Conquering the Mountain

Mountain View

This past weekend I went skiing for my third time ever. My first time at Lutsen Mountains was a total disaster. I hated it. The weather was really cold. The snow was really icy. And I wasn’t really ready for it. I took a lesson which was too short and didn’t really teach me all the skills that I needed to feel confident on a bigger hill, the lesson didn’t even cover how to ride a ski lift! Needless to say, after that first experience I never really thought that there would be a second, much less a third, obviously something changed!

Last year we took a trip out to Portland over spring break. We stayed with Aaron’s best man, Luke, for several days in a ski cabin in Government Camp on Mt. Hood. Luke is the manager of the ski cabin for Reed College. Basically he lives there and maintains the property so that students, staff and alumni can come up and have a nice place to stay on the mountain while the hike, ski, snowboard, or just relax. Not a bad job!

As a result, Luke has a lot of free time to ski (amongst other things) and hone his skills. Last year I definitely benefitted from his skills. We went skiing one day during our visit and he basically worked as my private instructor for the entire day. Additionally, Aaron (also a good skiier) was there. So I had two people, bound and determined to make me enjoy and be successful at skiing. Both of them were patient with me and attentive to what guidance a beginner needed.

Well, after a few hours of skiing, I was definitely hooked. All their hard work paid off and I loved it. Having that kind of attention and help was what I needed to finally understand skiing. I was able to learn some of the basic skills necessary to succesfully navigate the hills. It was fantastic!

This past weekend, almost nine months later, I hit the slopes again. Luke wasn’t there this time, but his lessons were still with me. As I put on my skis and got on the lift I kept replaying all the things he told me in my head. I started out with the beginner hill and lift and was able to go down three or four times without falling at all. Then I moved to the next lift and I still was able to do it perfectly. Finally, I got a little more brave and took a lift almost all the way up to the top (the Melon Liner). Then, the falling started. I fell about nine times on that one run but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I did the same run a few more times and by the third time I was able to complete it without a single fall. I was so proud!

So, Luke, thanks to you I think I have become a skiier. You were an awesome teacher!

And thanks Aaron. Putting up with the beginners isn’t an easy thing. Maybe someday I will be able to keep up with you . . .

Just a little video. I am still the worlds SLOWEST skiier, but at least I can make it down the mountain and want to go back up again. That is a huge deal!

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 at 12:16 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Conquering the Mountain”

  1. Luke says:

    The credit is due to you for giving it a second, fair chance. It was a blast skiing with you and Aaron last spring and I am just glad to have offered advice that was valuable. Never thought it would carry to the mountains of Japan-right on!

    Hopefully the snow is as good there as it is here on Hood this year. Crazy amounts! I think I might just get 100 days of skiing in this year, between patrol and pleasure. Not to shabby.

    I’ll tell you what would be sweet-if for your 4th or 5th time I WAS there. That notion still hasn’t left my radar. Just got my passport, I’ll see what I can do…

    Until then, get back out there and find the fresh pow. I’ll do the same. Keep shreddin’ the gnar!


  2. Marc says:

    Congratulations on your developing skills. How far away was the mountain from Gifu? Was it horrendously expensive? Was it hard finding ski boots for your gigantic gaijin feet? ; ]

    I miss you guys.

  3. danielle says:

    The place we went skiing was about two and a half hours (by car) from our little home in Gifu. Not to shabby. Good skiing is a lot closer to us here than it was in Chicago, that’s for sure.

    Horrendously expensive….not really. About the same price as skiing back home, perhaps a little cheaper. A half-day lift ticket was about 2,500 yen ($25) and ski rental was about 3,800 yen ($38). Not too bad.

    As for the gaijin feet….some people definitley had a tough time. Luckily my feet, while huge compared to women’s feet here, are pretty normal compared to the men. So, I had no problem getting a set of men’s skis and boots to fit my feet. Phew! I even broke down and bought to pairs of men’s size shoes recently as well. They are the height of fashion, let me tell you!

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