I don’t ski. 

I’ve earned the right.  I gave skiing a chance.  I tried.  I failed.  A lot.

For a series of convoluted reasons, for one miserable winter in Switzerland from mid-October to mid April, I went skiing four times a week.  FOUR times a week.  I made it up the ski lift twice.  That’s right, twice.

Because I was so tall, the skis were custom-made and arrived two weeks after the rest of the class had started actually skiing.   The lodge and train station were about half way up the ski slope.

My skis were so long I could barely see the ends (granted I am short-sighted).   The ever solicitous ski instructor helped me put on my skis and demonstrated how to stop and how to turn.  He then wished me luck and hit the slopes.

I quickly realized that what he did so effortlessly, wasn’t effortless at all.

I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t turn.

Ice moguls covered with powder snow

I proceeded to develop a technique of skiing sideways, and ever so slightly down slope.  This would inevitably bring me to an area of the slope that was not part of the normal run and was filled with round ice moguls.  One ski would get stuck in a mogul.  This would cause me to fall.  I had stopped.  While on the ground, I would throw my skis over my head and turn them in the opposite direction.  Up I’d get.  I repeated the process down to the ski lift entrance.

I can still see that t-bar lift: two people side-by-side as a bar pushed their butts up a slope.  Sounds easy.  It generally took me 10-20 tries to make it past the first 10 feet.  

But my troubles were far from over.  As the bar pushed me up, I became increasingly unstable.  Inevitably I ended up in a drift on the side of the track, an area piled high with powder, virgin snow.

My ski poles sank down until only the last six inches or so were showing.  With no leverage, I struggled to get upright, all the while dodging my ever helpful fellow skiers  who took great joy in trying to stab me with their poles.

Twice that winter I didn’t make it up far enough to get over to where the train station was.  So, I faked it.  I pretended I had an injury.  Then the homeward train was forced to stop at the bottom of the slope to pick up the ‘injured’ skier.  Definitely not my finest hour.

The two times I miraculously made it to the top, I was in such shock I didn’t know what to do next.  The surface was pure ice.  Slick and rough.   Other skiers were arriving right behind, so I quickly shuffled to the side.   Then ever so slowly I used my patented non-skiing ski technique to inch my way down to the lodge.

Most of the time once I made it half way up I would just ski across the ski slope, dodging flying skiers to the safety and comfort of the lodge.

Years later in New Hampshire,  I tried again.  This time with shorter skis on a slope with a disk ski lift (similar principle to the t-bar, but it pushed only YOUR butt with the bar going up between your legs.}   My friends assured my I couldn’t fall.  I fell.   Got dragged up the slope because my ski pole strap got wrapped around the disk.          

So I hate skiing.   But I don’t hate skiers.

So if you want to ski, I’ll be waiting with a warm drink in front of a fire.