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let it snow! (or maybe not)

January 6, 2009

The January sky is gray and the wind is blowing. But no matter what it looks like outside, and despite all my wishing otherwise, it isn’t going to snow today in Georgia. It is 8:30 in the morning and already 63 degrees. I can remember back in the fall one of the forecasters in our area predicting a warm and dry winter. Well, he got one part right.

January is typically our coldest month here in the South, so each year as the Christmas frenzy wanes and the depression of a seemingly dreary undecorated house settles in, I begin to hope for snow. I’m still hopeful, even as I watch the temperature rise. So I’m going to pretend today that I have an occasion to talk about snow. Perhaps I can will it into being.

Many of you know that I am originally from Utah, where the snow happily piles up year after year. Most people assume that someone from Utah is a born skier. Like the way someone from California is a born liberal. But alas this is not the case. I was also once convinced that skiing ability ran deep in the veins of anyone from the Rocky Mountain region, which is why 10 years ago I selected skiing as one of the activities my husband and I would undertake on our honeymoon.

You know, that is one of the moments of my life that I wish the older and wiser me could go back to the younger and stupider me and say, “DON’T DO IT!”

We went to the Poconos in March 1999. Young and stupid. The only attire I had that was worthy of a day in the snow was a pair of snow boots from the gift shop that the hotel concierge-person gave me when I discovered that the bag that held all my shoes never made it to the plane. I was dressed in jeans and a jacket and cotton gloves. Cotton. Water-absorbent cotton from head to shins.

The other thing I was quite unprepared for was how painful skis really are. They hold your ankles in an unnaturally straight position so that by the time you’re done you’re quite sure your legs have been replaced by 2X4s. And the pain increases as you ski. Just when you feel like your leg will surely break, the ski comes off and you tumble to the ground. I was told by the instructor that this is a safety feature. Right.

Maybe this isn’t how it works for most people.

So we finally make it up to the top of the hill. Let me stress that word… hill. This was not a mountain by any stretch of the imagination. But standing at the top, or should I say clinging for dear life to my new husband’s arm at the top, I was scared to death.

We begin our descent. Not so bad at first. But as my speed increases, the ability to control my descent diminishes to the point that it is nonexistent. Before I know it I am flying out of control and my legs feel like they are going to break. All at once, as I dive into the snow, I remember the safety feature. “Anyone seen my other ski??”

By now I am wet to the skin and cold. Colder than I think I have ever been. My hands are so cold I can’t feel them anymore. I am certain I am going to remove my gloves and discover I have lost at least a digit or two to frostbite. I look around to find my ski and see my husband happily sailing by… my husband from Louisiana. Then I realize I have skied approximately ten feet.

I looked down the hill at what seemed like the miles I had left to go and began to cry. Yep. That was me. Sitting in the snow, wet, cold and crying. On my honeymoon.

I repeated that process… Skiing 10 feet. Falling. Sitting. Freezing. Crying. All the way down the hill.

Writing this article has cured me of my desire for snow. At least for now.

If you’ve enjoyed reading about my first and only experience with skiing, I highly recommend this article by Dave Barry entitled The Gravity of Skiing.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2009 6:23 pm

    Aw man I second that opinion on down hill skiing. I lived in Utah for four years – right near the canyons in SLC. I am southern raised chick with arthritic knees. Not a good skiing combo. I cried lots too trying to be like my cool friends. However, my last year there, Steve and I (my hubbie that I met at the little Southern Baptist church in SLC) discovered cross country skiing.

    Cross country is a whole different ball game. Did you ever try it? You have a little track you go on through gorgeous scenery. You hardly ever fall. Gentle hills. You burn a billion calories and have to eat a hamburger soon afterwards. I dream of being able to afford a family trip out there to go cross country skiing.

    Maybe we’ll get a snow storm here in March or April and we can cross country in the neighborhood.

  2. scrabblenut permalink*
    January 6, 2009 6:51 pm

    Hmmm. I have not tried the cross-country idea. I’ve heard of it, but I never really knew what it was all about. I just assumed you would be skiing for a very long time, which in my mind, would be torture.

    Perhaps I’ll have to give that a try sometime, given a few more years for the memories to fade and more appropriate clothing πŸ™‚

  3. Eric permalink
    January 8, 2009 9:18 pm

    Distance from the event makes memories fonder… I had sympathy back then and while I can still feel your pain I find myself laughing all these years later. Good times, good times.

  4. Kerri permalink
    June 30, 2010 8:37 am

    One side of me has often thought skiing looked like fun, but the other side flashes random pictures of all my klutzy moments in front of my eyes and makes me certain I would end up with a broken body part and wounded pride πŸ™‚

    I like Tricia’s suggestion, though, and should I ever have the opportunity, I might opt for that route.

    Thanks for sharing your humiliation. Might be good therapy to help you move on πŸ˜‰

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