March 18, 2005

Après ski

Days two, three, and four of the ski trip proceeded in similar fashion: Mom got up about 8 and took a shower, then I got up and dressed and the two of us went out to the "tropical atrium" for breakfast. Dad follows about twenty minutes later, and then eventually Kathy gets dragged out of bed and we all head over to the ski mountain. There were some variations in the pattern---day three included a rousing (and loud) argument between Dad and me on the subject of Social Security, for instance---but generally Kathy and I were back on the mountain by a bit after 10.

Skiing itself is something that I continue to find surprisingly easy. I think part of it is because I'm so analytical, so I can ask very specific questions about what I'm supposed to be doing at any given time, but that's not all; the trick of parallel traversing is something I seem to have intuited on my own, and am now merely refining. I really wonder if that's not partially due to the ballroom dancing, as the particular way that you lean into a bent knee, weight over the inside ball of your foot, is quite similar to the American latin motion of, say, rhumba, as is the way you switch from one support leg to the other, although the timing is of course quite different. But I've only ever skied one day at Villa Olivia (near Chicago), two days at Killington, and the three and a half days of this trip, and something was letting me figure out how to handle black diamonds.

Kathy is something of a natural too, which might support my theory, although there it's also a matter of raw leg strength; the first time we went over into a blue intermediate area, she led off and Dad and I watched as she snowplowed straight down the middle. (There was also some minor screaming involved, as I recall.) She, too, was trying the black diamonds by the last day, although in her case there was a some reversion to snowplowing here and there, as she can only reliably parallel-traverse in one direction. (How many people can snowplow to a stop on a steep hill? I mean, really.)

Dad managed to throw out his knee on Day Two, so he was out for the rest of the trip, unfortunately. Meanwhile, Mom, who was worried about her back and reluctant to shell out big bucks to rent equipment she might not be able to use, discovered their Wednesday special: night lift tickets come with free ski rental. And since "night" starts at 4pm, she'd be able to try it all out for a cool $25, which is cheap enough to not induce money-guilt if it doesn't work out.

In the event, it worked out fine. She hasn't been skiing since before I was born (really!), so she felt a bit rusty... but once she got going, she looked like an old pro (which, really, is pretty much what she was). It was like watching an expert in some field go through each exercise in an introductory workbook. She started with a straight snowplow, which she did perfectly. Then she turned the page and started on left and right snowplow turns, which she did perfectly. And so on, until by the end, she was swish-swishing her traverses down the (shallow) slope with casual ease that made it look like she'd been skiing forever. Next trip she's definitely up for renting equipment for the full time.

So now we're trying to figure out when we can put together a ski trip out west. Taos keeps coming up as a possibility, which would be awesome. We're all pretty psyched about it. We'll see!

I kind of enjoy holding vociferous opinions, and people are only really allowed to hold vociferous opinions when they know what they're talking about. Morally, I mean---in practice, most people who do hold forth vociferously are painfully ignorant. --Michael Kimmitt

Posted by blahedo at 11:31pm on 18 Mar 2005
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