No I am not a skier. At least not quite yet. Even so, prior to last month’s ski vacation to Watles in Südtirol, I made sure to carefully study the likes of such greats as Lindsey Vonn in order to take full advantage of Facebook’s fake news trend and thus giving ‘friends’ the impression of a true ski profi. Please see photo right.
The ski junket I reference above was a feat in and of itself, as my adventures five years prior had left me a tad scarred and not so quick to revisit what I found to be a wildly complicated sport. Up until then, V’s periodic mention of another ski escapade was met with vague excuses on my part and served as a wonderful opportunity to mention how close that mountain came to being my final resting place - thanks in no small part to him. In fast forwarding to the end of last year when close friends mentioned going on a ski trip together in 2017, I suddenly came to realize that the mental scars I carried were insignificant enough to make me think this a splendid idea. With the decision made and our bags in the process of being packed, my brain could not help but revisit our last trip, also to Watles, that actually had me convinced that I had sworn off skiing forever…
“Listen," I said, "I want to make myself very clear here, I am not a skier. As previously mentioned, I have been skiing exactly two times in my life and in both instances, it provided me a fairly glaring indication that I probably have no business engaging in the sport.”
“Why do you keep telling me these stories?” V asked.
"Because I see your face and you are processing what you want to hear and not what I am saying. I am looking forward to this trip and trying skiing again but on the condition that I stay on the bunny slope.”
“Yeah, yeah honey, I got it.”
He didn’t get it.
Listen, V basically came sliding out of his mother’s uterus on a pair of skis. Managing the slopes as effortlessly as he walks down the street, he finds it difficult to comprehend that others might not possess those same innate talents. Consequently, his coaching skills have a lot to be desired and unfortunately, I was staring down from the top of a very imposing mountain when I was actually clued in to this fact.
“So this lift is taking us to the bunny slope?” I asked.
“Yeah, yeah honey it’s all good,” V said with a wave of his hand.
“I don’t really understand what ‘yeah, yeah honey it’s all good’ means exactly. You are therefore requiring me to ask once again - where exactly is the bunny slope?”
Now it was much later that I came to understand that what we in America call the bunny slope, the Germans have designated the Idiotenhügel (Idiot Hill.) I find this name neither kind nor encouraging. In a perfect world, I would have liked to believe at this point that V and I we were experiencing some sort of language issue but in reality, it was simply his refusal to believe that I could find both comfort and ultimately fun on something called the Idiotenhügel.
The ski lift continued its ascent up, suddenly stopped and then V proceeded to explain our imminent plans...
“Are you out of of your mind?" I gasped. "You think I am going down this slope with you - on skis??? I told you, BUNNY SLOPE!!!"
“Honey, you are sporty. You can do this. Just follow me.”
How in the world V transitioned the idea of me being ‘’sporty’ into having the ability to make a graceful decent down a steep mountain on two very thin pieces of plastic continues to baffle the mind. The last thing my descent was, was graceful - or for that matter, upright. Wet, cold, and steaming mad, I threatened to take my skis off and walk the rest of the way down the mountain. V then spewed forth a series of super-charged sentences that appeared to question my overall ability to process and execute against his series of “simple” instructions. The physical restraint I implored, which kept me from driving my ski pole through the center of his heart, still stands as one of my more commendable moments in life.
Upon making our way down the mountain, V finally came to understand the error of his ways and profusely began to apologize (I did not accept.) Committed to righting the injustice of his ways, he turned and quickly made his way over to the ski hut to inquire about me receiving professional ski instruction.
“So,” V said, “you are all set. You have a ski instructor for the rest of the week.”
“And,” he continued, “if it makes you feel any better, the instructor I spoke to saw you falling down the mountain and gave me a hard time about how reckless I was for bringing you up there."
“Well first of all,” I said, “everyone within a 100 kilometer radius saw me falling down that damn mountain. And secondly, the only thing that would make me feel better is if you went back over there and let him kick you.”
In fast-forwarding to 2017, I am glad to say that this year’s ski adventure went off without a hitch. The lessons I booked in advance of the trip took the rusty skills I had acquired 5 years prior and turned them into something I would venture to call respectable. Igniting in me the idea that I might actually conquer this sport, coupled with an amazing instructor who steadfastly encouraged me that I could, the only significant falling I did this time around was in love - with skiing.