Monday, January 22, 2007
Steamy and Springy
In my ongoing efforts to explore my beautiful new state, I took off last Friday afternoon for my first official ski trip. There were about 80 of us from Up The Creek, and we basically took over Steamboat Springs.
The drive was spectacular heading up - a bright sunny day, snow-capped everything and zero traffic. I made it in three hours flat and must've said out loud more than once, "Holy shit. I live here!" I recalled saying the same thing over and over when I'd moved to San Francisco - nice to feel that awestruck again.
I was immediately 'adopted' by two lovely ladies, Annie and Sally, who babysat me on the slopes in shifts. I needed it, that's for sure. Though I may have been one of the group's youngest members (and the only one I could find that had no divorces or kids) I was also the slowest. These folks are hard core. Still, I managed not to 'officially' fall (butt never actually touched the ground, thankyouverymuch) though I made some exquisite and rather complicated near-splats. On Saturday's last run, I followed the gang like a dumb puppy and suddenly found myself on a steep, icy run quietly shitting my pants. The run was called "Heavenly Days" but it felt more like a hellish nightmare.
I spotted a telltale red jacket with the soothing symbol of ski patrol, the square Swiss Army cross logo on the back, and nervously whimpered, "Um, hi. Yeah, um, excuse me ... um could you just, yeah, sort of ... be, y'know, nearby, for just a little bit?"
"Sure!" he said and skied promptly up next to me with a decisive WHOOSH! It was then I noticed the man was on just one ski. My savior's other leg was a wooden peg leg, just like a friggin' pirate, I shit you not. I may have even said, "Oh Christ, that's comforting" before I snowplowed down the icy mountainside with a batch of my patient new friends below, watching my every wide-eyed scrape.
I managed to survive which made the whiskey and the hot tub later that evening just that much sweeter. The next day's snowfall brought fresh champagne powder - like floating around on a cloud. I didn't want to leave but the ol' legs felt similar to cooked noodles. Taking the gondola down was nothing like going up. Again, I nearly shat myself while trying to make polite conversation with a fellow skier. That sudden view from above and the sense of falling down rattled me a bit but I played it off, cuz I'm really cool like that.
The drive home was less than idyllic but at least, I gaged it correctly. My estimation that with active snow and ice on the road combined with Sunday ski traffic would result in five hours of my life was dead on. Once again, I was scared shitless. It may have been the one time that my ignorance served me well. With heightened awareness of my snow driving inexperience combined with my lack of co-pilot (I tried to recruit one, I really, really did) my senses were so heightened, I was like a friggin' ninja. I barely batted a eyelash as I passed one crunched SUV and rolled Honda after another and tried to breathe.
I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said, "Do something every day that scares you." Yeah, so I think I may have stocked up this weekend - I should be good for awhile.