As it turned out I hadn't skied in over eight years. That's right...eight...years. I couldn't believe it myself, as skiing was something I used to really enjoy, and even though it wasn't a large part of my life I managed to get out there once or twice a year pretty regularly right up through the end of college. Then we moved out here and apparently I just stopped going. Weird. So obviously I was a little worried about falling flat on my face or getting chopped in half by the lift or whatever on the first day, but as it turned out none of that was a concern. I rented a pair of (very short) parabolic skis and was just stupified by how easy everything was. You just point them in the right direction and boom that's where you go. Literally by the end of my second run I think I was skiing better than I was at the end of the my 10 days in Vail over two trips in 2003. We finished out the day on the slopes, picked up the dogs (they came on this trip....very fun) and returned to our sleepy little cabin in the woods. We didn't ski Monday, and were planning to go on a nature walk with the dogs but were prevented by a sudden "freak" snowstorm that ended up dropping 11 inches of fresh powder on the mounting starting in the early afternoon. So we played in the snow and finished the West Wing (what a terrible last 6 episodes or so....seriously they made me watch like a year of them changing characters and completely revamping the show only to just go off the air like that? Horrible) and tried to play Monopoly (three heads up games, me ceding two, Danielle ceding the "fast game" when I was dealt the green color group in my 4 free starters).
Tuesday we skied, and it was glorious. Other than the fact that we didn't get onto a lift until 10:30am on what Danielle's afternoon ski instructor called "the best day of the year", everything was fantastic. Nobody was there on this random Tuesday, and there was fresh snow everywhere. I decided to indulge a long time desire and rented a pair of "blades" for the day, and they were about as much fun as I expected. I was right all along, I should have been using them a decade ago when rental skis were crappy. Now they're just pretty fun, but didn't give me a whole lot more control or freedom than my 140 cm parabolics. Danielle said I looked "like I actually knew what I was doing" when I was on them towards the end of the day, which I suppose was comforting. The trick was to realize that despite the squirley-ness of the setup, actually falling down was extremely difficult because the skis themselves couldn't do anything tricky. You couldn't get your tips crossed, couldn't get them going in different directions, couldn't go over a little bump the wrong way and get them out of control...no matter what you did with them you simply kept going down the hill. If you lost your balance a little all you had to do was lean back and boom, you'd be back upright. Now admittedly they were pretty bad for "powder", but since we didn't get on the mountain until 2 hours after the lifts opened, that wasn't much of a problem. For a self taught, reasonably strong, athletic and compact guy with probably 4 figures of roller blading experience, they were a fantastic choice. Real skiers would probably hate them, but hey, to each is own.
So now I'm back home, writing a blog post at 7:30am because I went to bed exhausted last night at 9. I'm back on the poker trail and have made some decisions regarding my future, which I'll detail in my next post.