i did it, after many, many and many more years, I finally did something that I've wanted to do again but was afraid to. It might seem something minor for many but for me it was a big step. What is it you may ask, I slid down a big hill again. Yep, I strapped sticks to my feet that locked the ankle down. There was no grip wax needed for forward momentum, there was no elevated heart rate from excursion only from excitement. To say I had fun would be a subtle description.
So why was it such a big deal? Well it's been close to 15 years since I've slid down the hill. With me living 10 minutes from Mt. St. Louis and 15 from Horseshoe its sounds pretty lame but there is a lot more to it than that. 15 years ago I was almost a big thing, I had my 15 minutes of fame etc etc. Wow I like 15 it seems because that's the age that it all started. I like most got to do my first downhill ski trip in grade 8 and the following year when I was 15 I started to downhill ski at the infamous Mountainview ski hill. Ski Mountainview ski the world. Actually it was more go up the lift, turn right at top, tuck, hit jump, land turn right to the lift and do it again. I did eventually learn to turn left. When that happened the next step followed, yep my competitive nature took over and I found myself on the high school ski team.
I was hooked, I used to count down the days till the snow fell. Summers sucked and the fall meant ski swaps and the first tuning of the year. I had been seen more than once walking around in my ski boots in October just because. Yep I was a ski bum. So much so that I even had a mini career doing it teaching and coaching at Mt. St. Louis. Yep I got paid to ski and I was on the hills in every condition almost everyday. I was still doing the snow dance every September. My 15 minutes of fame came by way of the ski school commercial. I wowed the director so much with my amazing acting skills that he even gave me lines. "Try the New carving skis". Does that date me? Yep I was helping promote the carving skis in their first year of production.
Then things changed for me, my knees went and I was given a bit of an ultimatum from my doctor, quit or walking may be a problem in a few years. Unfortunately I didn't have the amazing support I have now from people like Dr. Bill. So that was it, the skis started collecting dust, a knee surgery to clean up the damage in the right knee and a search for a new thrill. Took almost 5 years before I started mountain biking.
Jumping forward 15 years, I've wanted to try again. I've driven past the resorts so many times and I still have all that old school ski gear. What was the fear, it was based on that has been and can't do again mentality. I knew the level I used to be capable of and I have this problem of not being able to do anything half assed. It would be the equal to me not training at all for 15 years and then jumping on the Anthem and wanting to battle with the big boys in an 8 hour. Ya, I know, just do it. That's what happened. I left the decision in Shannon's hands. It took her 3 seconds to say we were going and I had no arguments. I was humble and concerned as I dragged her to the beginner hill. No way in hell I was hitting anything larger than that. I've seen my skills on xc skis going down a hill fail dramatically. This was much bigger and if I'm going to die I'm doing it on a small hill.
I guess they are right when they say it's like riding a bike. HMMM wait I crash on the bike sometimes. HMMMM still stay in check. Actually it was not that bad. Shannon tore up the hills on her snowboard as I slid with some self control for the first few runs. I guess muscle memory is for ever because it didn't take long for things to start coming back. Driving a knee into the turn, compression and extension through the turn, started working the sidecut etc. Yep, even the instructor side started coming back. Yes, I'm crazy sometimes. Did I mention that I had enough fear of it though that I wouldn't use any of my current skis. It's not that they were the retro long sticks. It's what they were. It would have been like giving a 16 year old kid the keys to a Porsche and not expecting something bad to happen. GS and SL race skis are not very forgiving. The SL are responsible for my shattered wrist. Not a good way to start back so I picked up a used pair of carving skis.
To say I'm hooked would be an understatement but I won't be changing my training and lifestyle dramatically at this point. I still love my xc skis and they will still see more action than any other winter toys. Maybe it's the fact that certain body parts are sore. Body parts that I need for the bike. Will I play again. Dam right, possibly even tonight. There could be some New Years eve slipping and sliding with Shannon, Jason and the coach. That is if Mother Nature is feeling generous. I'm looking at the bike this morning wondering when the first winter man ride will kick in. The roads are melting and looking pretty clear right now. HMMM.
Have a happy New Years eve everyone and I'll attempt to sober up enough tomorrow to share my adventures with you in the new year.