On the drive up to Taos, I told Chase my plan to hang out in the lodge the whole weekend instead of skiing. This trip terrified me; how did people find skiing fun?
I had good reason to be afraid. On a middle school “ski” trip, my biggest accomplishment was making a snow angel and then downing hot chocolate. Two years ago, I was invited to ski with some friends, and got injured early on the first day. I spent New Years Eve in the emergency room. I had barely even made it down a run in the Midwest, so how was I going to survive a western mountain?!
He talked me down from the ledge with every way he knew how–assurances that it would be okay, encouraging me to face my fears, reminding me that you have to start somewhere, hinting that the weekend would be a colossal waste of money to come all the way out here to just sit and read a book…
Finally I relented. I was going to ski, but I was not going to like it. In fact, I’d probably have a repeat performance of the emergency room shuffle.
By the time we picked up Chase’s brothers at the Albuquerque airport and made it to the cabin we had rented in Taos, it was nearly 3:30 am. My fear was still on overdrive, though, because by the time I finally fell asleep, I dreamt that my ski boots were too big and I slipped out of them, falling to my doom.
Morning came too quickly, and all 17 of us (yes, 17 of us crammed into a tiny villa in the mountains!) arrived at Taos Ski Valley bright and early and encountered this sign. It did nothing to calm my shaking hands.
Chase is a really good snowboarder, so I couldn’t believe that he started on the bunny hill with me, instead of hurrying off to get the most of his lift ticket. We went down the bunny hill three times, while I got my balance and practiced steering. From there, we spent the morning on the easiest green runs. He gave me pointers and encouragement and slowly…SLOWLY…I gained more confidence.
By early afternoon, I had (painstakingly) made it down two blue runs, although I will admit that (A) the wipe out factor was pretty high, (B) I was near tears, and (C) I had a death grip on my poles. He must have seen how shaken up I was from the blue runs and suggested that we take a breather at the Bavarian bar’s outdoor lounge chairs. I re-grouped over a snack and was ready to try again.
We met up with some friends, and I skied with them for the last hour or so, while Chase went off to do a couple of runs with his brothers. I gathered more tips from them and started to really get the hang of things. At the end of it all, I had survived Day 1. It was a miracle. Smiles all around!
We headed back to the cabin to relax and eat dinner. The night ended with us gathering around the TV to watch the 2012 ski flick G.N.A.R. It totally pumped me up for Day 2!! (For the full G.N.A.R. the movie, click here.)
I told myself that I was going to be the best skier on the mountain the next day.
Or something like that.