Saturday, November 7, 2009
Life's Embarrassing Moments
I wrote this up a few months ago, and thought I'd share it with you all. It's a little long, and I hope you can visualize it while you read it. This is our view of the mountain I'm talking about.
I was 14 years old and my high school ski club had gone snow skiing at Holiday Hill (now Mountain High) in Wrightwood California. I'd never skied, but was excited to learn. After a class for beginners, we were all anxious to get started. I felt I was catching on and each time I came down the hill I went a little higher up the hill the next time. However, I had not mastered stopping at the bottom of the hill.
Coming down one time I was picking up speed...and heading straight for a line of people waiting to go back up the hill. They were standing behind a rope connected by two poles. I crouched down trying to get below the rope, but now I was completely out of control, not knowing how to ski in a crouched position (okay, I didn't really know how to ski in an upright position either). I didn't get down low enough and my neck caught on the rope. Of course I was in motion, so the rope, the poles, and the entire line of people came down with me. Seriously, the entire line.
I was very embarrassed, but I soon realized that I'd ended up near the front of the line, so I jumped up and got on, since everyone else there was also slightly confused. What happened next is proof that you should never take cuts in line!
This was not a chair lift, but it was a disk, which you pulled down and rode, with your skis going along on the ground. When you got as far up the mountain as you wanted to go, you simply slid off, and the disk went back up on something like a cable or spring. (Are you getting the picture?) You were supposed to be careful not to put your entire weight on this disk, but just ride it, holding on lightly. I however, was a little confused already and I made the mistake of putting my weight on it and trying to ride it. I only weighed about 100 lbs., but apparently that was too much. My bottom slid off, and as it did, my skis and poles got tangled up in the disk. Now I was riding along on my bottom, my arms, poles, legs and and skis straight up above me, stuck in the disk, and it seemed this lift was moving along at an ungodly speed.
I couldn't get myself untangled, and I'm sure the sight must have been hilarious, but I was scared to death because I knew that if I didn't get off before I reached the top of what had now become an enormous mountain, I'd be hanging in the air when it headed back down on the other side. I started screaming for them to stop this thing, but they didn't. I'm not sure the operator knew what was happening, or maybe he was secretly a little thrilled to see this girl hanging there, the one that had just sent his entire line into such disarray. Finally, right before I reached the top I got myself unattached to the disk, counting my blessings that I didn't die on that thing. Now, I just had to get back down the hill, and from a much higher point than I'd ever been before.
It must have taken me about 10 minutes to get my bindings back on (this was before the day of step-in bindings), but I finally did, and began my descent down the hill. Again, going down was not too much of a problem, but as I got to the bottom, I realized that I was headed straight for the same rope, poles and line of people I'd knocked down minutes before! This was too much; you really think you can die from embarrassment when you're 14. Stopping was something I just couldn't master, so again I crouched down, not knowing what else to do. I got lower this time,(my neck still smarting from the last time) and the people in the line saw me coming, so they separated, and I went under the rope and through the line, not knocking down a single person! I was thrilled....for a second. I was still not in control, and didn't know how to stop. Beyond the line was another little hill and then the parking lot. However, standing on the little hill, and directly in my path, was a lady.... with her back to me.
I did finally stop when I hit the parking lot, and the lady that had been standing in my path was now flat on her back, thanks to me. As I got up and went to check on her, I realized it was my typing teacher, one of the sponsors of the ski club! I apologized profusely, and while I'm sure she was a bit sore, she encouraged me not to give up on skiing, although I probably should've.
I went immediately to find someone who could teach me how to STOP.
I haven't been skiing in quite a few years, but I did finally learn to ski comfortably, and I have kids that snowboard on that same mountain :-) It makes for a funny story to tell, and it also makes you realize that there are some REALLY good things about growing up BEFORE the days of "America's Funniest Home Videos".