1) I am not a strong or confident skier.
2) I harbor a bone-deep, completely irrational fear of chair lifts.
3) I am unable to lift my 6-year-old son easily (almost not at all).
Keeping these points in mind, let me tell you a story.
We’ve been skiing three times so far this season—all in the last two weeks. We’re skiing at a new (to us) resort. There are a bazillion runs with five chair lifts servicing them. There is also the requisite bunny hill with tow rope and a cool tubing run. All good.
DH—the strong, confident skier—promised a Thursday night of skiing for the family. Then bowed out cuz he had to work late. Go back to points 1, 2 and 3. I do not feel ready to take our 6-year-old son skiing on my own. He’s a great little skier, thanks to his Dad, but he is still a novice and, like I said, too heavy for me to lift onto the chair lift seat.
He is also a master negotiator. He talked me into taking him—just the two of us. Said if we are unable to manage the chair lift (see point 3), we’ll simply hang on the bunny hill or go tubing. And honestly, I have to be able to take him without his Dad. It is stupid to live here, with unlimited skiing and not be able to get him on the slopes. No time like the present to suck it up.
The place is nearly deserted, spooking us both and exaggerating that “we’re on our own” feeling. Ah well.
We take off down our run of choice and head to the chair lift for that run. The woman pops out and informs us that this lift is stuck on fast and that her partner—necessary to help hold back the screaming fast chair—is on a bathroom break. So, we shuffle backwards out of the shoot and make our way to another, less convenient chair lift.
Adequate staff and the designated slow lift for the night. They lifted him onto the chair and, at the top, I simply put my hand to his bottom and scooted him off. No wipe-outs and we’re officially in business. We can do this.
Ahhh, but did I mention that this lift is not convenient? We have to trudge—not ski, trudge—quite a ways to our preferred run. G tires of the trudging after 30 seconds. So, together, we decide to attempt runs nearer to the inconvenient lift. All steep and, with the exception of one, all through the terrain park. Down we go. Very, very exciting. And not something he wishes to do again. LOL
So back we go, to the inconvenient, but safe chair lift. And trudge, trudge, trudge to our preferred run. Exhausting for him. He announces that he’d like to at least try the fast lift now, so we don’t have to trudge so far. Ok. So we head to that lift. The partner is back and they both come out to assist us into the chair. Aside from the chair slamming into the backs of our knees (G didn’t care for that), we’re good. Screaming fast up the hill, but good. At the top, I shove him off the chair and join him, arms flailing. Still, we succeed. No wipe-outs and we’re off again. We do it one more time.
When G decides that lift is no good cuz it hurts when he’s tossed into the chair, it’s my turn to get yet another idea. Let’s try a third chair lift that will take us to the other side of the mountain, to an easy run with a tree-lined side-run back to the main lifts when we’re ready to go. Good, great. Off we ski to that lift. Guy looks at me funny, but says not a word. Up G and I go. To the top. Of an extremely difficult run and a big, fat CLOSED sign blocking the way to the easy run. No way to go but straight down. I tell him we can either ski down it—I’ll go first and he can follow me—or we can remove our skis and walk down it. He chooses skiing. So, we ski down it.
Again, very, very exciting. It levels off and I head for the path back to the main lifts—cuz no, we don’t want to do that again either. The path is blocked off. Looks safe enough to me, so I go around the blockade. G, not a rule-breaker, objects. I ask him if he wants to remain stuck on the wrong run all night. He immediately hustles to follow me around the barrier. Off we go back to the main lifts.
Back to the fast chair lift closest to our easy run. Ok, nope, still don’t like being slammed into that chair. So G asks to just go back to the slow chair lift and promises to trudge without complaint. Riding up that lift, G looks down at the nearest run again and decides it doesn’t look so bad now. Of course it doesn’t, not after the mogul run we had just completed. So we pick that run and do it. Exciting yes, but fun. We wanna do it again.
Get back on the slow chair lift. Nearing the top. When it stops. We can hear the squeals of the folks who wiped out at dismount. Then we can see them ski off. Still, the chair remains stopped. For a long time. An unnaturally long time. G starts to cry. I wonder if they’ve closed and forgot us up there. Finally, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, call information and get the club number. Dial the club. And….just as it is ringing, the lift begins to move again.
Needless to say, at the top G is done. Asks me if we can just go do the bunny hill a few times. Yep. We did that. Then we went home.
Both of us, with badges in bravery. Proud of our teamwork and for helping each other avoid total freak-out stage.
And really, the rest of the ski season should be, comparatively, easy. Right?
Friday, January 09, 2009