I’m never quite sure what to write about in February, so this time I thought I would share a few experiences that happened to me while learning to ski!
During my stay at ETSU, there was a promotion for ski lessons at Beech Mountain Resort near Boone NC. The offer included five lessons with lift passes and ski rentals at a price that even I as a student could afford. As it turned out a couple of my friends had the same idea. So, on a Saturday afternoon we packed into a car and headed for Beech Mountain.
After being fitted for skies, we plodded through the snow to the beginner’s slope. The lessons began with how to fall down and get back up properly. This was a good idea because that is how I spent most of my time. The rest of the lesson consisted of learning how to make turns and slow down. Neither of which I mastered.
After the first lesson was completed, we were free to play around on the beginner’s slope or do whatever we wanted. It wasn’t long until it got a little boring falling down over and over again on the beginner’s slope, so we decided it would be more exciting to fall down over and over again on the intermediate slope.
To get to the top of the intermediate slope you had to ride the ski lift. Easier said than done with sticks on your feet. I managed to waddle in front of the moving seat and settled in for the scenic ride up to the top of the mountain. Getting off was a little trickier. I ended up pushing off the lift seat, falling on my backside and crawling out of the way before the next rider ran over me.
My first run down the intermediate slope was pretty wild! The instructor had taught us how to snowplow (put the ski tips together to form a V which slows you down), but it didn’t work that well. I ended up going full speed, somehow dodging people and most things that got in the way. At the bottom of the slope was a big patch of ice where I wiped out and slid the rest of the way to the lodge. That was fun! Let’s do it again!
When equipment rental folks fitted me with skis, they asked my weight and adjusted a knob on the back of the ski boot so that the ski will pop off the boot rather than put your leg in a twist. Your ankle cannot move in a ski boot. One evening I got aggravated because my ski kept coming off. Without thinking, I gave the knob several good turns to be sure it would stay on the boot.
Shortly after, I was flying down the slope, out of control as usual, when I crashed and one of my ski tips dug into the snow and the ski flipped over. Unfortunately, my body didn’t follow! Something had to give and it was my knee! I felt it slip completely out of joint! I almost soiled my armor!! When I was able to get my body and leg aligned, the knee popped back in place. This was very painful, but surprisingly in a short time I was able to continue skiing.
At the end of the evening, I wedged into the tightly packed car for the ride home. That was the last time I could lift my leg for the next three days. Surprisingly toward the end of the week it felt much better, and I was able to ski again that weekend. That same knee developed a click when walking up steps and gives me problems to this day!
The last weekend of skiing we decided to try the expert slope. I was getting pretty good at getting on and off the lift by then. When we got to the top of the slope and looked down, it was apparent I may have made a mistake.
To understand that mistake, imagine someone with a backhoe had gone nuts on a steep slope. I don’t think there was a square foot that wasn’t either a deep hole or a high mound! All snow covered of course. And I had nowhere to go but down!
The only way I could maneuver down the slope was to zig zag and fall at each zig and zag. All the while dodging other skiers that would appear from nowhere, doing 80 mph over the mounds. The mounds were about head high. I feared for my life!!
Thankfully I made it to the bottom no worse for wear. But of course, we had to do it again! That time I lost a ski about halfway down and had to walk/fall the rest of the way back to the lodge. The ski got there a long time before I did.
Great fun! And I lived to tell the tale! I thought I would continue skiing when I got back home, but it was not to be.
Graduate of Bergton Elementary (Class of ’65)