A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And we were even better after a bottle of Tall Ship

I'm going to tell you a little story about the day I went skiing.  Yes, you've read this correctly. Not the day that I went to the ski hills and managed to slam into my sister Sandra as I attempted to fall ski down a very scary, ice filled hill;  nor the day that my 17 year old self took off my skis and ran clumsily down the hill whilst attempting to keep two very long skis and two poles from slipping out of my grip; and especially not the day I mistakenly agreed to ride the chair lift to the top of the hill only to get left on it by my best friend  and sister who had promised to ensure I got off OK. (I thus had to endure the embarrassment of riding that chair lift back down the hill - I suppose it's a bonus that I'm quiet adept at dealing with humiliating moments.Yes, I can laugh at myself. However that experience has ensured that even though I've finally got the hang of skiing, I will be sticking to the T-Bars only.)

So let me tell you all about it, if you don't mind indulging me here.  I went skiing people and I didn't fall, or slam into anyone (well not on the ski slope anyway).I could surmise that the reason for this could quite possibly be that at the age of 40 I'm much fitter than any other time I've attempted to ski (including the school trip when I was 17).  Add to this that for the first time I had a patient and good skier with me (my cousin Jennifer) who took the time to teach us the basics and didn't rush off to ski herself almost straight away. Or maybe it because Andy and Stacy were both with me (also novices) and ended up being my good luck charms.  Although in the end I think it was because I had Stacy, who was as nervous as I was to try skiing again, with me every step of the way  (Sandra and our brother John are the skiers in our bunch.) Andy actually had only an inkling of what he was facing as he'd never tried it before.

On that bright Saturday morning there was some confusion as we all headed out to Martock.  Lines got crossed along the way and some of us thought we were going to go cross country, some hoped we would be snowboarding and myself?  Well I figured I would have been safest sitting in the lodge drinking beer.

In the end we all decided to give downhill a go.  Jen is a pretty good skier; Wayne not so much. Stacy and I had a wee argument over snowboard versus skis that I won. (I just couldn't get my head around both feet being strapped down on one board and I didn't think my knees and back could cope with the maneuvers required to snowboard.) Andy, well he was just keen to get on the bunny hill and give it a try.

All geared up to hit the hills: 

My man was looking pretty hot in his ski gear :) 

We had a basic lesson from Jen before we all grabbed hold of the rope that would pull us up the bunny hill.  So far so good right?  Yup; well for everybody else but me. I'm the fool that made the mistake of wearing fingerless gloves without the mitten bit covering my fingers.  That rope moves fast and quickly started burning blisters onto my fingers almost immediately.  I was only halfway up when I started losing grip and despite my sister yelling at me to 'don't you dare let go I'm right behind you!', I let go and ended up laying in the middle of both tow ropes... great. Another humiliating moment for me.  Somehow Stacy managed to hold on and get past me and I was left trying to figure out how I was going to scoot through the skiers and get back up (why the controller didn't just stop the ropes is beyond me).  I managed to succeed in crossing the ropes without knocking anyone down or having to take my skies off, (not the easiest feat when one can't just roll over) however getting back up was a problem because I let my fear from previous ski trips overwhelm me.  I sat there thinking what an idiot I must look in my bright green jacket when a gentleman came along and offered me a hand up.  I gratefully and bashfully took it and decided that for once, I was going to overcome my fear of falling, figure out how to just do it, and if not at least how to get my skis on and off myself.

Wayne and Jen mastering the tow rope:

Looking good while stationary: 

Realizing it's not as easy as it looks, but looking adorable all the same:

Both Stacy and I got a grip on the bunny hill and decided to try the big girl hill.  I waved goodbye to both Wayne and Andy as they had both decided to give their backsides a rest and nurse beers in the lodge and headed for the t-bar lift with Stacy. Andy figures if he had a few hours with a private instructor he might be able to get the hang of it.  This is something that we can definitely look at should we ever try skiing again.  Wayne's health just wasn't compatible to the sport that day.

Riding the t-bar (yes while taking photos.  My sister is that good)

We made it up the t-bar, despite Stacy's understandable unease about sharing a ride up the hill with her clumsy ass sister me.  And then we went for it.  We skied.  Not quickly, not gracefully but we skied.  Jen caught up with us a once or twice and joined in with our amusement and before long, we were actually enjoying ourselves. I knew Stacy was having fun and relaxing into it the moment I heard her humming her way down the hill behind me. Stacy does that you know, hums (or makes other strange noises) when she is happy.

In between the skiing we did pop into the lodge for a beer and something to eat before heading out for one or two more trips up the hill.  I know Andy might have been disappointed because he didn't manage to ski, but I also know he was pleased for me when he said the smile on my face at the end of the day made it worth it.  Besides, as we said, it was only his first attempt (my fourth) and he can now say he's at least tried it and can cross it off his list.  

The boys sitting comfortably in the bar

I do love this big guy: 

Two of my very favs looking great:  

Happy with my cousins: 

Either way I was proud of all of us that day.  We tried something that was way out of our comfort zone which is something a lot of people won't even consider and Jen was a better teacher than all the rest who've attempted to get me on a slope. (I'm not even sorry for saying that Catherine ;)  Also, the fact that I did it successfully with my baby sister made it all the more exhilarating.

How impressed with ourselves do we look?

The moment that I skied down the hill without falling or hitting someone has completely trumped all the disastrous moments that have gone before. Even getting stuck between the tow ropes and especially being stuck on the chair lift.  Bah, it's those moments that make for a story great anyway right? Yes, even if it is at my own expense.

I skied and that's enough to keep me smiling through the rest of winter.  Bring on the next winter trip to Nova Scotia.  


Laraf123 said...

Downhill skiing is way out of my comfort zone--I'm so excited for you for accomplishing this! It really is all about the people who are beside you as you climb the mountain, isn't it?

Marguerite said...

I am so proud of you Jody. I can't imagine doing that myself. I love your whole story. You should start writing books. Love the pictures too. Looks like you all were having a good time. Hopefully next time Andy will get the hang of the skis.