Monday, January 9, 2012

Ski bums and bunnies

Photo courtesy of Robson Fletcher.

I forgot how good it feels to ski until I hit the slopes last weekend.
I went to Marmot Basin, an incredible mountain 30 minutes outside of Jasper, with a gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains and more than 80 runs.
It had been two years since my last ski adventure, so I was pretty nervous when I first clipped into my bindings, not sure if I remembered how to turn, stop or stay in control of my limbs.
I was lucky, though, it was Ian’s first time downhill skiing, so I had an excuse to spend most of the day on the three runs for beginners, giving me time to get my confidence back.
I was actually surprised how quickly the movements came back to me. I spent the first run freaking out, but by the time I reached the bottom, I felt fine. And with every run that followed I felt even more confident.
I started flying down the hill with little anxiety, and I didn’t even fall once.
Ian wasn’t quite so fortunate, but he actually did surprisingly well for his first time. In four hours, he tumbled less than a dozen times and he progressed from doing the pizza (snowplow) to making controlled turns.
His success had nothing to do with me, though. I am a terrible teacher. I try to explain things and end up complicating matters.
So rather than putting Ian in that awkward situation, our friend Robson played instructor, slowly demonstrating how to lift your weight off one ski in order to turn.
Ian and Robson acting tough.
After our eighth time up the School House lift, I was sick of the three runs and was ready for something a little more challenging, so I convinced Ian he was ready to go up another lift.
Thinking I was taking him to mid-mountain, we got on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Express chair.
We didn’t realize we were going to the top until we passed the mid-mountain lift, watching it pass below us.
“How far are you taking me?” asked Ian, a little nervous.
Equally stressed, I apologized and assured him we’d be fine.
At the top, we checked the map and found a green run to take us to the bottom.
Then off we went, following the green arrows all the way down.
I let Ian go first, in part so I could keep an eye on him, but also so I could avoid the responsibility of leading the way.
The last time I led the way on a ski hill, I ended up taking my dad down a double black diamond run at Silver Star, something he could handle, but I couldn’t.
That ski day ended with me sliding down the run on my face before refusing to get back on the lift. My dad then had to convince a lifty to give me a Skidoo ride back to our hotel, while he went back up the mountain.
Let’s just say, lesson learned.
So Ian went first and only fell once the whole way down. He even made it down the hill a couple of minutes faster than me.
And in the end, he thanked me for taking him all the way to the top.
It was a pretty awesome day. I can’t wait to get back out there and neither can Ian.


  1. Frankly, I cannot remember if I went back up the mountain at Silver Star, either because advancing age is playing tricks with my memory or was I too shaken by the experience of helping you (as a rookie skier) down that double diamond run? :) Dad.

  2. You most definitely went back up. It was the end of the day, so the mid-mountain lift was closed, which meant you had to go all the way back up to the top. You were a trooper! :)

  3. Nicole, this sounds eerily similar to Todd's first jaunt down Silver Star with yours truly about two weeks ago. Same thing, we got a little lost, he ended up doing WAY better than me (his first time on a snowboard) and I was UBER impressed with how he handled an inconsistent, insensitive teacher (read: me)
    ...still am. Sounds like you had a hoot, you two, keep up the adventures!