Sunday, July 21 2024 - 6:23 AM
woman on skis
Photo by Dreamstime

Ski Class

New snow lay mounded on the ski run, cloaking the trees in white mantles. I breathed in the fresh mountain air and threw back my shoulders. It was a beautiful day, and excitement filled the air at the local ski resort. Eight months had passed since the breakup with my longtime boyfriend, and the search to find the right guy to include in my life had begun again.

It was time for a lesson on skiing moguls, and six of us university students waited partway down a bumpy run. Having been skiing regularly at the resort for almost seven years, I felt very confident as we listened to the instructor’s instructions. My eyes wandered to Benjamin, a fellow student, and member of my ski class, whom I had developed a crush on. I noted his athletic stance and noticed the twin-tipped skis. He must be really good, I thought, before turning my attention to the instructor again.

“Keep your body facing downhill and your arms forward,” Clarence, our ski instructor, said. “Stay forward in your boots and give a firm pole plant. Don’t let your arms go back; otherwise, it’ll throw you off balance and put you too far backseat.”

My Turn to Ski

One by one, the others set off down the hill, winding their way through the bumps and easily reaching the bottom of the slope. Finally, Clarence nodded my way, “It’s your turn.”

“Okay,” I answered, setting off very sure of myself and aware of my crush, standing at the base of the slope.

My frequent glances down the mountain told me that he was watching, probably admiringly, I told myself. But the glances took my eyes off the run. The pole plant and moguls that had sounded easy were now a tangled mess of instructions in my head, and the mounds of hardened snow bucked my skis about. “Aai yai yi,” I exclaimed, “trees are a piece of cake compared to this!”

Angry at the mountain now and self-conscious because Benjamin was watching, I gripped my poles tighter, but the next mogul threw me off balance and even more backseat.

The instructor skied over towards me, following my rabbit trail across the bumps. “Keep your arms ahead of you,” Clarence shouted.

Losing Focus

For a split second, I took my eyes from the run to glance at the instructor’s demonstration of what I should be doing, and immediately the mountain took over. Oh, how it took over! One ski remained in the offending mogul, and the other tumbled end over end as I slid down the mountain, head first. Snow went down my neck and up my sleeves and filled my goggles.

Finally, I came to a stop as the loose snow, sliding along with me, slowed my progress. Mortified that my overconfidence had cost me so dearly, I could only imagine the comments and laughter I would face at the bottom of the hill.

Clarence, who had collected my ski by this point, brought it to me, “Are you okay?” he asked.

What could I say? I was physically unhurt. But following the undignified, 50-foot slide down the hill, and subsequent snowman status, moguls seemed much more challenging than I originally thought.

I collected my skis and my sanity and slowly skied toward the group. Embarrassed, I watched the blue and red twin tips. They didn’t move, and no one in the group laughed. Relieved, I followed my group toward the lift.

Sometimes embarrassing things happen, particularly in front of people we care about or are trying to impress. However, I learned from my tumble in front of Benjamin that even when we mess up, the right people to include in our lives will be there, willing to see us for who we are, not the mistakes we make.

If you liked this, you might also like Snow Days 

Kiersten Ekkens writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Kiersten Ekkens

Kiersten Ekkens

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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