Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm an Old Lady With Bad Knees, or, First Fall of the Season

First, let me say this; I'm not a great skier. For someone who grew up steps from the Laurentiens and whose mother is from Magog, (which has turned from a factory town into a fancy schmancy ski resort) I'm barely average. There are a lot of reasons for this, mostly my general unco-ordination and the 10 years I took off skiing after I moved to Toronto, mostly caused by lack of money, lack of transportation, and lack of desire to ski Ontario's tiny hills.

I got back into the swing of things about 4 years ago when my better half suggested a trip to Horseshoe "Mountain". I snapped on some snazzy new parabolic rentals and skied like Bode Miller. (It's hard to ski badly down 300 vertical feet). And just like that, my winters were transformed. I went from hating winter, hating the cold, hating snow, to loving all of the above. And I mean looooooooooooooving. Now when I see flakes start to fall, I do a little happy dance. Every time someone complains about -15, I smile so wide my teeth almost pop out. People can't stand it.

So I'm not a great skier, but that's not my problem My problem has to do with chair lifts and chair lift related disasters; stopping them, falling off of them, and - even - pushing others *cough* John *cough* off of them.

The chairlift has become my nemesis. Particularly the ones at Blue Mountain, our regular winter hangout, which, even though it's a barely respectable 720 feet of vertical, is the 4th most visited ski resort in Canada. So, basically there's lots of traffic + high speed six pack chair lifts. Six people going in different directions at once on skis? I smell disaster brewing.

So, a few weeks ago, John and were out on our first trip to Blue of the season. About halfway through the night we got on the chairlift with a kid I knew was going to be trouble. He was swinging his snowboard under the lift and smacking my skis and yapping in a loud, obnoxious voice about his exploits to the dude sitting next to him (for a fourteen year old, he has had a lot of exploits). As we got ready to disembark he crouched down and slid off the lift with his elbows up, his board almost sideways, and his head up his ass. Almost immediately he hooked the back of his board (snowboards have a slight curl upwards at both ends) under my right ski and started to pull my leg out from underneath me. Instead of lifting up my leg and releasing his board, which would have been a lot smarter, I was sort of caught in a daze, thinking; this little bastard is going to take me down. And I'm an old lady with bad knees. Unsuprisingly, about 2 seconds later I went down, my right and left skis pointing towards each other in a jaunty 90 degree angle, one that generally indicates that you've just mangled your meniscus. And I couldn't get up, because this was the first fall of the season and I had no clue what I was doing. After a few seconds of malingering I clued in and remembered; aha! This is how you get back up. And I did.

I think it's the height of unfairness that I have to re-learn how to fall and how to get back up again every single winter, and I did a suitable amount of feeling sorry for myself afterwards. Unfortunately, this is also where I'm at with my writing. I've got exactly one paragraph written of my new book and I can't remember what the hell to do next. I expect the answer is, just like skiing, to get up and keep going. And here I thought it was going to be easier this time around. On the bright side, it doesn't involve chairlifts.


PS. I'm back to Blue this weekend - Super Bowl Sunday is the best night of the winter to ski because everyone's at home drinking beer and waiting for another glimpse of Janet Jackson's boobies. If I embarass myself horribly in another chairlift brouhaha, I'll be sure to let you know.

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