I just got home from my latest school ski trip. These things are always an exercise in humility. My kids are all better on skis and boards than I will ever be (I only learned how to use snowblades a few years ago, and I’m still pretty tentative on them), and there are dozens of them on the hill with me as I stumble, slip and swerve my way down.
It started at the rental desk. The woman there asked me if I was boarding or skiing.
“Blading,” I told her (these are the really short little skis, more accurately called skiboards).
“Really?” she asked incredulously. “You are?”
The woman went on to explain to my colleague and me that she thought that those things were deathtraps and utterly uncontrollable. I pointed out to her that, when strapped to my feet, nothing is controllable.
Against the predictions of the smarmy lady at the desk, I managed to stay upright most of the time. I kept to the green runs (the ones full of five-year-olds and the morbidly obese), but at least I wasn’t tumbling the entire way, which is what happened the one time that I stupidly chose to try snowboarding (“DAMN YOU, FRONT EDGE!”). Of course, when I ran into some of the other teachers, all good skiers, I was made a victim of my stupid male brain-ego combination.
“Hey,” said one of them (a blonde, surfer-type with excellent balance), “why don’t you come ride with us? We haven’t seen you all day!”
“No, I kind of suck. I’m going to ride on the green runs some more.”
“Dude, you can totally handle a blue run. We’ll go slow. You’ll be fine.”
In my mind, I could hear my stupid guy-brain start up. You will be fine! The surfer guy said so! He’s cool and an alpha male! His judgment must be sound!
At the top of the hill, I realized that I was in the exact same spot where I started my (“DAMN YOU, FRONT EDGE!”) snowboarding failure.
“I know you, hill,” I said to the steep drop-off as the other teachers gracefully slid over its edge. “I remember you well.”
Fifty feet later, I was lying on the snow with my other ski skittering into a ditch.
I think, from now on, I will stick to tamer winter sports with my daughter.