Skiing is not a sport I excel in. Actually, I don't excel in any sports, skiing just happens to top the list. Granted, we live about 40 minutes from the slopes, it would be easy to include skiing in my life, but rarely do I go. My idea of skiing is to sit by a fire, drink some hot chocolate laced with Bailey's, Kahlua, Frangelica, etc. and watch those avid crazies come hobbling into the lodge with boots-from-hell attached to their feet.
The agony of defeat feeling enveloped me this particular day, looking down the side of the mountain promising myself, If I survive the trip to the bottom of this slick-as-snot hill in one piece, never again will I affix 8-foot slats to the bottoms of my feet, ascend in some Playskool-looking car dangling from a wire, and be lifted to heights where trees don't even grow. Where is the oxygen kiosk?
My daughters seemed to take to the sport quite naturally. Of course, their center of gravity was much lower to the ground than mine, they were young, and they knew no fear. My job back home required that I be able to stand up and move my limbs about the classroom. Plus, I loved my knees and wanted to keep them intact on my legs.
This one, rather vivid 'moment' (actually there were several) will remain etched in my brain for as long as I shall live. Maybe longer.
The three of us were decked out in the latest pastels of the season. Fashion statements we were for sure. I don't remember my ski suit being particularly warm that day but it was certainly in-style. Looking at old photos, I resembled a raspberry-colored Michelin man.
After falling out of the gondola, in-style, I joined the girls between two signs with black diamonds on them. Then, watched them do that switch-back thing down the side of this mountain. It's called traversing, or something. Pride beamed from my heart. How quickly they had learned this new sport. We lived in Oklahoma at the time, and there weren't many ski slopes in that state back then, so visiting Colorado was new and exciting for us.
Reality set in, and I realized I had to get down this hill, too. I had mentioned the signs with the pretty diamonds on them to the girls just before they left me there, shivering, propped up against one of the sign poles
looking very professional holding on for dear life. They both assured me there was nothing to worry about. The signs were just decorations and everything would be fine. Hadn't I noticed other signs with green circles and blue squares? Just a little decor that all ski slopes use. Does the word mogul mean anything to you?
Beginning my descent and trying to remember everything the instructor on the bunny slope had told me, all became just a dull thud in my head. Oh, wait ! That dull thud was the sound of the back of my head introducing itself to a mogul. How did this happen? I've progressed three feet and I'm flat-of-my-back with my skis pointed skyward. Plus, I don't remember the bunny slope instructor telling me just exactly how to get back up after having fallen and neatly lodging myself among the moguls. There were no moguls on the bunny slope.
"Mom!" "You alright?"
Finally, after some nice gentleman with a white cross on his red jacket helped me back up on my ski-laden feet, I was ready to attack the mountain. All I really wanted to do was to catch up with the girls who were waiting halfway down that hill for me. Then, get down to the lodge as fast as I could. That fall had given just enough adrenalin to think I could do it.
With skis pointed toward each other (snow plow bunny slope position), I head straight down the slippery slope. I don't remember much after that, but I do remember hearing, "Mom, bend your knees."
"How the hell can I bend my knees, when I have a ski sticking out of my bu++? "
"Mom, there are little kids skiing around you. Watch your mouth."
It's physically impossible to bend one's knees when that particular piece of equipment is located there. And don't tell me to watch my mouth, right now I'm just trying to get the snow out of it. Besides, those 5 year-olds shouldn't be skiing so close and using me like something on an obstacle course for their down-hill runs. If one more little $h!+ jumps me, I'm telling his mother.
I was finally able to slide down to them while they waited halfway down the mountain, on my bu++. Yes, I removed the ski first. By the time I arrived, they were speechless, on the ground, in hysterics. I love you, too.
Not wanting to hinder their progress any longer, I sent them on their merry way assuring them I would be fine. They could find me later.
Check the bar, first. Then, the hospital.
I located that nice man in the red jacket with a white cross on his back. Or did he locate me? He was riding a snowmobile with a sled attached to it. Will wonders never cease?
The girls found me at the end of that beautiful day, sitting by the fire, in my apris-type-ski clothes, sipping hot chocolate (ok, it wasn't hot chocolate - it was an extra dirty martini) and sharing the day's stories with all the other rugged skiers there.
Yes, the powder was fresh and deep, the sun had shone brightly, the sky was blue, and just as the lifts closed, the clouds rolled in and snowflakes began to slowly drift down. All was well with the world. It's now just a fond memory.
Remember those black diamond signs? As I reminisce and write today, those signs are at this moment, being installed, set in concrete in your front yards on 12-foot, neon-yellow poles. I thought they would make nice "decorations" for your houses.
I LOVE YOU BOTH !
P.S. You don't believe me? Go look out your front doors.