I knew it was coming. I could close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears and scream, “AHLALALALALA!” all I wanted, but that wasn’t going to keep it from descending upon me. And finally, bringing with it a feeling of dread for my stomach, it’s here.
That time of the year when my husband leaves me at the top of a mountain, standing shaky in my skis and smelling like wet wool and wanting to vomit, where I try to convince myself that chucking myself down this hill isn’t going to kill me. That season of sore thighs and tweaked knees and bruised ankles. Early mornings, frozen assholes, and always feeling like I’m going to die.
Fuck ski season.
Kidding! (Mostly.) I actually enjoy skiing. (Mostly.) The thing is, I just learned how to ski last winter. It took me pretty much the entire season to become (somewhat) confident in my ability not to die. And by that, I mean by the end of the season I could (usually) make it down the mountain without any (major) wipe outs. I was certainly past the bunny hill, and even tackling some blue squares, but still very much a beginner. The hardest part for me about learning to ski was getting past the voice in my head that went, “HOLY FUCK THAT’S A STEEP HILL, YOU ARE GOING TO DIIIIIIIIE!” My body could learn the movements, but my mind was so terrified that the fear grabbed hold of my body and my body locked up. Which, I don’t think I have to explain to any of you, is a sure-fired recipe for falling down. By the end of the season, I’d managed to convince my brain to come up with other mantras, (like, “YOU ARE AWESOME-but you’re still going to die-AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!) and relax just enough to get myself to the bottom of the hill (mostly) unscathed.
But that was last season. It’s been nine months since I last skied. Nine months for my muscles to forget the movement, and nine months for my mind to forget what I’m capable of. And when I once again found myself standing at the top of Gore Mountain, staring at the obstacles ahead of me, I was certain, with every ounce of my being, that I had no business anywhere but the bunny hill.
One of the beauties of skiing is that the general concept doesn’t allow for backing out. You are at the top of the mountain, and there’s only one way to get down: ski down. (Well, you can ride the gondola back down, but god help you. Even the people who love you will bust your balls for the next forever.) So I did what I always do: take a deep breath, curse Kyle for introducing me to this suicidal hobby, and throw myself down the mountain.
Luckily, all the circumstances of the mountain were in my favor today. It was a warmer day, but the snow held up for most of the day. The only full run that was open today was one that was within my skill level, with some challenges to keep things
suicidal interesting. And, blessedly, traffic on the mountain was sparse, which meant less people to contend with and less people to witness my wipe outs.
And amazingly, through some miracle of mind and movement and sheer motherfucking stubbornness, my body remembered how to ski. I still don’t totally understand it. Sure, there were a couple of moments when I found myself face-down in the show, skies twisted and dignity bruised. (Weirdly, both times I fell were at relatively flat parts of the mountain. No, can’t fall down at the steep drop-off or the bumpy section, I have to fall down in front of the mountain-top lodge where it’s perfectly flat. Thank god no one was around to see that one.) But somehow, my body knew (more or less) what it was doing, and after an initial, “HOLY FUCK!” my brain managed to relax its grip just enough that I was (almost) relaxed.
Dare I say, it was almost fun.
Which means I guess I’m in it for another season. Another season of bruises and scrapes and our apartment smelling like wet socks. Another season of waking up early on my days off and freezing my ass off on the side of the mountain. Of spending cozy time with Kyle in the gondolas. And hot chocolate for the ride home. And feeling crazy proud of myself when I overcome the physical challenge of the mountain and the mental challenges of my fear.
Fuck (yeah!) ski season.