Learning to Ski

All winter, I've been saying that this would be the year I would learn how to ski. And all winter long, I've kept putting it off, thinking I had more time, or it really wasn't important, or that actually I'd never learn how to ski anyway, so why bother trying?

But then it occurred to me that with Coco being a total shredder (that's an actual word) and Theo turning three in August and getting on skis himself next winter, if I didn't learn now, very soon I would no longer be part of my family in a very real way. It was time.

So Sunday was the day. My mom took the kids and J and I headed up to the mountain...

The drive up with no kids and good music and strong coffee was so awesome. We talked in complete sentences with no interruptions! Once we arrived, our first stop was the rental shop. I was so nervous and intimidated, but looking back, that was so silly because they had the sweetest teenagers working in there and the first thing they asked was if it was my first day on skis. When I said yes, they did a little "Woo-hoo!" and said how much fun I was going to have. They were completely prepared and understanding of my being completely oblivious to all things skis and put my boots on for me and did up all the buckles and made sure that I got some nice short skis that would make learning easy. Hooray! Thanks, Mt. Spokane.

Next, my wonderful teacher (none other than J himself) took me to the bunny hill. Well, not quite. He actually took me to the really flat area by the ski patrol lodge at the base of the bunny hill! I was scared to even put my skis on and was so relieved when we started with just one ski at a time. First we went in a little circle on one ski and then on the other. After that, he had me practice proper posture: knees bent, tail out, hold your arms out front like you're holding two cups of hot chocolate! Then we side-stepped up the little slope and I looked at him and slid down and practiced stopping in a wedge. Wheeee!

Let's just take a moment to acknowledge how ridiculous it is that I'm married to a PSIA certified ski instructor and only got on skis for the first time three days ago! Let's also take a moment to acknowledge that it makes perfect sense! Because being 37 and getting on skis for the first time is painful. Truly painful. The ski boots force your ankles and calves into a really unnatural position and all I wanted to do was straighten my calves and point my toes ballerina style! The unnatural position combined with side-stepping up the little slope made my hips tense up. It was actual hell. At one point, I didn't think I could do it. But then I realized, the only thing to do was give in and quit resisting the weird posture. And that helped, but even though it seemed like I graduated to the chair lift rather quickly (after just two slides down the little slope) I was happy to get on the lift. It was such a relief to sit down! Mental note: Need to get way more exercise ASAP or risk becoming very frail and weak in no time. 

The snow was a bit slushy and heavy, but it was worth it for the sunny, clear conditions. I loved riding on the chair lift even though I'm horribly afraid of heights. It was exhilarating and thrilling. Two thumbs up! Much to my surprise, skiing on the bunny hill was pretty intuitive. It takes a bit of trust to put all of your weight on your outer ski to make a turn, but once you get it, it works like a charm! I was making turns and skiing all the way down almost right away. It was so fantastic! J thought I was doing so well, he took me up a different chair to a longer run. But that completely freaked me out and felt like too much, so once we were down, we took a break for lunch.

We ordered fish and chips and a cheeseburger to go halvsies on and also shared a pitcher of Kokanee. Being so close to Canada, we regularly get Alberta news on the radio because it really is part of the greater region despite the border and radically different attitudes toward healthcare. ;) And another thing we get is their beer. Kokanee is a super refreshing, light beer brewed in Creston, BC. It sounded so good after all of that hard work!

We sat out on the deck in the sun and it was so relaxing and rejuvenating. Another uninterrupted conversation took place and we were totally enjoying our day together. Two pints of beer later, J said that I would be more relaxed and not think about it so much and we got back to the bunny hill.

By the end of the day, we got the last chair up to the run that had scared me before lunch and I totally killed it. I fell a fair bit and got scared a couple times, but overall, I had the biggest, most ridiculous grin on my face the entire time and felt like a champ. It was so exciting to learn something new and make progress and feel like a kid again! If you're in the area, I cannot say enough wonderful things about Mt. Spokane. Their instructors are so well-trained and professional and it's so cozy and has a wonderful family atmosphere. I am definitely going to get up there a few more times before the snow is all gone. And next winter, it is so on.

Do you ski? How did you learn? If not, have you considered learning as an adult? I definitely say go for it! What's holding you back?


  1. I love this post. It's so easy to remain in our comfort zones so kudos to you! Neither my husband nor I have ever been skiing but we definitely want to take our kids when they get a bit older. I may be pushing 40 by the time that happens! But it's not something that I want to miss out on just because it's easier not to try.

  2. This is so great! I think any skill is tough to learn as adults a step it is so damn hard to admit that we can't do something and are going to suck when we first start! Especially things with a physical comedy potential aspect... my dad, bless him, started skiing in his late 40s and now goes every year without fail as he loves it so much! He's a great skier now at 62.

    I started at 12 but haven't been since the ski trip I got engaged on! My husband jokes that he didn't want to kneel so made sure to ask with ski boots on. We can't wait to take Silvia and bump. She's is so balanced and coordinated so think she will rock it!

    Also, J is too perfect- the man teaches skiing on top of everything else? Oh boy.

  3. omg, that last photo of you two is so beautiful! LOVE!! I tried skiing for the first time at 19 while studying abroad in Florence in 2001. A group of us took a ski weekend trip to Cervinia (Italian Alps). Along with one other girl from our group who had also never skied, we took morning lessons on Sat and Sun. It was so much fun! After that I've gone off and on, skis then snowboard (friends "teaching" me) up until our time in Switzerland. The last time I was on a snowboard was winter 2008-2009, and I hated it! I went at least 5 times because we went with friends and I never wanted to be left out. But the following winter I said no thanks and stayed home like a party pooper. Hunter tried skiing this year at age 4 and did not like it. That boy rides a pedal bike (no training wheels) like a champ, but he was not very excited about skiing (conditions that day were unideal, so that may have affected his impression). Anyway, I love the idea of being a ski family so much, but maybe we are more of a cycling family ;) I may have pushed the lessons when Hunter was not ready. I just thought the younger the better because I didn't want him to be 19 hanging with college friends and the only one who can't ski. Anyway, Lucy's story gives me hope. That her dad learned in his 40s and does it well in his 60s... maybe we can still be a ski family!! ;) How amazing that your husband can give you private ski lessons!


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