skis that had detached from my foot.

As Dan inched his way back up the hill with my ski, I continued to lay helpless on the snow, but only now because of the sheer weight of those terminator ski boots strapped to my feet, I was being dragged further and further down the mountain, and I couldn't stop myself because I still couldn't figure out what the hell had happened and why I was lying on my back staring at the bright blue sky.

And trying to get a ski back on your foot, while balancing precariously on the side of a ski run? Well, if you're like me, you will fall over face first and then continuing sliding head first down the mountain, much to the delight of everyone at the bottom of the hill who's waiting for their chair lift.

But I got back up, continued skiing for the next two days and loved every minute of it.


Shockingly though, the above scenario wasn't even my most embarrassing fall of the two days.

There was that one fall as I was getting off the slowest moving chair lift in the history of chair lifts, which crash I followed up with an overly dramatic scream, but the fall that earned me my Oscar for Most Ridiculous Display of Co-Ordination came on Friday afternoon as we were sitting in the gondola, going back into the valley. As the gondola stuttered into the station, and the doors swung open, I stood up from my seat and ducked my head so as not to bang it on the roof. Then I stepped one terminator ski boot out of the gondola onto the platform, got my second boot caught, and fell over on the platform as the gondola drug me around and the remaining occupants in the gondola (Dan, Marc, and an old man with a dog) tried to free me. 


But Internet, none of those crashes matter because you can bet your (sore, bruised) ass that I am skiing again next winter, because here's the thing.

Come closer.


The best part of skiing....?


Sitting in a lounge chair on an alpine patio, soaking up the sun.

I can't believe that was missing from my life.


mom said...

Your pictures are lovely. You are so lucky to be able to experience the skiing. Maybe next year you will be a little steadier on your feet :-) Aren't there any cross-country ski trails there???? Get Dan out on a pair x-country


Habebi said...

WOW! You are one gutsy broad. I went skiing once and ended up in the hospital (twice) because of a severe (and I mean really bad) concussion and inner ear trauma. I haven't been back since!

But, I may get back on those skis one day. If the scenery is worth it. ;-)

Caitie said...

Mom--I know! All the x-country trails were bare though, because they're in the valley. Next year though, Dan said he'd be willing to give up 'one' adrenaline downhill day for some x-country skiing. How generous ;-)

Habebi--Yikes! My fear was because I'm a chicken and don't like going fast, not because I've been seriously injured! Don't blame you if you never step a ski on a lift again :-)