Growing up in the Bend area and being within proximity of ski resorts brought the opportunity to learn something fun like skiing or snowboarding. It was around '86 when I learned to ski. I remember the first day vividly. No poles, only skis and the lift off in the distance I wanted to go up. Before making it over to the lift I had an instructor showing me how to do everything besides going down the hill. The instructor, Book, had me using one leg then the other to push like I had giant ice skates on. This got me around and up small hills very slowly.
I learned how to side step up steeper hills and wedge out about two turns and then step back up the hill. It was exhausting and felt like hours but it was definitely building my confidence before the lift. When I got to the lift it was slow and smooth and not fast by any means. The way down was the same with Book skiing backwards in front of me for the first run. Then it was just me wedging down the mountain. Awesome! I learned how to ski. I have no idea how this was afforded but I have my parents to thank.
I was promptly put into a ski racing program with other kids from the area. I had just learned and some of these kids' first shoes were skis. I was a bit behind the power curve being grouped with friends' younger siblings. No big deal. I was still having fun and trying to keep up. My equipment was old and ghetto. I didn't care. It didn't matter to me. At some point my group went up the summit lift. It was blue skies as far as you could see and the run down was a giant mogul field. I must have been scared but man did I let it rip. The next thing I remember I was airborne bouncing off moguls losing my skis, poles, hat, goggles, everything. One of the bindings ripped itself from the ski. When I finally stopped I think I was bawling and half way down the mountain. The coach and other kids gathered my stuff and I walked over to the Sunrise lift to ride down because I couldn't ski on one ski.
Well, I kept skiing and skiing one ski became a drill as my skiing advanced. My skiing progressed over the years but it was all race oriented. The last time I skied was Meadows in '96. It was springtime. I was skiing for fun and had a small tumble. Nothing like before but my ski had broken right in half across the front binding. I grabbed it and skied down on my one good ski. I was 19 and my life and my family's life had been kind of turned upside down by events outside of my control. Skiing was no longer attainable for me or I decided that for myself. My life went without skiing. I served in a military unit known for skiing and winter environment training. I put it down on a form of skills or hobbies when I went to the selection process. "I can ski for miles". The funny thing is I have never thought I was great but just something I got pretty good or good enough to have confidence making it through the steeper rough patches.
My son got me on the mountain this year when he was home on break. He got a snowboard lesson and I rented some ski equipment and hit the slopes. Having not skied for 27 years, I was a bit nervous but it came back like riding a bike. I was race tracking now. Lift up charge down. I really only learned to ski one type of way and that was to charge down the mountain as fast as possible while still making controlled turns and watching for others. Skiing is dangerous. In my earlier years, two young members of my ski community died while skiing. Neither involved an avalanche or a tree well.
I've skied several times this year. Technology has made it rad! I downloaded an app for my third day and it tracks all kinds of fun stuff too. The app also let me know I still got it for a 46 year old with Airborne knees. The knees are least excited.