I am not a coordinated or graceful person. I have no agility or speed either. I am clumsy.
I am a great walker though. I have that down pat.
My job involves snow so when I tell people where I work the first question I get asked is whether I ski or snowboard.
Begin the reel. Here is the first of many attempts at athleticism...
Growing up, my family took yearly ski trips to Michigan with family friends. I was a fearful five year old and not excited about strapping two skis on and plummeting down a hill. Pops however, was full of enthusiasm and exuberance that would soon turn to frustration. God love him for having faith that someday I would grow out of my awkward stage. We are still waiting.
With some fuss I got my boots and skis on and practiced on the little hill by the chalet. I’d walk up the little hill and snowplow my little self down. Pizza. French fry. Pizza. French Fry. Sounds fun, right? I remember a lot of yelling and crying involved during practice. It was unfair, my brothers took to the hill like Snoopy, suavely traversing the snowy terrain with little effort. Pops was at a loss on why these skills were harder for me; I chalk it up to being a late bloomer.
After we both had enough zigzagging, Pops brought me to the bottom of the hill to prep me for my first chairlift ride. The chairlift was an old two-seater that went to the top of the bunny hill. Pops went through the instructions over and over until I committed them to memory. Scoot up, grab the pole, sit down, bar down, tips up. He’d be right next to me the whole time.
And I did it! We were riding high and I felt a rush of adrenaline and accomplishment. The views of the trees were spectacular the skiers were whooshing below, this was incredible!
About half way up the ride, Pops started prepping on how the unloading was going to go. He assured me it was a lot easier than getting on. I am not sure what exactly happened, but sometime between his instructions and the unloading zone I completely psyched myself out.
My dad left the chairlift and I did not.
I kept going until the lift was stopped. I took one look at my dad swearing under his breath and started to bawl. I had been defeated and humiliated by a chairlift.
My saving grace was the liftie, a sweet old man who came out with a ladder and lifted me down gently. To this day, I remember his kind smile and the safety of his arms. Once back to the ground he gave me a Kleenex, a Hershey Kiss, and a button that said Kiss me, I’m a good skier. The world was right again.
Going downhill was a piece of cake. After the one and only run, Pops brought me back to the chalet and I am guessing went to have a few cocktails to take the edge off of our bonding experience. It was a long afternoon and at the end of it, all was forgiven.
The next day Pops signed me up for ski school. Best forty bucks he ever spent.