Daze of My Life: Living to Not Ski
Daze of My Life
Living to Not Ski
When it comes to skiing on snow, or in my case, being on skis on snow, I've been around. In fact, I've skied poorly at some of the best ski resorts in North America: Vail, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Winter Park in Colorado; Snowbird, Deer Valley and Park City in Utah; Jackson Hole in Wyoming; Sun Valley in Idaho; Taos in New Mexico; Big Sky in Montana; Sugarbush in Vermont; Whistler/Blackhomb in British Columbia and Lake Louise and Sunshine Village (Banff) in Alberta. And other than the scenery and the ever-popular, "apres ski" activities (eating, drinking, hot tubbing), I would say the one other consistency has been my ability, or shall I be honest and admit, my inability, to ski (or at the very least, progress beyond what is called a beginner).
And oddly enough, the characterizations of those inabilities mostly begin with the letter p: pitiful, pathetic, poor, putrid; not even mediocre. I have tried, repeatedly, and I have failed, miserably. My wife, Dina, who is an experienced and accomplished skier has, unfortunately for her, seen her skills erode, partially, with each passing year, a direct result of her having to stop and wait constantly for yours truly to ski from here to anywhere (especially on fresh powder). And though she's been a mostly patient and understanding skiing partner/wife, I fear that after nearly a dozen of these so-called "ski weeks," the bloom is off the rose; and all that remains are the thorns. My performance this past week was so poor and so devoid of any life, Dina may finally accepted a new fact: skiing with me (her husband) may have become a complete waste of her time, all other ski week-related activities notwithstanding. I may be reasonably good company off the slopes, but if you've spent any time with someone who is passionate about skiing (as my wife, Dina, is), than you know that off-the-mountain activities are nice enough but they don't feed the bulldog, if you know what I mean.
A skier wants to ski, more today than yesterday and even longer and preferably on fresher powder tomorrow; and the steeper and deeper, the better. Each succeeding day, each new inch of snow, presents still more opportunities to challenge yourself and the mountain by not only reaching new heights but skiing down from them as well. And when you have a 225-pound anchor tied to your boots, the pursuit of these skiing adventures, and any personal growth that will likewise attach itself to their achievement, will be stymied by that extra weight. I am that extra weight.
As much effort as I have made on the slopes, as much money as we have spent, as many travel plans as I have made (and frequent flyer miles I have accumulated and cashed in), the best thing I can say about all these ski trips, other than I walk away uninjured is, I walk away with my pride and dignity intact.
It's not for lack of trying that I have failed, it's more due to a lack of talent, drive and nerve. Every physical and mental precept that skiing requires is counter-intuitive to all the athletic instincts that I have and to all the unique personality traits that make me who I am. As has been proven over the last 20 years or so, apparently I can't change, much anyway. Nor can I create new pathways. I'm not exactly Popeye the Sailorman, but I am what I am. For me, skiing downhill is simply too much of an uphill battle.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.