Sunday, January 30, 2011

I skied

My first time skiing may very well be my last time, but I doubt I could have asked for a better setting, or better conditions, than Killington, Vermont. The weekend ski/snowboard trip is an annual Yale SOM tradition -- at least in the two years I've been there -- and a very popular one. About 200 students went; that's about 44% of the class.

I had a really fun weekend. Some people who experienced the weekend with me may not believe that, but it's true. The setting was picturesque. I loved having cocktails by a roaring fire, playing Celebrity with friends. I loved hitting the local bar and observing the athletic locals mingling with all my classmates. I enjoyed the too-expensive meals, and the unexpected "Sex & The City" mini-marathon that took place back at the condo when we were all exhausted. As for the skiing itself ...

I'd never skied before. Never touched skis, actually. Also never rollerbladed. I've ice skated a couple times, over 10 years ago, and was pretty awful at it. I'm also tall and highly uncoordinated. You can guess where this is going: This was not the activity for me.

This is quite an embarrassing confession, but I actually found my beginners' skiing experience on the bunny slopes more terrifying than leaping from an airplane at 12,000 feet. I really did. I know that's crazy. With skydiving, though, I knew I was safe, since it was a tandem jump, and the whole experience was almost too surreal to be scary. Not that I wasn't nervous -- I was, of course. But I wasn't freaking out.

On skis, though, I was freaking out. At first, the sensation was fun. I didn't mind sliding around, and I thought I was in for a brisk, relaxing time, kind of like parasailing. But once we really started going down hills and needing to turn and slow down lest we die, I was not pleased. I never felt in control or that I had any sense of balance, speed or direction, so I was pretty panicky. All I could think about was how easy it would be to break an ankle, twist a knee, shatter my spine or fly off the side of the track into the woods and pull a Sonny Bono.
I guess I don't like slipping and sliding around, and that's OK. I'm very glad I went and got the chance to try it, and hang in Killington. No regrets. No more skiing, either.

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