My children, apparently feeling I was not receiving enough derision in my diet, somehow talked me into going snow skiing a few weeks ago.
Skiing is mostly a matter of standing in lines. It begins at the rental counter where men dispense equipment so banged up one can only assume it has been cursed. No one in their right mind would board a bus which was dented, crushed, and battered along its entire length, but we are expected to accept a pair of skis whose previous user must have skied through shrapnel. By the time you've made your way to the front of the line, your thermal underwear is producing enough heat to boil copper, and you'd rent a pair of two-by-fours if they'd just let you get back into the cold.
Next: tickets. You pick a short line, but apparently the woman in front of you is attempting to buy a condo. As her conversation eats up the hours, you realize that by the time you get your turn you will qualify for the senior discount.
My children assure me that I don't need a lesson in order to plummet down the mountain. "It's as easy as riding a bicycle," they claim. Right, except when you fall off a bicycle you usually slow DOWN. Ignoring their advice, I go over to the ski school, where I am culled from the crowd like the weakest deer in the herd. "Never skied before?" Beautiful ski instructor goddesses direct me to the beginners' class, which is being taught by a ski Nazi named Lars.
Now you are in line for the tow rope. Fifty feet away, seasoned skiers are allowed to settle comfortably in chair lifts and sit their way up the mountain, while you, never having tried anything like this before in your entire life, are expected to snag a loop on a moving rope with your gloved hand and somehow remain upright while being dragged up the slope. This is like boarding an airplane while it flies over your house. After three or four tries, your arm and its socket are irreconcilable. Even if you do manage to finally hang onto the line, the person ahead of you will splash into the snow and you will be dragged over the top of her, mumbling "Sorry...sorry" while your ski tips give her exfoliation.
At the top of the bunny hill, you turn and face what appears to be a completely flat surface. There is no danger you will gain too much speed, or any speed, from atop this miserable little peak. Now you know what the poles are for, and you dig with all your might so you can get down to the bottom of the bunny hill and do it again. It's like Kansas without the wheat.
The beginner skier is taught the "snowplow." It's an absurdly un-athletic position: your toes pointed in, knees splayed, arms waving madly in circles (I added this last bit on my own). As you creep forward in your snowplow, your children dart around you at insane speeds, singing out "Hi, Dad!" while you try to stab them with your ski poles.
Lars spends most of his time seeing how much he can inflate his chest and be blonde. Occasionally he shouts out encouragement: "Cameron you dumb stupid, you are da vorst skier in da history of da English peoples!"
Because your ski bindings have been set to "Geek," whenever an attractive woman happens by you pop out of your skis and are dumped face-first into the snow. Lars shakes his head, and the women glide over to him and arrange to have sex later that evening while laughing at how you ski.
Some time around lunch (the mark-ups these people put on their hamburgers make movie-theater popcorn look like a real bargain) your knees give out and you hit the après ski bar, waiting for your children to show up so you can punish them. The TV has a ball game on and everyone in the bar is a male your age, nursing a beer and a bad attitude. Après awhile, you cheer up.
Lars wouldn't stand a chance in a place like this.
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Submitted By: W. Bruce Cameron
Jan 30, 2001 09:20