Today I was thinking about my first time to ski in Winter Park, Colorado. I was on a band trip as a freshman in high school. It was the year 2000, and I was obsessed with 'N Sync's Bye Bye Bye.
I fell down relentlessly those first two days. Adding to my frustration was the fact I had a difficult time getting up each time I fell. The second day, when I could finally stay on top of my skis, I lost control. This was before I understood the importance of snowplowing, of course. I learned why I should NOT keep my skis parallel even though cartoon figures were depicted doing this all the time.
I began zooming recklessly down the mountain, dodging people, trees, and an early death. As I wondered if the pancakes I ate that morning were the last pancakes I would ever eat, it occurred to me that I would have to force myself to fall if I wanted the madness to end. When I knew I wasn't in another skier's way, I made myself fall to the side. Luckily, I survived my fall unscathed but humiliated. I hoped no one had seen me skiing down the slope like a maniac.
A few hours later some of my classmates praised me for my "natural" skiing abilities.
"Angela, we saw you from the ski lift! You were going down that mountain so fast!"
"Yeah, there's nothing to it," I gloated. They didn't have to know, ahem, the truth.
The third day I was ready to give up. A friend talked me into giving it another chance because "the third time's a charm." He was right. The third day it all clicked. I understood the importance of snowplowing. I was able to stop when I wanted to stop and to turn when I wanted to turn.
Looking back, I am glad I did not give up on skiing altogether. I also realized that in the beginning there I was, out of control and intentionally subjecting myself to all this pain. But I felt so alive.
Skiing helped me see the beauty behind taking risks.
I must ski again soon.