Not to toot my own horn but I am quite the mediocre skier and get your pen and paper out folks because I am going to tell you how it’s done.
1st- Have a freaking rad Mom
When I was a wee tot my mom in her excellence took five kids up the mountain and taught us how to ski. 5 snot nosed brats… well the rest were probably fine, but I am pretty dang sure I threw in more than my allotment of hillside tantrums. But We went and I remember loving to duck through the trees, go off little jumps and I swear I had zero fear. I was also 4 feel shorter than I am now so that may have eased the fear of falling.
2nd - Try Snowboarding
Snowboarding came onto the scene like a wrecking ball. All of a sudden every teenager from here to kingdom come was tearing down the mountain on a single plank and I wanted to be one of them. Turns out… I should not follow the crowd. I don’t think I have ever been more terrified, or more injured than ever before. From concussions, broken tail bones (probably just bruised), and bruised ego’s snowboards wrecked me.
3rd - Take an eight year sabbatical
After my dance with the devil, I mean snowboarding, I decided to do what all rational teens do when their ego has been crushed. Quit. Sayonara winter sports! So I twiddled my thumbs and got into climbing, backpacking and all sorts of outdoor jams but did not glance even remotely in the general direction of snowboarding, or skiing. Except one failed attempt that reinforced my boycott…
4th - Decide to Ski again because you work at an outdoor store and that’s what everyone else is going
This time the following the crowd worked to my benefit. I got out my mothers ski’s from before the fall of the Berlin Wall and decided to get back on that horse one kiddy hill at a time. For real though, I am pretty sure for the first year the Nordic Valley kiddy hill was my dearest comrade in my quest to get back to skiing.
5th - Go with people better than you
I have pride, I will admit it and I hate holding people back. So if I go with people at my same level I am comfortable, If I go with people just beginning I look like I know what the heck I am doing (nope! still terrified of falling), If you go with people better, they push you to be a bit more brave and a bit more okay with being terrified. The first time I went with Matt he kicked my trash! Like down the mountain before I made it down the first hill. But because I didn’t want to hold him back I went down everything he did. I may have sung the Indian Jones theme song the whole way down to give me courage but I did it! Don’t judge my methods.. It works Indy is a brave soul. Be with people who make you want to ski better and push yourself. All of a sudden you will be at the bottom and you are only a wee bit behind now.
6th - Be okay with the chaos.
I use to avoid fluff, bumps, or anything that may make me fall. I would get so terrified I tensed up, so tense I could have cracked a walnut in my butt cheeks. Each and every time I would crash. Finally I decided to quit being a wimp and embrace the wildness. If I relaxed and just plowed through more often than not I would actually stay standing.
7th - Go skiing every dang chance you get
No one becomes as mediocre as I am without lots of practice! Hit the hills folks and enjoy it for what it is. Being in nature, being engaged in life and probably getting hurt because let’s be real you will fall. Lets just hope its into fluffy white snow.
Here’s to the winter and all the wildness that comes with it, whether you are a beginner on the kiddy hill, mediocre to boot, or bombing down a couloir its should be a good year.