Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell, The Grand Finale

  I fumbled around with all my gear with the hopes that I would just delay the inevitable forever, but everyone else in my gang was ready to go. They all got their butts in motion and took off down the first drop. I quickly got ready and maneuvered my way over to the drop, and saw everyone in my group. Nicole was helping J pizza wedge down, and the two boys had made it down and were waiting at a little plateau where the trail turned to the left and kept going. There were experienced skiers taking off all around me (including dumb little kids in dumb monster helmets). I watched everyone else, took a deep breath, and just went for it. I bent my knees, tucked my poles, and leaned forward like a big idiot.

I meant to look like this:

But really looked like this:

Honestly, I probably didn't even look as good as Goofy at his worst. I tumbled down the first drop. I lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Things that I had at the top of the hill that I did not have at the bottom: 
  • My poles
  • My hat
  • My skis
  • My goggles
  • One glove (OK so I didn't lose EVERYTHING)
  • The very little dignity I had
  • My cool
The second I finished rolling down the mountain, I got up and marched my ski boots right over to Guy and used every word combination possible to tell him that I was NOT OK with being at the top of the mountain. And what was HE THINKING bringing me up there? During my incredible tongue lashing, nice eye witnesses started bringing me my equipment that I left down the hill. So the whole scene went something like this:

"You &*!#%&%, DID YOU REALLY THINK I WAS- oh, thanks for getting my glove for me- READY TO SKI DOWN THIS &*()&*()& MOUNTAIN, I BARELY EVEN- yeah- that's my pole- thanks- *)(*(*^&*^*& LEARNED TO SKI THE )*)(^&^*$%^ BUNNY HILL- great- yep- that's my hat- yes, I'm ok... thanks"

I was furious and mortified and on top of a mountain on a stupid blue trail. And for all of you ski experts out there- good for you that blue trails are easy- I'm proud of you- you deserve a pat on the back. They should be easy if you know what you're doing. But if you are a girl from Louisiana who is just getting comfortable with the idea of snow and has only been on skis for a total of two hours in her life- blue trails are not so freaking easy.

Turns out we were on the wrong trail. We should have gone around the back of the restaurant to start on the green trail. But there was good news- only about 100 more yards, and then our trail overlapped with the "easy" green trail. Just to put this in perspective for you- I'll do the math. There are 300 feet in 100 yards, and I fell about every four feet, so that means I fell down about 75 times (± 5 times, CI: 99%) in the last 100 yards of the blue trail. The trail color also described my bruised ass and legs, so it was a win-win. 

Once we made it to the green trail, it got a little better. I was getting steadier on the skis and feeling somewhat more comfortable. J was having a tough time like me, but we were making progress. At one point, when I fell, my friend Nicole skied over to help me up. I excitedly told her that I was starting to like skiing and I was really getting the hang of it. She excitedly told me that she had good news for me- I had the whole rest of the mountain to ski down. My excitement quickly waned. 

We were slowly but surely making our way down the mountain when J twisted her knee and could not go any further. Nicole set up the SOS sign of the skis making an upright X and waited for the medics to get there. When they got there, J went down the mountain on the sled, and Nicole followed close behind.

It was just me and the boys. But not for long. Guy decided that he should get to the bottom to check on Nicole and J and felt OK leaving me and Mikey, the two idiots from Louisiana, on the mountain. It was pretty late in the day at this point, and the daylight was rapidly fading. I started getting pretty nervous about the situation, which forced me to lose focus and fall a gazillion more times. Mikey was tired of waiting on me and also uncomfortable with the encroaching darkness and did what all good jackass friends would do- PEACED OUT. Thanks, Mikey. I owe you one.

Mikey left me on the mountain. Well everyone left me on the mountain. Mikey was just the last to do it. As the last hope of sunshine disappeared, I tried really hard to stay calm. I realized how quiet it had gotten, and how much snow muffles sound and kept pushing images of gory horror movies out of my head. This was so uncool. Who knew that I was going to die in Vermont on a mountain? Damn you, Katrina. 

Right as my nerves got the better part of me, Ski Patrol showed up. I was so thankful. There were two guys and a girl and they quickly questioned me. My gratefulness took a U-turn to indignation that they were talking to me like I was an idiot and then another U-turn to playing the Katrina card. They didn't give a shit. There was someone legitimately lost on the mountain and the last thing they wanted to deal with was a girl who was in over her head. They mumbled amongst themselves and decided that the girl would stay with me to finish the slope. 

I tried to make some jokes. Nothing. I tried talking to her. Nothing. She tried giving me ski pointers. Nothing. I kept falling. I asked her if I could take my skis off and walk down the mountain. She said no. I asked her if she had been to New Orleans. She didn't answer. I fell. I tried to pizza wedge. I fell. She warned me that there were some frozen creeks coming up that might get a little slick, but to just ski like normal. Her warning was not unheeded, but I didn't know what skiing like normal meant. I fell. She let out a huge sigh and told me to take my skis of. She put them over her shoulder, and skied down the mountain with them. Looking totally hot with blonde braided pigtails coming out of her unborrowed ski hat. Followed by me-a Southern girl in a 90s ski get up with men's gloves on, walking like a damn storm trooper in awkward boots down the mountain. You should have seen the looks on my friends faces when they saw me coming. You should have also heard the words that came out of my mouth. 

Picabo Street can keep her stupid chapstick endorsement.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell, cont.

Part 2 of one of my best moments

Once J and I gave our final unrequited smiles to Wheezy, we waited for our buddies at the lodge. They came in, all red noses and smiles, and asked us how our lesson went. We filled them in on our non hot, non male ski instructor and let them know that we were now experts at pizza wedging. Once we got all caught up, the discussion turned to what we should do next. We were at Stowe, which has plenty of trails to choose from- ranging in a variety of difficulty. Considering that J and I just mastered negotiated with the bunny hill, the rational option would have been to stay on the smaller, green trails; but what's the fun in being rational? After about 5 minutes of discussion, the group was headed over to the larger mountain to "go get lunch at the restaurant at the top" and then- oh yeah- ski down.

At this point I called my Dad to let him know that I was disregarding part of his advice- but I was not smoking weed beforehand. In fact, my exact quote was "Hey Dad- I'm just calling to tell you Picabo Street better watch out, cause I'm about to conquer this mountain, and next I'm coming for her chapstick endorsement." Untruer words have never been spoken.

We got over to the big mountain and got on the lift (which by the way, is by far the scariest part of skiing- especially when you forget to get off). Nicole and I were in a chair together and I talked 1,000 miles/minute about whatever popped into my head and if I could have bounced my leg and drummed my fingers, I would have. I was scared shitless- but totally playing it cool.

We got to the top of the lift and I ungracefully plopped off. I calmed down when I realized we still had a meal to eat before I "conquered the mountain." We made our way into the restaurant and hunkered down with an assortment of amazingly appropriate winter food- the kind we just to pretend to enjoy in Louisiana. Hot tomato soup, with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, and hot cocoa with little marshmellows on top? Yes, please! I was too enthralled with our LL Bean ad lunch to focus on the task in front of me. When someone asked "Alright- you ready to ski down?" my heart split in two and moved to my throat and stomach, and my lunch immediately moved into my guts. It was time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Snowball's Chance in Hell

Sums up the likelihood that I was going to make it down the mountain gracefully the first time I went skiing.

I would like to let my avid fans know (all 16 of you), that this is an amazing story- but I want to keep you as fans, so I am going to break it up to really pique your interest.

During Katrina, I went to school in Boston with the hopes of experiencing a totally new culture (e.g. not making eye contact AT ALL on public transportation or talking to strangers in the grocery store) and different weather. Needless to say, my  hopes were absolutely fulfilled. I mastered the T, went to a lot of the museums, and brought a large box of cannolis home with me for Thanksgiving. I also took advantage of the cold climate and worked with my friend to get her to organize a ski trip to Vermont. (I also begged the same friend to take me to Friendly's the entire semester and when she finally did- the week before I left- I was somewhat incredibly disappointed- to which she responded, "This is why I did not want to take your dumbass to Friendly's- what did I tell you!?")

We arranged to go skiing during the first weekend of December. We put together a motley crew to head to the mountains of Vermont: Nicole, a Mass native who had been skiing her whole life; her friend J, a girl from CT who grew up going to ski resorts but never actually skied; Nicole's other friend, "Guy" who was also from Mass and an experienced snowboarder (and who I was somewhat dating at the time); Mikey, a friend of mine from Louisiana who was also a Katrina refugee who had been snow boarding once; and me- a novice to everything including mountains, the snow, and most of all, skiing.

Due to my extreme naivete, I was really excited for the trip. I called my parents to let them know. My Dad, who had lived in Colorado for a while, gave me some words of wisdom: "Your friends will be way more experienced than you and will try to convince you to go to the top of the mountain. Don't let them do it. And when they do finally convince you, don't smoke weed before you go." ***I come from a straight-shooting family. And my parents were young in the 70s. Enough said***

Our caravan made it to the mountain, rented our gear, and got ready to go. And here I use 'gear' like I looked like I belonged there- really I was in a borrowed ski getup from my friend's mom. It was incredibly early 90s with huge pink and green color blocks. It was rad. It even had extra pockets to store my pogs in.

Since J and I had never skied before, we decided it would be best if we took some lessons. We kept talking about how hot our young instructor was going to be. Our conversations always seemed to mimic cheesy romance movies. I kept thinking how he would find my Katrina story endearing, which I would top off with a southern accent to really turn the flirt up. J and I were in the midst of one of these conversations when our ski instructor interrupted us to introduce herself. "Girls, my name's Wheezy. I've been a ski instructor for over 40 years. If you listen to what I say, you'll do just fine."

Wheezy meant business.

While our dreams slowly deflated, J and I "rode the magic carpet" a few times and learned how to pizza wedge among a gaggle of 6 year old kids with helmets that looked like monsters. Really, it should have been J and me with the helmets on. There is not much that is more humiliating than falling 5 times on the way down the bunny slope while little booger eaters speed by you. It took a lot of self control not to stick my pole out and take a few down. J and I tried to make light of everything, but Wheezy was not having it. She definitely gave us our money's worth and after her  "reminder tips" and cold goodbye, we met back up with our friends.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Friend Has Massive Sneezes

Or at least she did at one incredibly inopportune time.

In undergrad, there was an area on campus where everyone would hang out. It was great for people watching and around lunch time was always packed with kids and the inevitable weird locals (like the Uncle Rico types from Napoleon Dynamite).

My friend and I were heading back to the dorm after class, which included a stroll through the cool kids area, in front of all of the lookie-loos. Right as we made it to the exact spot where we were best exposed to all of our classmates, the wind started blowing she had a humongous sneeze. That ended up all over me.

I was mortified but couldn't figure out the most appropriate reaction. Should I play it off? How do you even play that off? Should I pretend like it didn't happen? Like no one can see the snot and spittle flecks on me? Should I return the favor and sneeze all over her when the wind was blowing just right to bring it from my mouth and nose directly to her face when we were in front of a gajillion people? That's just weird. And impossible. (But I'll pretend like the fact that returning the favor is weird is the reason that I didn't ever try to get her back).

I actually just turned really red, cussed loudly (take out "Bless" from "Bless you" and put in another word), and sped back to my dorm hoping that I was not cool enough for anyone to have actually been looking at me at that point.