Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why I'm not ready for spring, and knitting is a good thing

Two years ago, I made a New Years Resolution to try things I never did before. Skiing was on the list. I really did want to try, but I never expected to actually like it. I don’t like to be cold, and I really don’t like to fall down, and skiing involves both. I knew Bruce wanted to snowboard, and I figured that I could go with him, take a skiing lesson, say I’d tried it and then make excuses to do something else when he wanted to go off and snowboard. A win-win situation – he could snowboard, and I could be warm and unscathed.

I’m not going to bore you with any smarmy descriptions about the feeling of freedom, or the wind rushing past, or the crisp clean first run on an untouched freshly groomed slope. But I’ve discovered that it’s fun. And hard. And it takes a lot of concentration. And if I concentrate, I can do it.

We're on our third season as pass-holders at a little family-owned ski area 30 minutes from us. It’s small, but big enough to have a good ski school, a decent lodge, plenty of parking, and friendly employees. If we get up at 6, we can be the first ones on the lift in the morning. And we have been – every weekend since the first flakes hit the ground. I usually have the green slopes completely to myself for a lovely, untouched 20 minutes or so, before anyone else rides the chair lift at all. I even beat the ski patrol up the mountain on some mornings. Bruce disappears to the black slopes – the difficult runs – and shows up an hour or so later, sweaty and disheveled and grinning like the Cheshire cat.

I’m no ball of fire, but I'm pretty good with my parallel turns and getting better at carving. My instructor commented at how much progress I’ve made like he was surprised. But I know the truth – and that is that I know how to practice. All those years of violin practice prepared me for skiing. A whole new world has opened for us – one that involves watching the weather, checking the ski reports, and a ski rack on the Subaru.

This year, my New Year's Resolution was to ski a blue slope. And I have - checked that off the list two weeks ago during a 4 day expedition to Stratton. I enjoy knowing that, 3 years before age 50, I can ski an intermediate slope, grinning ear to ear.

Here we are on the summit at Stratton, just off from the gondola. Do I have the coolest ski jacket or what?

For the record, it's not that I don't like spring. Really, I do. Just not yet, ok? I'm not done with the ski season. If you're chilly, put on a nice warm sweater (if you can get it out from under the cat...)

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