Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Swish, Swish, Splat

From the first mention of possibly moving to Delft for a year, I had some romantic notions about the possibilities of experiences: spending our anniversary in Paris, partying in Dublin for St. Patrick's Day, touring the champagne region, ice skating on frozen canals, sleeping in castles, ect. The most fanciful of these notions, however, might just be the thoughts of skiing in the Alps - a la James Bond in For Your Eyes Only.

When I saw a flier for the Chalet Martin and their incredible weekend ski deals at our hostel in Bruges, I just knew we had to go. Forget that Matt has never been on skis and I have some coordination and balance issues, we were going skiing. Fortunately the mountain ski area was classified as a beginner/intermediate resort - but it was STILL the Alps.

Despite a snowy, foggy outlook for the following day, we suited up in ski gear on Friday night and got a few pointers from the hostel staff - wear goggles, don't brace yourself with your hands when you fall, and better to pop out a ski then pop out a knee. We were ready to go.

As soon as I stepped off the cable car and into my skis, I remembered why I don't go skiing more often. I have control issues. I like to be in control. At all times. And when flying down a mountain I do not feel like I am in control.

Trying to regain all the things I knew about skiing, we started on the bunny hill for a few runs. As I skied down the only slightly past horizontal slope with my skis in a rigid, wide inverted V, I realized kids who were not old enough to speak in complete sentences were whizzing past with an astonishing amount of speed, grace, and control. But then I looked down the hill and saw it took Matt on his snowboard 6 tries to successfully get on the button lift to return to the top of the hill and I felt a little better.

After a few trips down the bunny hill, we were ready to brave a beginner run - now mind you, this was not a short run and nor, by the time I got to the bottom of it, did I think it was a beginner run. And the forecast for fog was right on - there is nothing like getting to a hill and not being able to see the bottom of it. I think it took me twenty minutes to get down that hill and only took the 10 year-old behind me twenty seconds.Fortunately the "freshies" were thick enough to cushion the falls, even though "don't brace yourself with your hands" was quickly forgotten every time gravity took us to the ground. We got better as the day wore on; I spent more time going down and less time going sideways and Matt spent more time upright and less time on his butt. We never graduated from the beginner runs - maybe next time - but we did manage to conquer quite a few runs and the art of getting off a chair lift without falling down immediately.

No comments: