I just want to take a few minutes to tell you about my Alpine ski adventure, mostly so that I can look back on this blog post in a few months and reminisce.
Today a lot of us took the free ski shuttle bus to the mountain Flachau for a day of skiing. I’ve only skied once before in my life (in 6th grade) when my dad won a ski trip from his job. I remember that my parents got us a private ski lesson and that I did really well those few days in Park City; approximately 9 years later, I was still convinced that I was a “natural” and it would all come back to me. I definitely didn’t think it would turn into the train wreck that it did.
After stopping at the ski shop to rent skis and a helmet, a few other newbies and I decided to hop onto the gondola that went to the top of the mountain with everyone else. “It’s a blue!” everyone told us (the markings are different here than in the states – here, blue is easy, red is intermediate, and black is advanced). Confident, I headed off the lift and immediately started taking pictures. It was then that I took a good look at the slopes. More than one four-letter word crossed my mind. This was definitely not a blue. But I knew that there was only one way down the mountain so I chanted, “YOLO,” a few times
out loud in my head and pushed off.
“This is great!” I thought at first. I maneuvered my first few turns pretty well for not having skied in so long. It was then that gravity took over and reality smacked me in the face. I hit the ground. But I got back up, dusted myself off, and kept going. And then hit the ground again. Get up, ski 2 or 3 turns, fall. And not only was I basically tumbling down the mountain but I wasn’t just falling. Oh no. Every time I fell, I ate it. HARD. We’re talking skis flying, poles in the air, face first, WIPE OUT. Embarrassing.
At the bottom some of us decided to take the gondola back down to the bunny slopes. We thought for sure if we got on one of the t-bar lifts (you know the lifts where you just kind of situate that bar under your butt and it pulls you up?) we would find a bunny slope. Let’s take a moment here to talk about my t-bar skills. Me and one of my friends thought we could easily figure out the lift and go up together. First shot: we both get in position, grab the lift, and try to sit on it. Bad plan. We ended up falling all over each other in a heap of skis and poles. They actually shut off the lift for a few minutes and yelled at us in German to get off the path. Round two. We get in position, grab the lift, and try to put it up higher on our backs than the first time. As soon as the lift really kicked on, it pulled the bar straight over my head and I face planted, dragging Kara down with me (sorry Kara). Finally we succeeded in making it up the lift. We may or may not have sang Whitney Houston on the way up.
Once off the t-bar we realized that we had stumbled upon yet another red slope. Cool. This time I was much less confident, knowing that I was probably going to spend most of my time on my butt. But again, there’s only one way down the mountain once you’re up. It was the same story as the first slope: wipe out after wipe out. These falls were harder than the first because I would get going too fast.
One of the more memorable falls happened right in front of an Austrian couple. I was going REALLY fast. I definitely had the speed shakes but I was trying to control it by zig zagging across the slopes to no avail. This Austrian couple was standing in the middle of the slope taking a break; I zoomed past once going to the left and then turned and flew past a second time going to the right. I seriously was about to zoom straight into some trees so I decided to lean into the mountain and fall to stop myself. But as soon as I started leaning, I realized I was completely out of control. I bit the dust BIG TIME, losing both skis and a pole in the process. I think I did a few somersaults before I came to a stop.The worst part about it was the sound I made as I fell; it really sounded like a dying animal. Seriously. I can still hear it. After I came to a stop, I just wanted to chill for a second so I just laid there. After a few seconds, I heard someone ski up to me and ask, “Alles gut [everything ok]?” I looked over and of course it was the Austrian guy. His girlfriend was standing behind him staring at me. They had definitely watched the whole thing. Hopefully I at least provided a little entertainment for them.
I called it a day after that slope. I probably should have tried at least one more slope because how often do you get a chance to ski in the stinkin ALPS?! But I was exhausted and just wanted a drink. So I ended the day with a few Jack and Cokes watching other people ski down the mountain. Even though I spent most of the day eating snow, I still had a great time and would love to go back someday. But I think maybe I’ll go back to Park City and take a few more lessons first.