“The days you don’t ski you don’t get back.” -K.O.
Since I’ve been back from Bath, I have been really reluctant to go skiing. I didn’t know what my problem was- I grew up on skis, I used to get a pass nearly every year, and my Bavarian heritage basically makes me contractually obligated to like sliding down a snowy mountain on two sticks. However, I was just not feeling it- I wasn’t feeling the driving (which, this year in particular, has been throughly horrendous on the infamous I-70), I wasn’t feeling collecting all my gear from the dusty corners where it’s been living the last few years, and I especially wasn’t feeling how everyone in this state is OBSESSED with skiing. I mean, I get it. I grew up here. But there’s a certain one-track mind kind of people who have been gradually trickling in since I was a kid who are here to “Live life, man!” and shred the gnar. I, in contrast, prefer some variety in what I obsess over, so those people generally drive me nuts. There’s only snow for half the year, and you’ve got to find something productive to do with those other 6 months in my book.
There was this weird residual bitterness, and I have no idea where it came from. I have no idea, because this year, when I finally felt the satisfying click of boot in binding and spent my first full day on a mountain with the right equipment and 20/20 vision (I hadn’t been wearing glasses to ski before I took my sporty hiatus 2+ years ago) all that love for the snow came flooding back. And I had a few really interesting revelations:
1. I think I spent about 50% of my time as a snowboarder stressed out as f*** because skiers cut you off ALL. THE. TIME. I even caught myself doing it a couple times on this trip! The reality is that these are two ways of cruising across the snow that require completely different types of movement, and unless you’re a rare breed of crossover between the two (like myself- I snowboarded for all of college and a few years in high school) you would have no idea. Oh, the blissful ignorance! A PSA for skiers out there: Snowboarders cannot turn nearly as adeptly as you can- give them some space on the mountain.
2. On that note, snowboarding’s status as the cool kid in town when it comes to winter sports brings in a lot of inexperienced or young people who a) don’t know the rules of the mountain or b) know the rules of the mountain and choose to ignore them in pursuit of top speeds and shred cred. (Shred cred is a term that I just made up for when people try to look like a total BAMF on the mountain, something that I think is very important in snowboarding.)
3. Skiing is just easier. It requires a lot less adjusting and planning when it comes to flat parts of the mountain and the logistics of getting on and off the lift. I was almost giddy when I could just slide into line, jump on a chair, and jump off again completely ready to go.
And finally, 4. THAT WHOLE TIME I WAS SNOWBOARDING I COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING. And I never knew! I only went to get my eyes checked in college because I started not doing homework after not being able to see it written down on the board. I wish an eye check was a weird mandatory part of freshman orientation, kind of like eating at the dining hall with people you end up never seeing again for all of college, or naively thinking Target will have what you need in stock during the first week of school. VISION. It makes skiing so much easier!
So it turns out that I really do love skiing, even after all this time (à la Snape). The blurry vision situation and the constant vigilance I developed while snowboarding just had me down. To my great benefit, I’m back- my form is pretty terrible, but I’m back. :)