-the redhead- (theredhead) wrote,
-the redhead-

True Confessions of a Boulderite

Well, okay, maybe only one confession today, as I sit here on this plane flying east.

I live in Colorado. We all knew that.

I live in Boulder. No big surprise there either.

I don’t know how to ski.

*listens to the gasps of horror and disbelief*

It's like a crime against nature or something.

*nod* For more than a dozen years (not counting that side trip to New Haven) I've lived in the state who's motto should be 'If you don't ski, don't bother'. In a town where there are perhaps more skis & snowboards for sale in the winter months than locals to purchase them. I remember the days where there would be only a few of us out of a class of a hundred or more at the beginning of the season or when the powder was good. One need not even drive, but can catch the bus to the local ski resort for only a few bucks (free with your student ID). It runs hourly.

I don't know how to ski.

I never learned to ski as a kid. It wasn't a big sport in my immediate family. We never took that sort of vacation, as my mother always preferred to drive up to Detroit through the snow and ice in the dead of winter so that we could visit my 87 million cousins. *They* all ski. Both downhill and cross country, no doubt. My mother knew how to ski, and would speak of her fun ski trips in her wild youth during the season. We just weren't that sort of trendy, TV family. Being kinda poor didn't help either. It's probably just as well, as I would have chosen a frozen day at the barn over a frozen day on the slopes anytime. My hard earned pennies were much better applied to the purchase of a new bridle than a lift ticket. The question of tall, black riding boots or ski boots would have been a no-brainer.

I don't know how to ski.

One would think that moving to Colorado, Boulder no less, would have inspired me to join the masses and hit the slopes as soon as I could. I am a fairly athletic person who is usually up for new challenges. Downhill is *the* outdoor thing here – well, besides hiking, rock climbing, road racing, mountain biking, running… We have a wealth of activities at our fingertips, of which I enjoy quite a few, but skiing definitely tops the list. Tens of thousands of people a year clog our airport and back up our highway in order to hit the slopes – they can't all be wrong. Some even come from far distant countries where they already have all those mountains, snow, and ski lift things because they like our powder. Skiing is big business here. Oh - they get *really* testy when you ride on the ski carousels at the airport late at night.

I don't know how to ski.

I've been skiing once. Ever. Friends from Memphis going on their annual ski trip invited me along since I was so close. I had only lived in town for a few months at that time, so I was pretty excited. I warned them that I 'didn't ski'. Their typically easy going, Southern response was that it would be 'fine darlin'. They got me outfitted and sent me off for a morning of Bunny class. We learned all sorts of handy things in class, such as how to stand for more than 10 seconds without falling over and the very important Snow Plow maneuver. Although I was the tallest person in class by a good foot and a half, I was cruising right along. Until the ski fiends got bored after 45 minutes, deemed me 'good to go', and dragged me out on the slopes. Getting on the chair lift was no big deal, but I soon discovered that those lessons on getting off might have been handy. Thankfully they have a special safety button to shut down the lift so it doesn't whack the newbies in the head as they lie there. That was merely the first of many adventures which included being mowed over by a pack of 6 year olds – they didn't even need poles. My friends were nice and started off on some easy runs, but by the end of the day we were doing blue/black runs. I was doing them slowly, but managed to avoid actually running into any trees. Funny thing – they didn't explain the run ratings to me until *after* the first day of skiing. I owe my survival that weekend to natural athletic talent and sheer stubbornness. My biggest victory was getting off the chairlift without falling over right away. I ended the weekend feeling like I had been run over by a train.

I still don't know how to ski.

The problem, in brief, is that everyone here is such a good skier. There are no beginner skiers in Colorado, unless you are under the age of 6. Or you had the misfortune to grow in up in some sub-Saharan country where snow is a theoretical concept. And none of the double black diamond skiers want to spend the day dragging someone who's not been down the bunny slope along with them. Talk about the ultimate ball and chain. Every year various people say 'Hey! Let's go to Winter Park/Vail/Aspen/Breckenridge/A-Basin for the day/weekend. You should come with us.' Sadly, these are people who either don't know or have forgotten about my terrible skiing affliction. Each time I try to oh so casually toss out 'That sounds like fun. Can we do some of the easy stuff too?' I then whisper conspiratorially behind my hand 'I don't know how to ski' and toss in a broad wink, hoping that this time will be different. Invariably I watch the enthusiasm for having me along fade from their eyes as they realize I would A BEGINNER. They are always nice about it, but they never really seem to want me along after thinking about the big picture. Every year I hope it will be different, but it's not.

I don't know how to ski.

I know all the jargon and keep up on conditions, so I can at least play along. I would no doubt be run out of town on a rail if they figured out my secret. I enjoy the brilliant days and breathtaking scenery up the hill just as much as the next person. In the end, however, I'm best suited to being the hot chocolate wrangler. I always take my knitting.

While I don't engage in the Colorado National Sport, at least I own the official car of Boulder…

-the redhead-
Tags: colorado, musings
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