I wrote this as a follow-up to my first post about skiing (To Ski or Not to Ski) while I was still on the trip. Travel and logistics got in the way of posting it so here it is now…
Now that skiing and I are getting along better, I can say that I actually like it. Like the end of an after-school special, when the bully and the bullied run off hand in hand after clearing up all of their misconceptions about one another, this is me (the bullied) and skiing (the bully).
After taking a day off (bad weather = good excuse to visit the children’s museum), and with some new ski gear (ok, ok, I have to admit that part of my negativity toward the sport MAY have come from a lack of appropriate apparel. I do heart clothes, so wearing my husband’s old (circa 1995) ill-fitting ski jacket only made me feel worse about the whole thing), I have a new outlook on skiing. I have started a list of things that I appreciate and things I, um, don’t, about the sport. I am hoping skiers and non-skiers alike might appreciate the list. In Buddhism one strives to live “in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion”. Well, at this stage, here are my attachments and aversions – I have a new like for the sport, but I am still striving for equanimity.
Me No Like (this is Eliana speak):
Winter. I think anything below 60 degrees is cold, 70 and below is chilly and 85 is my sweet spot. Somewhere between ~30 degrees and 85 degrees lies my problem with skiing. I wasn’t built for cold weather. Like a beacon of distress, my body sends out a flaming red distress signal called, my nose, to let everyone know that I am too damn cold. It also incessantly drips to remind ME that I am too damn cold.
The clothes. More specifically, snow caps. I do not look good in them. I see so many cute, rosy-cheeked, braid-wearing Suzy chap-sticks that look adorable in their ski garb from their caps and goggles down to their awkward boots (more about these later). I, on the other hand, have tried on a good 1,000 ski caps and I look like a Q-tip in every one. Combined with my fire-engine red nose above, it’s just not attractive.
Ski boots, Getting them on, getting them off, walking in them, carrying them, dare I say I h-a-t-e these things. With as much as skiing technology has evolved (or so I hear), I have a hard time believing more could not be done about the boots.
Adrenaline. I don’t get “adrenaline rushes”. I only see my life pass before my eyes.
Speed. See above.
The lift ride. Alone. Meditation time anyone?? Floating over the tree tops in a chair all my own, one just naturally meditates. Like a wait for the rollercoaster, the lift takes much longer (at this mountain anyway) than the descent. Unlike the rollercoaster, however, for me, is that I enjoy the wait as much, if not more.
Hot chocolate. Winter’s antidotal confection, what’s not to love? Add to it enjoying a cup from a mountain chalet? Positively dreamy.
The people. These folk who are “one with the mountain” seem to understand that everyone on the mountain is one, no matter their skiing ability or how ridiculous they look in a snow cap. The people who work at the ski hills seem to be some of the nicest on the planet, as far as I can tell.
Skiing. OK, this is a big one for me. It’s the first time in my life (see part 1) that this has migrated from the ‘no likey’ to the ‘likey’ category for me. I finally feel enough control that I can a) stop in a reasonable amount of time, if needed, and b) control my speed for the most part, with some exception of course. None of it is very pretty but I am fine with pure function for now.
Apres-ski. In addition to just liking the French referenced name, after a day (or a half-day, which is enough for me), one’s body buzzing from the cold mountain air, the after-burn from the quads and a deep hunger, wherever one goes (in our case, our cozy cabin), some lounging, some snacking, some thawing, and some sharing of stories from the day – it’s a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
The focus. This may be an advantage of being a beginner, but talk about being in the moment. If I look too far down the hill, I panic. If I let my thoughts wander, the next thing I know one ski is meandering in another direction. After getting off the lift in my meditative state, it’s nice to balance this with going into a single force concentration and the mental discipline needed not to freak out. This should definitely be part of Jedi training, if it’s not already.
My therapist-parent coach has a habit, at the end of our sessions, in reference to parenting, to say “You are doing it.” It always makes me feel good. No matter what I am struggling with at the time, and how badly I SEEM to be at it, she’s right about one thing, I am doing it. At one point on this trip my heart swelled with a little pride when my father-in-law (my skiing coach) saw me coming down the hill and he yelled to me, “You are doing it!”
He could not have known that that was the the perfect thing to say. I’ll add him to my “like” section too.:)