Not black diamond material…

26 Jan

Travis and I went skiing at Keystone today. The bank couldn’t pull together the loan paperwork for the Pathfinder in time so we didn’t get the car thing accomplished today. But we got to go skiing instead!

We left at 6:00 AM to beat traffic, which meant that I had to get up by 4:30. It was an early morning and I am beat–a nap is definitely in order this evening. We got up to Keystone by 8:30 (even though we left early, the traffic was still bad for a while). By the time we got all our gear on, went to the bathroom and walked to the ski lift, it was 9:00–just in time for opening.

We were a little self-conscious about our ski gear–our skis and poles (as well as my boots) are from the early 90s. Since we just moved out to CO and don’t really have tons of extra cash lying around (have you seen the prices of ski equipment?!?!), we got the ski stuff my parents used back in the day when my whole family used to ski together (a long time ago).

My boots are this nasty yellow-white color with aqua writing on the outside and aqua/purple lining on the inside. Travis got new boots but our skis have flourescent colors and the worst part–they’re pointy at the end. All the skis nowadays are rounded on the end and edges. Back when our skis were made, they were majorly pointy, as in witch’s shoe pointy.

And when you’re standing in line waiting for the ski lift, all you really have to do is talk to whoever you’re with and look at everyone else’s skis/snowboards. I’ve been in ski shops recently and seen all the cute designs. Everyone had them. As Travis said, we had everyone beat by at least 10 years on the age of their ski equipment. It’s interesting to see the culture of skiing/snowboarding. I bet about 90% of the people out there have bought their winter clothes within the past 2 years. I bet 75% have bought their ski/snowboard equipment within the past 3 years. It’s a rich sport. You don’t see people from the ghetto going skiing. Because you need money for the lift ticket, the equipment, and the clothes, as well as money to just get near a ski resort.

At least nobody turned their noses up at us. But Travis did hear a couple guys’ comments: “Hey Bill! Do you remember when those skis came out?” and “Wait, are those PREs [my skis]? I thought those would be hanging up in a museum somewhere.” Nope, they’re here and I’m using them to get down that hill.

Since this was Travis’ first time skiing in 10 years and my first time in about 5, we didn’t really know what to expect. Add to that, the last time we were skiing, we were skiing in Minnesota. We quickly found out that a green circle hill in Minnesota doesn’t exist in Colorado. A “green” in CO is like a MN “blue” or possibly even “black”–which led us to the realization that all ski run coding is completely relative.

Needless to say, we stuck to the greens and blues. I was going to stay the h— away from those black diamonds. The black diamonds, however, did not stay away from me.

Keystone is a big place. There are two sides to many mountains and countless runs that cross, parallel, and merge with other runs. For the first part of the day, we stayed on the front side of the main mountain. So many people! But I’ll get to that… So after lunch, we decided to test the back side of the mountain. There were blues and blacks back there and 2 really short greens.

We were going on one of the short greens called Scout. We figured, “It’s a short run. We’ll just go down it quick, get back on the lift and then go on another run.” Travis was really catering to me because I wanted to stick to the milder runs. So we went down Scout. About 300 yards down the slope, it got really steep. I cut to the left, my ski caught, and down I went onto my left hip, in a cloud of snow. I got back up, a little shaken, and looked down the hill.

My heart stopped. It was a LONG way to the bottom and to me, it looked like a complete dropoff. I felt like I was going to drop off the face of the earth if I skied down that hill. I started to mentally hyperventilate and I couldn’t move.

I looked up at Travis and whimpered, “I don’t want to go down this hill. I don’t like this hill. It’s sooooo steep.”

Being the sweet husband that he is, Travis skied down to me and tried to reassure me, “No babe, you can do this. Just take it slow and cut from the left to the right. We can make it down.”

“I’m just going to take my skis off and walk down.” That seemed the safest option but it was a long way to walk.

“No babe, you can do this. We’ll just take it in sections and go slow.”

I had to will myself to move my skis. I saw younger kids and other women going down the slope like it was no big deal. I knew I could do it; I just didn’t want to. I was scared.

But with Travis leading, I carved to the left and then the right. I couldn’t get my skis straight when I cut to the left. I tried to straighten them but down I went onto my hip again, spraying snow and sliding 5 ft down the icy hill. One time I slid into Travis. I knew I was going too slow cutting to the left but I didn’t want to go fast because it freaked me out. So my strategy became to cut to the right and snowplow to the left. Cut to the right, snowplow to the left. Little by little, I reluctantly inched my way down the hill. Slowly, I built up confidence and by the end, I was cutting back and forth with ease.

But when we got to the bottom of that hill, I told Travis “We aren’t skiing the back of the mountain. There is no way I’m going on another run like that.” When we got on the ski lift and took out the map, we discovered that lo and behold, we had just skied down a black diamond called Diamond Back. I felt better about my fright–at least I wasn’t that paranoid about a blue square! Seems that we had overestimated the length of that short green–it was only about 100 yards long and we had blown right by that ski lift–to continue on to the connecting black diamond.

We went down the front of the mountain a couple more times after that. I fell over a few more times. Seemed like I had lost all my confidence by going down that black diamond. And the people whizzing by me on both sides didn’t help. I wasn’t used to so many people on the slopes, not to mention people really good at skiing/snowboarding. I kept losing my concentration, scared I was going to cut in front of someone and they were going to plow right into me.

Because of that, I stuck to a nice, steady pace. Travis liked speed and adrenaline. So for those last few runs, he went on ahead of me and we met at the bottom. We finally decided to call it quits when our quads were so tired that we could barely stand up. (That and I had started making a fool of myself by dropping things, falling over trying to get up to the line for the ski lift, etc.–all signals that I was ready to leave.)

I like to consider myself in pretty good shape. I run, use the elliptical, do squats and lunges and wall sits. But man, none of that prepared me for that leg workout! I hope that I can walk tomorrow. All in all, it was a really fun day. It was warm, in the lower 30s–we actually were sweating. Such a change from MN, where we often skied in 10 degree weather! I was worried my feet would be freezing (they almost always are) but amazingly, they also were sweating. It’s so much more enjoyable to be outside when you’re not freezing your arse off.

Skiing day #1– down!!

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