My high school boyfriend invited me to go on a youth group ski trip with him. And even though I never had skied before, I thought the outing would be fun! So, I decided to join him on the slopes. I threw on my best pair of jeans, everyday wool coat, new acrylic mittens, and away we went…
The experience was horrible. Everything that could go wrong did. The ski boots were too tight. I couldn’t move my feet on the skis. I couldn’t hold on to the rope-tow. At the top of the chair lift, I fell off the chair and the operators had to stop the lift to pull me up. From all of the tumbles I took, my jeans got soaking wet. My drenched clothing left me freezing cold. And though he was a good skier and a patient instructor, my boyfriend couldn’t seem to teach me how to snow plow or stop. I was miserable, embarrassed, frozen, and sore. I decided that my boyfriend, skiing, and I were not meant to be.
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We lived in Syracuse for the first three years of our marriage. During our very first winter there, it snowed every single day for six consecutive weeks! My husband (I never could bring myself to break up with him) was determined to get me back up on skis. The weather conditions and the slope options in upstate New York were too tempting for him to ignore; he coaxed, pleaded, begged, and bribed.
As his luck would have it, a program called “Skiing is Believing!” was offered through some local ski shops. It was a special promotion aimed at first-time skiers – five dollars for a two-hour lesson, equipment rental, and a daylong lift ticket – good at any of five local ski resorts. A deal like that simply seemed too good to be true. (And it was…it cost over two hundred and fifty dollars to buy me the proper clothing!) But, outfitted with new cold weather gear and a cautiously optimistic attitude, I was willing to “try, try, try” again.
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I became a believer that skiing, in fact, can be lots of fun. Over the years, lessons and experiences at various ski resorts around North America have turned me into a solid intermediate skier. I enjoy the “sightseeing” type of skiing; exploring and taking in different mountain views and terrains at a comfortable pace on wide-open gently sloping trails. I have no interest in bombing down a bumpy mogul-filled run at warp speed. And, while I’ll never be a “great” skier, at least I’m out there. I make my husband VERY happy!
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Our kids started skiing at the ages of four and six. They were naturals from the second they slipped on their ski boots. Being so close to the ground and unafraid of falling, they tackled each and every trail without a thought, and braved even the most challenging of weather conditions. They made my husband very proud!
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After over fifteen years of skiing once or twice a season, our family took a five-year break. Conflicting schedules and competing interests had put our ski vacations on ice. My husband (who is determined to teach his future grandchildren to ski), therefore, was thrilled when out-of-the-blue the kids (now twenty-two and twenty-four) asked if we could re-start our annual family ski trips. We were shocked! Now that they live in Chicago, where it’s plenty cold and snowy, we were surprised that they would even consider a non-beach vacation. And, even better, our son’s fiancé wanted to join us!
So, we set out for Vail, Colorado where we were blessed with fresh falling snow daily…over twenty inches of fresh powder on which to ski. We were fortunate enough to stay in a “ski-in, ski-out” resort, which enabled members of our party to come and go as they pleased. We were amused as all three “kids” had to stay behind one morning to handle work-related calls and emails while we “grownups” went out to play. Après ski, we all headed to the hot tub; and then indulged in long dinners, good wines, and sound nights of sleep. We survived whiteout conditions, sore calves and shins, and the two-hour drive to and from the Denver airport.
Quality time with loved ones, glistening snow, steaming hot chocolate, twinkling Christmas lights and trees, and wonderful new family memories…what winter vacation could be better?!
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My husband still is an awesome skier. My kids still are fearless on any slope. I’m still am being a good little trooper. Skiing IS believing….