Saturday, February 26, 2011

Night-Time Skiing

I went skiing last night!  We arrived at Mountain High around 4:00 yesterday evening. This is a picture of the ski resort at dusk, but not one that I took (this came from good ole' google).  In real-life, it looked just like this, but full of skiers and falling snow.  There were snow flurries on the drive up, but overall it wasn't too bad; plus it was nice traveling in a charter bus for a change, instead of a school bus.  We ate Subway sandwiches in the lodge once we arrived, and then Clint and I got fitted for our ski boots. We started at the "Magic Carpet" hill, which is this little practice hill that most seasoned skiers don't even count as a hill (but of course, to me, it seemed like a sheer cliff). It doesn't have a lift like the others, but it did have an escalator-type thing to take you up. Mr. A. spent some time teaching me how to ski (even though he claims he didn't teach me how to ski, he just taught me how to stop). I got the hang of it pretty fast.  Once I was comfortable with stopping and turning, Mr. A said I was ready for a "real" hill. The only problem was the bunny hill was closed!  So we had to move on to the next easiest-leveled run, which from my perception, may as well have been a death-drop.

Now I remember the one time skiing as a child, the hills all had logical names like "Bunny Hill" and "Intermediate Hill," so you always knew which hills to choose and which to avoid.  But the hills last night had names that were confusing as all get-out, such as "Coyote Ridge," "Snowflake," and Sunnyside-Up," etc.  It was mind boggling.  One student ran up and said "Hey, Mrs. P., you wanna go down Coyote with me?"  And I'm thinking, Aren't coyotes fast and sneaky?  Is this giving me some kind of hint as to what kind of run this is?  And is Sunnyside-Up called "Sunnyside-Up" because that's what you're going to look like when you tumble ass-over-head?  At any rate, since the bunny hill was closed (which was actually called "Snowflake"), we went down Coyote.  It was so high up.  I felt like it took us a half hour to travel to the top on our chair lift, although it was probably closer to ten minutes.  The chair-lift ride was sort of spooky, but only because it was night time.  When you first get on it, it's all bright and cheery, with lively music drifting from the lodge speakers and people all around you.  But once you continue up the mountain, it slowly grows darker and quieter.  Of course the resort still provides lighting, but it's a more orangy-golden-hued lighting that casts shadows everywhere and a kind of eerie glow (the color of dread, you know?). 

When we finally left our chair lift, the first half of Coyote felt quite steep and was a little hairball to maneuver.  Clint and I both fell twice.  The difference is when he fell, he got right back up.  When I fell, it took about ten minutes of Mr. A man-handling me before I could get back up.  It takes a lot of upper-body strength to get back up on skis, and apparently I have none...my arms eventually began to feel like jelly, trying to pull up all my body's weight using nothing but skinny poles.  At one point, I was so stuck that I told Mr. A that I was just going to sleep out on the mountain that night, and I would see them all in the morning.  Thank God he stayed with me through that run.  His positive attitude was pretty contagious, and it gave me the confidence to keep plowing forward. 

After those two initial splats, the rest of Coyote was a blast.  I can't even describe how exhilerating it was.  I figured out how to go back and forth in an "S" pattern with my skis, and I felt like I had much more control.  Clint also did really well the whole night, considering it was his first time.       

We left the lodge at 9:30, and the drive home was...crazy.  It was blizzarding for the first twenty minutes of driving off the mountain, and the bus driver's visibility was severely compromised.  But once we entered about 4000 feet, it was fine.  We arrived home sometime around 11:00 last night, and by then, I was famished.  After a hot shower that felt something close to paradise, Clint whipped us up some eggs and french toast.

Next Friday, the Ski and Snowboard Club is going to Mountain High again for the last time this season (they go a total of four times a year, with all visits usually taking place in February).  If they are in need of chaperones, Clint and I plan to go again.  I'm just hoping and praying that the Bunny Hill (or "Snowflake Hill"...is it just me or does that name seem even more insulting?) is open next week so I don't have to tackle the Coyote again--or more accurately--so the Coyote doesn't tackle me again.