Old Dog, New Tricks…or how I learned to love the slopes

So last week I talked about running goals for the year, but failed to mention some other ones.  Like what I promised my husband during what must have been a drunken moment of weakness (LOL).  No, it was probably simply because i’m a really great wife and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. But either way…. I told him i’d try to learn to ski.

Sure, I grew up in Northeastern NY State, where winter is WINTER and the ski mountains are plenty.  I have no problem (or at least didn’t used to) with cold and snow.  But I preferred ice skating.  A pair of skates and a frozen pond (or indoor rink) and I was a happy girl.

I still skate, occasionally, but the hubs doesn’t.  We aren’t exactly opposites in our fitness endeavors, just differently-preferenced.  He prefers biking, I prefer running.  He likes to ski, I’d rather skate.

So our past few years of New Hampshire ski weekends have involved him skiing while I run and then ice skate.   And its always worked fine…or so I thought.  Not realizing he’d really love some company on the slopes.

Since I chose to actually take a real honest-to-goodness offseason this year following Disney ( like i’ve only run 4 times in the past two weeks (tho I have both strength and cross trained)…whoa!), this seemed the perfect opportunity to finally try something new.

So Saturday, I cut the tag off my new ski pants and found my brave.

Sure, the closer we got to the mountain the more the nerves kicked in.  But I tried to pretend differently.  And when we walked into the rental building I may have said “umm…lets just go”.  But I filled out the rental form and handed over my credit card and got my lesson ticket and equipment.

And was all “Babe…i don’t even know how to put these on!”

Kudos to my amazing husband for putting up with me that morning…I was more scared than before my first marathon.  And totally jittery. Probably because I was SO far outside of my comfort zone. And I don’t like not knowing what i’m doing.

But he got me all equipped (okay – ski boots are just like stiff ice skates without the blade) and out onto the base of the mountain.  I got into my skis and stood there all “I have absolutely no idea how to even walk in these things”.

At least I looked the part!img_3689

So we spent the time leading up to my lesson teaching me how to walk.  And with a little time to spare I sent him off to ski and found my lesson area.

I feel very fortunate that my lesson group consisted of three other women who had either no experience like me, or had only skied once.  Plus they were super nice. My instructor Bill was very encouraging and very good.  He walked us through the basics –  from do your boots fit okay to do you know how to walk on skis.  And took us over to the mountain. Because if you aren’t actually skiing – you can’t learn to ski.

We started on the littlest slope.  My sole sister had warned me in advance that i’ve run bigger hills that this mountain.  And she’s right. But there’s a difference between being in sneakers and having these long flat slidey things strapped to your feet.

First couple trips down were to teach us to stop.  Nailed the wedge/snowplow.  Then further up and learning to turn.   Then, on to the rope tow.  OMG WHAT?  So i’m supposed to remember to balance my weight, keep my feet pointing straight and hold on for dear life while this thing drags me up the hill?  Sure….

Actually I did okay.  After a couple trips up I caught on.  And yes, my shoulders are still sore from it.  But, it was the fastest way to the top.

And I was successful in getting to the bottom without falling, each and every time.  Though some trips down were a little smoother.

I know my whole problem was a lack of confidence in my ability to stop myself.  Sure, I know the mechanics of how to turn and how to stop, but when you’re going downhill at a decent rate of speed, you don’t always remember your training.

The top half of the hill always scared me, but the bottom half I skied and turned like a champ.  Must have been the less steep incline.   And unlike some of the poor people I watched ski head first into the orange safety net, I was always able to stop at the bottom.

Post lesson, the hubs skied a few times down my ‘bunny hill’  with me before I sent him back to the ‘grown up’ slope and did a couple more on my own.  By the time I finished I was feeling a lot more comfortable.

But, I wanted to quit while I was ahead…so I did.  (Live to ski another day!)

I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  Sure, its kinda scary, but its also super fun and the scary made it a total adrenaline rush.    I know I need another couple of lessons before I tackle anything really long or steep.  But, I may already be planning my next time out.

We do have that long weekend in February coming up…and NH, she is calling me.  😀



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