Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Learning to Ski

Finally! I have been able to go skiing after having spent my whole life not knowing anything about what it would be like. Growing up in Oklahoma, it has certainly seemed like an elitist activity- one which is not pursued unless you have a lot of money, time, and interest.

In the last month, I have been on two ski trips already and leave tomorrow for the third! Needless to say, I'm hooked :) For something that can be classified as an extreme sport (?), I have to say it seems fairly simple to learn. The ability to "turn" back and forth is really the main (and only, as far as I can tell) skill to master. (And technically, you don't even have to be a fantastic skier to go down the hard slopes- as long as you go slow enough, you can make it down anything)

My first trip was to the nearby Wachusett mountain in western Massachusetts. I went with my buddy Mike the day after my last final and had a blast. The few days prior to our trip, the western part of the state had experienced huge snowstorms, and many people were still without electricity. This also meant that some of the lifts were not yet up and running upon our arrival. As it turns out, Wachusett is a fairly small mountain and none of the green (easy) slopes were open, so I jumped right into a blue (intermediate) slope without ever having touched skis before. This strategy seemed to work quite well, as I was quickly forced to learn to control my movements. Mike was a great teacher, and best of all didn't laugh every time I fell (and I fell a LOT on that first slope).

After my first run! Notice that I'm covered in snow already

That's because this happened a lot the first time :)

Doing the awkward pizza move:

Some others:

My first experience went well, and I even went down a black (difficult) slope a few times.

THEN--- I went to Lake Tahoe with Thomas and his family for New Years. This more "high class" experience was a lot of fun, especially since the snow was soooo powdery and fun to carve through. Instead of having three lifts like at Wachusett, this resort (Heavenly) had 30! Needless to say, there were more trails than any person can possibly try to ski down in the short 3 days we had there. Winding my way down these long trails truly gave me the sense that I was navigating my way through a huge mountainside.
To pace ourselves in order to last more than one day, we went much slower through the trails than what I remember from my first experience. I was kind of worried that I wasn't learning as much as I had from that first trip, but I guess the learning curve is exponential just at the beginning. Or maybe it's just difficult to gauge improvement. I do feel considerably more comfortable moving around on skis now though.
I suppose the fact that I survived a double black at the end of the third day (without falling toooo many times.....) also speaks to whatever ability I have.

Kerri and I:

Coming down a slope:

Looking forward to experiencing the icy east coast mountainsides again :)


Miss Outlier said...

Yay for skiing - you picked it up so much better than I did. I've been twice, and I still stay on the very easiest trails. I just tangle myself up most of the time...

Connie said...

Heather!! I've never been down a black run (or double black...) in my entire life!!!! You are amazing at everything!

Heather said...

Ok I'm definitely not amazing at everything I do.
We will go down the blacks together when I come ski the Rockies! You just need someone dumb enough to believe they can survive a black (me) to convince you to do the same :)