Give It Up, Already!

31 01 2013

Some things are just not meant to be. Like Brittany Spears and K-Fed, or Napoleon and Russia. New to the list: my snowboard and I.


Last weekend, my struggles finally came to a head and I threw in the towel. A girl just has to know when to say enough is enough! So here’s what happened:

I used to ski. By this I mean my parents would take us on a ski trip once every couple of years. After moving to Bend, OR, I decided to switch and learn to snowboard. A couple lessons and a broken wrist later, I was benched for the rest of the winter. Then I moved to northern Washington and hit the slopes a total of 4 or 5 times last winter. So here it is, end of January, and I haven’t been on my board since last…March? maybe April?

We went “home” last weekend to Twisp to visit old pals and get a new tooth (more on that in a minute). We decided to go up to the Loup, the little ski hill nearby. I’m not gonna lie, I could barely hide the fact that I would rather stay at the ranch with my bestie’s husband, elbow deep in a cow’s nether parts, helping deliver babies, than strap on my snowboard and face the chair lift.

Of course, I went anyway. The group headed up the one lift while I struggled over to the t-bar on the bunny slope. Justin came with me, apparently oblivious to the Death Glare beaming into his back. I asked the guy how the t-bar thingy worked, since I’ve never been on one, and he kindly explained to put the bar between my legs, sit back, and let it pull me up the hill. Oh, ok. Piece of cake!

I fell off about 20 feet from where I got on. Super. Pissed and embarrassed, I flopped over the strip of fluffy snow to the groomed trail, buckled in, and struggled back up. By this point, Justin had ridden to the top and glided expertly down, side to side, dipping his knee perfectly in his fancy telemark skis. Show off!! I slid on my back edge back to the demonic t-bar thing and tried again. The nice guy gave me some pointers and keep yelling instructions as I went up. I thought I was doing pretty good until my edge caught, I lost my balance and flipped off the damn thing yet again. I was irate at this point, mad beyond belief, with a pulled inner thigh muscle to flame my anger. Yanking my stupid bindings back around, I made it down and got in line for the third time.

The dude told me to strap both feet in this time, to relax and keep my board straight but let the bar do the rest of the work. Lo and behold, I actually made it to the very top! Justin was behind me and might have cheered for me, but I was tuning out his know-it-all voice and didn’t hear. I flipped to my back edge and very clumsily made a few grotesque attempts at a turn and I was back at the bottom.

Justin slid to a disgustingly perfect stop next to me, ready to get back on the Bar Contraption of Death. I popped out of my left binding, shot the hill my very best Go To Hell look (mom would be proud!) and pushed past Justin the World’s Greatest Skier. “Catch up with the others. You can find me in the lodge. Probably with a beer.” I popped my other boot out and dragged my board unceremoniously up to the lodge. I think Justin was smart enough to just let me go, but again, I was blocking the sound of his I-ski-better-than-I-walk voice so I didn’t hear anything he might have said.

I bailed on the beer at the concession stand when I noticed it was only 10am and got a hot chocolate instead. I sat outside at a picnic table and watched the little kids in ski school. How disgusting. Six-year-olds gliding through cones, breezing up the rope tow, spraying snow when they stopped. Even their tumbles had a certain air of nonchalance as the little kids just bounced right back up.

Then I spotted the dad with the screaming child. She was in a heap at his feet, their skis tangled, her hat sideways and one glove in the snow. And she was WAILING. “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! I don’t WANNA go down again! I don’t WANNA put my glove back on! I don’t WANNA EVER DO IT AGAIN!” From what I could tell, there weren’t even real tears on those cherub cheeks, and I was instantly in love with the little darling. I wanted to give her tiny fist a bump and say, “Yeah, sister, I know EXACTLY how you feel.” Then we could throw our dumb gear off the mountain and laugh about the good days of summer while toasting our Mirror Ponds and sharing fries. Well, ok, we would have to wait 15 years until she’s legal to drink, but whatever.

By the time my group masterfully slid to a perfect stop in front of the lodge, the storm had cleared from my face. Our friends’ parents were in the area and were meeting us for lunch, which was lovely. Then my bestie, Amber, said something truly miraculous: “Hey, do you want to switch?” We all looked at her. “I brought my skis and my board, what size shoe do you wear? You wear my skis, I’ll get on my board, we’ll probably be about the same level!” I looked at Justin, he ate another of my fries, I looked back at Amber and shrugged. “Ok!”

We zipped back down to the car and had a real quick gear swap. Her boots fit me almost perfectly. We scurried over to the bunny hill I had been watching all morning and joined the 6-year-olds. “Just lean your weight on the foot opposite of the direction you want to turn. Lean on the right, turn left.” Amber watched as I executed my first ski turns in 4 years. I was shaky, but…I did it! I didn’t even fall! Amber joined me, all smiles. “You did great! You remember how – let’s try the real hill!” We jumped in line for the lift, giddy with excitement. We prepared for the steep descent off the chair, but I didn’t even waver!! Better yet, I didn’t take out Amber, either! We cruised down the long green, giggling, screeching, telling each other how AWESOME we are. Isn’t there a name for that…? Oh, right, it’s called HAVING A BLAST.

We met the others and unobservant Justin noticed the change immediately. “You look like you’re….having fun?” I just kept telling him that Amber and I are basically pros and should probably be on TV. We all went up and I skied down the hill with Justin for the first time ever. I keep looking back to see if he was watching, if was seeing how great I was doing. My legs were on fire, I had no idea what to do with my poles, but I couldn’t stop. I wanted to keep going until security forced me off the mountain!!

The chair’s last run is at 3:45, and we finally had to go. The second run with Amber, I told her how amazing she is for letting me try out her skis and for helping me remember what to do with them. I would buy her any beer she wanted when we went to dinner later. By the time we were loading up to go home, I was promising her whole breweries, beers named after her, tasting rooms where she was the only one allowed!! I have never felt so grateful for such a seemingly small gift. I’m surprised everyone is still friends with me after my incessant yammering. (We are still friends, right guys?)

Before heading home, Amber’s sister dropped a very interesting little snippet of info my way. “You know, I’m trying to sell my old skis. I’ll make you a deal on them if you really want them.” O.M.G.

I talked about how cool it would be to buy those skis and just give snowboarding a little bit of a break. I talked about how great it was of Amber to let me try skiing again and remember how much fun it was. I talked about how this just isn’t the time to try to snowboard, since I really need to be able to take lessons and learn how first. I talked about how I’ll just hurt myself again on my board, and there really just isn’t any point since we don’t live close enough to a mountain for me to really get it down and what a  really stellar deal Amber’s sister is willing to give me.

The next day, I went to the dentist for my new tooth (I told you it was coming). I had an implant screwed down into my jaw a while back and this was the crown they put in to replace the gaping hole in my mouth. It’s the reason we needed to come to Twisp in the first place. And since we had to drive through Wenatchee anyway, where Amber’s sister lives, I might have come home with THESE!!!!

K2 downhill skis

Mine all MINE! (Yeah, “old” as in the nicest skis I’ve ever seen!)

See yall on the slopes!! (Oh, right, I still need boots….)





Give it to me straight -

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