It was my first time skiing.
I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was too excited. I packed my bag: snow pants, an extra pair of socks, sunblock, chapstick. I forgot gloves, like an idiot. I laid out my clothes and programmed my coffee pot for 5:30 am. Then I laid awake, pondering deep, existential questions. Like how big is the bunny slope, exactly? And how does one get on and off the ski lift with what amounts to sleds on one’s feet?
It didn’t matter that I forgot my gloves. My friend brought an extra pair, along with things I hadn’t known I would need. A bank robber mask, for example, to keep my face warm, and goggles to keep the snow and wind out of my eyes. This wasn’t her first time skiing, thank God.
When we got to White Tail I took a lesson while she headed for the non-bunny slope area. I learned how to turn, how to stop, how to slow down, and how to get on and off the ski lift. The bunny slope was much bigger than I thought it would be. At one point I ended up skiing backward, and that was an interesting experience. I don’t recommend it, actually.
After my lesson, we hit the bunny slope again. I was pretty excited to show her that I could make it all the way down the hill without running over any kids. We cruised off the ski lift and I turned right, just like the instructor had shown me. Unfortunately, someone was already standing there, exactly where I wanted to be. I managed to stop a centimeter from his skis.
“Sorry,” I said, and since I was so close, it was more like I whispered it into his ear. But he just laughed and said it was fine. “Look!” I said, turning back to my friend. “I didn’t hit him!”
That was when I fell down. Somehow I forgot the skis were attached to my feet and I tried to turn my whole body. Obviously, that was dumb. I was laughing like crazy, which made it hard to get back on my feet.
On our last run, she decided I could graduate to Sidewinder, which was still a beginner, but not the bunny slope. By this point I was tired and the slope was icy. We spent a lot of time falling down and giggling like school girls when we couldn’t get on our feet again.
When we finally got down the hill, we were both done for the day. I turned in my gear and we ordered pizza.
“I’m tired. I was too excited to sleep last night,” she told me. She looked out the window. The snow was kicking up again, big fluffy flakes making the world look like a Norman Rockwell painting. “I don’t ever want to stop getting excited about things, just because we’re getting older.”
Because that’s what they tell us, isn’t it? Act your age. I suppose they mean don’t laugh so much or shout Whee! quite so loudly and go to sleep at a decent hour.
But what would be the fun in that?