I heard all the people in line gasp (in horror? amusement? embarrassment? ) the moment the chair-lift ran me over.
“Keep your head down!” a masculine voice above me instructed, rather too loudly, as I lay pinned under the six-person chair-lift; face-down, and spread-eagle in the snow.
“Let’s go skiing,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.
Let me back this story up a little.
My first experience on “the slopes” was my junior year in college a billion years ago. Some “friends” took me “skiing” in upper-Wisconsin, at night, in mid-January, with negative-degree windchill, on what I can only describe as a glassy sheet of suicidal death-ice. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for So Much Fun?
[Narrator: It was not, in fact, remotely fun.]
Somehow these “friends” imagined that I would “just love” the “amazing experience” of a twenty-minute chair-lift “ride” in morbidly cold temps, only to hurtle, screaming, down that invisible mountain’s edge, sometimes on my skies, in the pitch dark.
[Narrator: She did not, in fact, love the experience.]
Fast forward with me now to Spring Break 2019. Our long-time and lovely friends invited us to visit their truly beautiful Vail mountain: ski-capital of the entire universe. Would we go?
We adore these precious friends, and I was convinced that skiing under a sunny Colorado sky, in powdery snow, with proper dry-wicking attire (rather than 1985 athletic-issued soggy cotton sweats) would be a much different experience. Yes, of course, we’d come!
[Narrator: Sometimes her PTSD (Post Traumatic Ski Drama) inclined her to believe she could, in different and better circumstances, actually ski.]
In addition, our generous friends – bless them – let us use their fabulous gear: Warm and stylish jackets; pants that could almost ski for you; hi-tech boots, gloves, and tinted goggles that move seamlessly from the glorious energy of the slopes to the cozy, sexy, apres-ski in the Vail lodges.
I can’t express to you how remarkably decked out we were for the day! We looked like we were BORN to ski; like conquering quadruple black diamonds was in our blood; like we could even show the casually-cool locals a thing or two.
It took five minutes for the staff to extricate me from under the lift as it became readily apparent to everyone that I was *not* a casually cool local, and that conquering the snowy alpine slopes was definitely not in my blood.
[Narrator: At least it was broad daylight.]
“Ma’am?” said a ruggedly handsome Australian man in a navy Vail jacket, “Try and step back into your skis so we can get the ski-lift going again.” The natives in line were getting restless and were ready to vote me straight off the mountain.
Didn’t Mr. Australia know that I was trying?! Couldn’t the throng of beautiful people waiting in line know that I WAS, in fact, stepping (“Toe first.”), and stepping (“Press your heel down hard.”), and stepping some more (“Line the toe up carefully and step down firmly with the heel, ma’am.”)? THE BOTTOM OF MY BOOTS ARE PACKED WITH SNOW, ALL YOU PEOPLE!
Finally; gratefully; mercifully; (was that applause?) I sat down on the heavy chair and rode the lift to the top; holding – clearly not wearing – my skis. On arrival at the summit, the ski-lift again came to a noisy and grinding halt, a yellow warning light ominously flashing, allowing everyone in the vicinity to watch me “gracefully” exit the chair-lift in that lurching way one is glumly forced to walk when one is not, in fact, wearing any skis.
[Narrator: There was, to be fair, a great deal of snow in her boots.]
And my long-suffering family has not since stopped laughing and laughing and laughing some more.
And that dude behind me in line has made a million dollars on YouTube.
[Narrator: Two million]
And the Vail ski-lift staff has an updated example in their “What to do when someone is run over by a chair-lift” video training series.
And, obviously, Mr. Australia is the handsome hero and star.
Shalom to you wherever Spring Break takes you, for we only have so many times around the sun.
Ski on, dear ones, and enjoy the view.