…skiing off piste

Dear me,
Remember, if it’s a misery vacation that he is planning, it inevitably includes the cold: hiking, glacier glissading, or skiing! Brrr, T

Everything about skiing is work, even shopping for gear. At the sport store, I’m exhausted after just the fitting. The salesman tells me, “These boots should fit comfortably—a little like vice-grips!” So, it only makes sense that ski boots are a necessary aspect of misery vacations!

The rapture of removing them at the end of the ski day is only equaled—in my memory, to the relief of child birth. Unfortunately, like labor, if I give it a few months, I forget the pain and there I go again.

Dear me,
Remember that our second date was skiing. I went because I was still trying to impress him, the guy that puts skiing above education (he skipped school), or the law, (he faked identification to work on the lifts at a resort) and he picked me!

For the next twenty years, only taking off three years to give birth, I have endured the torture that is his passion. As yin/yang opposites, we are the perfectly partnered pair.

I tell the daughter, “Be warned.”
On a date, remember misery has long-term significance."

In spite of each new gadget invented to ease the misery of skiing, the trek to the slopes is still rife with dangers—shoulders bearing guillotine skis and ski poles that have stars of impalement at the ends. One cavalier turn and I can decapitate the whole avalanche patrol.

I make it to the slopes with a heel-toe, heel-toe, gear-toting lurch, only to wonder once I’m there, where to stick all those handy transportation gadgets—down the bibs in front, or do I hook ‘em up and let ‘em flap off my gators behind?

Skiing has its own unique verbiage to disguise its inherent wretchedness. The ski term off-piste means to glide rapturously in deep powder off trail, through snow-covered trees. When I ski off-piste, it happens accidentally, flailing frantically out of control, dodging and ducking trees, ditching skis and poles, and any sharp object that could imperil my ungainly finish.

But, most of the time, I ski “piste-off,” fighting the ski position, half bent over, leaning precariously forward, sliding and slipping while all the way screaming, and wildly zipping past signs that say slow.

To me,
The youngest tagged a tree while off-piste-ing. I volunteer to sacrifice the rest of the day and follow the child strapped on the patrol’s snow sled to the x-ray machine. It could’ve been me.
Hmmm, I’ll have to keep that idea in mind, T.

Ski promoters boast that this sport appeals to a wide range of individuals, regardless of one's proficiency level, clothing, or accessories. As long as you have buckets of money, you’re in!

These same promoters minimize the fact that skiing is the great equalizer in one other very important aspect; appearance. No face, even professionally lifted, looks good while skiing. Everybody is red faced—from windburn on a windy day, sunburn on a sunny one or frostbite from the terminal state of skiing. The typical hairstyle is either hat-head or windswept and you can easily spot a true skier by the snotty nose, raccoon goggle burn, and the stiff-legged plod.

It’s equally as easy to identify a phony—a skier that gets on the lift and skis straight down the greens directly to the lodge—because they are still able to sit comfortably—even recline and lift their feet up, read a book and drink cocoa. I admire the fact that in an emergency, they can fake a convincing injury and back it up with a most imaginative tale.

Reality Bite: That’s my kind of skier.

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