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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Apres Ski

You know, you've really pretty much gotta be insane to like skiing. After all, what do skiers do but spend time outdoors during the worst part of the year, drive icy roads, even amidst blizzards, to get to a ski area. And then spend a lot of time suspended in some of the worst windchills imaginable while a chair on a cold metal cable brings them to the top of the hill, or mountain (depending upon geographic location).

And at that point, while they are nearing the block of ice point of their body temperature, they point their two sticks (or platform, if they are a snowboarder) down the hill and increase the windchill even more.

And the equipment! It's an exercise in agony just to put the boots on, and requires inhuman strength to buckle the hard plastic, especially of racing boots. Those same boots that cause perma-bruising on the shins where you thrust your weight againts the tongue of the boot, which is effectively the "steering wheel".

And racers! Even more insane. They get into the wind-tunnel that is the starting house, sans jacket, wearing a speed suit, gloves, and helmet, and then turn between the sticks as quickly as possible, so as not to actually freeze to death by standing still.

Yeah. I LOVE skiing! And I MISS racing!

Last night I skied with one of the other chaperones, able to fulfill my desire to ski with someone better than I am. He raced in high school and college, we had a blast talking about the sport of insanity, and drooled watching a team rip through the gates last night.

I couldn't be my speed-deamon self, though, because I had to re-learn how to ski, the fine points of technique, and realized I didn't want to die while I was a chaperone. That would just be embarassing. So I worked on short-to-medium radius turns, correct positioning, etc. My technique was just awful. I couldn't get myself to stay forward, which isn't good; my skis were purchased for racing and they have a specific "sweet spot" that requires I be balanced over it just so. To let my weight remain in the "back seat" actually causes an unstable position, doesn't allow the ski to do it's work, and, especially when hitting compressions (which is where a hill flattens out quicky), lends to greater risk of being "ejected". And that's almost worse than just a regular crash! So last night I found that my abilities were coming back slowly.

Unfortunately, because of the cold weather, half the lifts were closed and in order to stay close to the chalet we spent most of our time on the biggest slopes, which were also the steepest. What I really needed was some time on the longer cruisers (intermediate slopes) so that I could have gotten my confidance and technique back. Although that might not have made a difference; the snow was like styrofoam and we all really had to "work" our skis. It's hard to get an edge into that stuff. Or once you get your edge, the snow grabs it and you STILL have to fight to do what want.

And I spent the entire evening in a slightly hypothermic state. Even last night, after I got home and went to bed, I just shivered under the comfortor.

But now I'm up, I'm drinking coffee, and about to walk the dog.
But least I got to go skiing this year!


Cathy_of_Alex said...

You ARE crazier then I am! Hey, want to do a polar plunge with me?

I'm glad you got to go skiing. I know you love it!

adoro said...

Ummmm...let me think about it....NO.


Adrienne said...

On the very bottom of my “to do” list is going out in the cold, strapping little sticks on my feet, and sliding uncontrollably down a hill.

Glad you got to have "fun", though:)

adoro said...

adrienne ~ "Uncontrllably" is not in my vocabulary! Control is everything...because if I'm going to crash, it's got to be dramatic and in the middle of a race in which I fought that very thin line of control. It's awesome. It's a great experience.

And I hit that line last night...and chose to hockey-stop before being launched over a knoll. Because crashing hugely in front of the chalet is just plain embarassing and carries no inherent glory.

Besides, I already did that back in 1991, on that very hill.


Hidden One said...

Remember how last post you said in sentence 3 that you were questioning your sanity?

Just making sure.

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Heh. I am likely to be stifling hot even under a sheet tonight. It has been hot and very humid all day!!! I am over it!!!! Southern hemisphere summer. But we are supposed to get heavy rain and high winds tomorrow, tail end of a tropical cyclone. I have just had a cold shower to cool off!!

adoro said...

Kiwi ~ I hate humidity...that's why I'll take these cold temps when they come. While I'm not a fan of them, at least they lend to good sleeping weather under big ol' comfortors! LOL! My house has central air, but it just doesn't ever make it upstairs where I need it at night.