Nothing is more boring sitting at home, complaining about the weather; so I try to get out and enjoy new experiences…or revisit ones that proved interesting. This weekend, because Austria finally got some proper snow, we revisited St. Corona for some winter fun. And boy, am I going to hurt in the morning but I sure had fun – at least I keep telling myself that!
For Xmas, we gifted each other skies and boots. As you can imagine, we were eager to break them in. We opted for St. Corona for a few reasons; it’s close (only about an hour’s drive away), it’s not so crowded (I really only learned to ski last year and need a relatively empty run), and it’s (reportedly) not so high – read: there should be a green (light/beginner’s) run.
Well, hubby was in a great mood getting there – there’s nothing he loves more than navigating narrow, winding, mountain roads at high speeds. I try to ‘sit back and relax’ but the concept of spinning into a tree and over a cliff keeps playing in my mind. That’s one kind of ‘fun’ pain I am not interested in telling a story about. I guess I really have nothing to worry about; I mean, if it was dangerous they wouldn’t give it a 70 kph speed limit, would they? Nevertheless, we always arrive intact. We jumped out, jumped into our gear (FYI, putting on ski boots is freaking hard work!), schlepped up the foot of the mountain to get our day passes, rode the lift 1250m to get to the first run, ate breakfast, and realized it was 12pm! Really, where’d the morning go?!
The first run awoke the ‘fear of God’ in me. I mean, green runs in the Poconos & upstate NY were nothing like this! This run started off with what looked like a 25 ft drop and never really leveled out. I will admit, as I landed on my hip-bone, again and again, I complained, whined, cursed my husband and his upbeat encouragement in two languages, and nearly cried (yes, real tears…that would’ve frozen and then I’d really be ‘up a gum tree’!). You might wonder, why am I landing on my hip-bones instead of my butt? Two reasons; first, falling backward (hence on your butt ) is a good way to hit your head and tear leg ligaments thus we’re taught to fall to the side if possible. Second, I’m landing on my bones because I’m one of those annoyingly skinny people who never gain weight and hence have no curvaceous padding to cushion the impact. 😀
We got to the second lift (the first is at the foot, the second is half-way up the mountain) and rose to the full 1422 m. What possessed me you ask; well, my darling, encouraging, sweet husband told me it was a lovely, wide green run. HA!!! Oh, it was wide, but it was not green! In fact, the entire place didn’t have a green run at all; these folks start at blue (intermediate) and work their way up! How’d I manage to get down without rupturing or tearing anything? Well, there’s nothing like watching 5 year old’s go whizzing by (without poles or accompaniment, I might add) to give you a swift kick in the gonads. As you might know by now, I’m no coward (wonder if they’re going to write that on my untimely grave stone?) and I’m no poser (seriously, I am not going to wear top-of-the-line, new gear just to look the part!). So, I said a quick prayer, repeated “pizza” and “lean” at the appropriate times, and an hour later, made it halfway down the mountain to the rest-stop with only about 3 falls onto my already bruised hips which protested loudly with each landing (think: reburning an already burned area or pulling off a big scab every week), and ordered a well-deserved and liquid courage – Jägertea (German for ‘Hunter’s tea’ – black tea with schnaps and wine). You may, frowningly, query the wisdom of that decision but in my defense, I was encouraged by before-mentioned husband who was loosing his jolly, encouraging patience and figured it would relax me a bit for the final descent.
If you’re wondering what’s up with the “pizza”/”lean” mantra; “pizza” is the shape you’re skies should form when you’re trying to turn and “lean” reminds me to lean away from the mountain (think: trying to dive headfirst down the mountain). It’s counter-intuitive which is why, for me, it’s the hardest thing to master but it forces you to apply weight to the ski you’re standing on (i.e. if you’re leaning left, you apply your weight to the left ski) and that causes you to right-angle to the slope of the mountain (basically, you’re side-ways on the slope) which slows you’re descent. It’s only when I don’t lean properly that I fall. I know, this sounds all so easy right? Why can’t I just do what I know how to do and save my poor, skinny, protesting, bruised hips? Because, skies are really heavy and I get really tired. My poor, skinny little legs begin to tremble – do they fear the mountain to? – and just refuse to follow the commands of my brain. Not to mention, when the moves are correctly executed, the rarely-used, inner calf muscles are employed. Mine apparently have never, before this new torture, been engaged and they just quit after 5 minutes (think: lifting weights, its always easier to lift at the beginning of the set than at the end).
Well, I made it – an hour later – down the entire mountain. Yes, it took me 2 hours to make one descent! Yes, I saw the same folks pass me 4 or 5 times! But I freaking made it! Down a blue and red run nonetheless (oh yeah, hubby forgot to tell me that part until I was down it.)! A red run is also intermediate but tougher than a blue – the slope is higher and sometimes there are ice-patches….you do not want to ride you’re skies over ice, you’re supposed to swerve away from them…I tend to fall on them :(. He failed to inform me because he’s got this crazy idea that I would chicken out – as if I would, when 5 year old’s were showing me up! Ok, I might’ve. 😀
So now, I’m exhausted, battered, and I can’t wait to go again. I know crazy, right! But, I figure it’s like learning to ride a bike, rollerblade, or ride a horse – all of which I learned to do with a whole lot of falling, bruising, and verbally, repeated mantras – when you fall, get back up and try again. I will learn and one day, I’ll teach my kids, and how cool will it be to see their little faces looking up at me with trust and confidence. About as cool as it will be for them to join hubby and I for our weekly ski trips and to fearlessly and laughingly whiz by us without poles!
So, yup, when it hurts in the morning (which it always does), I’ll remind myself that I had fun and I’m going to have fun again next week and the next, and the next, and the next, until I teach those weak, whiny, skinny inner-calf muscles who’s boss! I mean, isn’t that how learning something new turns into something fun?!