To Ski or Not To Ski …

Two things.

One – I’ve been watching a lot of Olympics.

Two – I’m going skiing tomorrow.

Anyone who knows me will not not confuse these events in any way. Mostly because my gold medal run pretty much consists of getting down the bunny hill without wiping out.  And the sad thing is – it wasn’t always this way.

I came to skiing late in life (at the ripe old age of 31) when I gamely took a group lesson at Mount Tremblant and then fought the 5 year-olds for space on the rope tow (remember those?).  But I persevered. Mostly because my (now ex) husband skied, two of his ex-girlfriends skied, these same two girls still skied with his group and it was either sit at home wondering what the heck was going on three weekends every winter or suck it up and learn.

Turns out I’m pretty good at sucking and I learned.  And loved it.  I didn’t mind falling, I didn’t mind mascara running down my cheeks and I didn’t even mind the butt-ugly ski suit my darling bought me that year for Christmas.  I loved skiing.  I went back to Quebec again and again, bought my own cool and super-trendy ski clothes, took some more lessons and improved dramatically. 

Now this wasn’t all easy-peasy because A) I am afraid of heights and B) I am afraid of heights.  The first time hubby-dearest miscalculated and we found ourselves atop a blue run (Are you kidding me? This was my first year and I was still a confirmed green gal) I just about had a heart attack. I was terrified.  Frozen in my (ugly rental) boots.  

He just looked at me like I was a nut and said “Don’t be ridiculous and don’t be scared. This is easy. Just ski the down the run.”

And so I, not caring one iota about looking ridiculous whilst seriously considering removing my skis and bashing him over the head, glared at him icily and spat “Would you be scared getting up on stage at the ACC and singing a song?”

 “Of course I would” was his response. 

“So there!” spat I again, with even more conviction. “I would not. So don’t you dare tell me about fear!”

He shut up.  Wisely.  And I skied to the bottom.  And no one died.

But that’s the thing about fear.  I can’t tell you what not to be afraid of and you can’t tell me.  We fear what we fear.

I eventually became not only a proficient blue-run skier but I also tackled most of the single blacks at Tremblant and even a few doubles (yes, I did Expo and Flying Mile).  And I loved it.

Then hubby and I split and I was too broke to ski much.  I did manage a few local hills until my brand new skis were unceremoniously stolen while I sipped hot chocolate in the chalet.  Exactly one month before I slipped on some ice and broke my ankle in three places.

So much for my skiing career.  It languished for about four years until I moved twenty minutes from Ontario’s premier downhill destination (Blue Mountain) and convinced myself to try again.  My son was with me.  He has become quite an accomplished snowboarder and his only comment on mommy’s slope style was “What the heck happened, Mom? You used to be so good?”

Yep.  Used to.  Not anymore.  Probably because it had been awhile, I had steel in my ankle, I am that much older and that much more terrified.

I did ski twice that first year and then once last.  Last year was better, perhaps because I actually had my skis tuned (who knew?).  But still, I am a two-hour skier at best.  After that, the chalet just looks too darned cozy.

Which brings me to tomorrow.  My son wants to come up and hit the slopes. My beau has a hankering to try snowboarding (he reckons if all those pot-head Olympians can do it, so can he).  And I want to go again.


See, the other part of me … the chicken-shit, lazy, I’d-rather-stay-home-and-cook-you-all-dinner part of me wants to not go.  Wants to give up skiing forever.

But I’m going.  We’ve pulled out my gear and my new-ish snow pants (thank God because the old ones sure as shooting don’t fit any more) and tomorrow I will ski.  Because I have realized that, as we age, and as our bodies start rebelling, it gets easier and easier to acquiesce.  Give in.  Give up. Hunker down and cozy up with a glass of wine instead of a ski pole (sorry, that sounds dirty).

But I have this crazy goal to stay young.  As young “of body” as possible, as young “at heart” as I can and most importantly “young in spirit”.   And if I give up now, what the heck does that say about my spirit?  It says OLD, that’s what.

So tomorrow I shall ski.  I shall try my best to get down that mountain in one piece with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  I shall accept the challenge and rise to it, instead of capitulating to my fears and letting old win.

But you know what else?  For the first time in my ski career, I might actually wear a helmet.

Because ya never know, it seems wise and let’s face facts –

I am getting on.

About winesoakedramblings - The Blog of Vickie van Dyke

Writing is therapy. Wine is therapy. Writing while drinking wine is the best therapy. Reading while drinking can also be fun. Listening while drinking is also fun so check out my podcast! And then there's that book (memoir) that I wrote: Confessions of a Potty-Mouthed Chef: How to Cheat, Eat and be Happy! My life has provided me with a wealth of inspiration. Maybe something here will inspire you too? ~Vickie
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