Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to Ski

Today ends the Keweenaw's six-day stretch of sunshine. Six days of sunshine? I feel like I've been in another state or another season for the past week because gray is the color of winter here. Not blue and white and yellow and gold with shiny sparkles. But it was uplifting for a while.

And what a better way to end it than with dumping snow. Snow. The perfect thing to see blocking the view from my window. Now let's get piling up... it's almost March and we've got at least 150 inches to go before reaching the average. If it doesn't come now, it will come when we least desire it.

On sunshiny yesterday I was convinced, by my friends who are skiers, to try skiing at the Porcupine Mountains in the Western U.P. I am a snowboarder. I didn't realize so much mental rivalry existed between the two sports until I tried skiing with skiers.

Remember I am an awful classic cross country skier. Me and long sticks on my feet with poles attached to my hands usually end up in a tangled mess. How can a person really control all that equipment?

I stood at the top of the easiest run at the Porkies. Not nervous. Not afraid. Not knowing how to control my speed. Rachel was coaching me, and giving me the rundown. But I wasn't really paying attention. I just wanted to go down the hill. So I went. Often times laying on my skis, my belly, upside down on my back or a sequential combination of those and other positions. "I'm going to have bruises."

After a couple runs like that, I decided to listen to some pointers from my skier friends. Blah blah this and blah blah that. I gradually progressed throughout the day with no major crashes except for my ski falling off my boot while I was on the chair lift. Luckily it turned and got stuck in the trees so I didn't have to walk the whole way down the mountain to find a runaway ski. Thank you to the man who pulled it out of the snow for me.

I did pretty well, though. I felt like a skier by the end of the day, when at the beginning I just felt like a snowboarder who really didn't know what they were doing and looking like a total idiot on the hill. I could see people laugh at me, and I wanted to shout, "I'm a snowboarder! Really! I'm just learning this sport!"

But I did feel like a skier for a little bit there, and at the end of the day, my skier friends asked me if I was ready to burn my snowboard and buy some ski boots. No, I'm not. Skiing is all right. It got fun after I was done feeling like I wanted to give up. So just let me be a snowboarder, and I will try not to make fun of you for being a skier.

So to all my skier friends, I can see why you like to go down the hill on two sticks, but I prefer to shoot down on a plank without holding on to two poles that I don't use anyway. Let it snow.

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