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Flerly on Ice… only interesting if you find Rorschach patterns in bruises fun

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Monday, February 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm by flerly.

Care to psychoanalyze my ass? Please don’t. It’s been a very long week.

Normally, my vacations are all too short, and it seems like no time at all before we’re back in the same old work groove. This one may be an outstanding vacation just for the lack of that feeling. This week took forever.

Perhaps it was because it was so intermingled with pain. Constant pain must cause you to really FEEL every moment that is passing, so you don’t miss a thing.

Here’s the lowdown… I cannot snowboard and I cannot tell you why. The closest reason I can offer to why I can do every little thing required in order to successfully snowboard except for the one little thing that lands me on my ass is… vertigo? Heart-pumping, pulse-pounding, hair-on-end, fear of falling face-first down a big hill…vertigo….. causes me to fall on my ass.

Day One: Regular board setup. I feel like an idiot. I can’t find any balance to do anything, I’m frustrated as hell, and Marc walks my board up to the shop and sets it up Goofy so I can try that out. Amazingly, then I find some balance. I’ve got that toe edge down… I can get up and I can plow and transverse and whatever else… “falling leaf” down on that toe edge, where I’m facing UP the mountain, but God forbid I end up needing to slow down or stop if I’m on my back edge….. see, according to everyone including the instructor I finally went to, everybody gets their back edge down, because it’s just like standing, or riding a slide, you’re facing the direction you’re going, and if it gets scary, you feel you can just sit down to stop. Apparently normal people find the toe edge scary because if you sit down while facing up the slope, well, then you go tumbling end over end down the mountain. Me, I’m only scared when I have to look down the hill.

I spent Days Two and Three pretty much by myself, trying to figure out that back edge on the Skidder slope, and eventually learned to balance myself in a regular setup again. I managed to figure out how to get on and off the lifts, how to walk the board with one foot in and one out, and even how to skate a bit with my foot on the stomp pad. All great skills to have if you’re on the Skidder slope where you only have to snowboard for about 5 seconds before you’re at the bottom and ready to get on the lift.

Oh, and I should mention that on Days Two and Three, on attempts to stop on my back edge, I managed two spectacular wipeouts which caused a nearby Ski-School instructor to come check on me. The last one on day three, where I actually bounced and fell again, seriously rattled my skull.

Day Four… it rained overnight and all the pretty piled up snow in the parking lots washed away. They still groomed the snow on the slopes, but they didn’t really start making snow until afternoon, and so we all took a day off. Lucky for me they had a nice cheap DDR game in the BigTop area for me to entertain myself and get my workout. Speaking of which, I don’t know if it was the cold or the altitude, but this whole trip was quite the cardio workout to do anything. Walking around in all those layers, with heavy boots, and carrying that heavy board up and down three flights from the room, through the village to buy a lift ticket for the day… man I was often feeling worn out before I’d even gotten boots in the bindings. Add picking yourself up from falling over and over and over and over and…. well, you get the idea. It was an exhausting week on top of the exhilaration.

Day Five was V-day, of course, and our last day on the slopes. Still feeling banged up, even after a day off, and with my neck especially sore, I let everyone go out without me that morning. Later, I realized I REALLY wanted to try some more, but just didn’t want to fall all the time, so I decided to travel on the free shuttle over to the other side of the mountain, where there were more beginner slopes, so maybe I could go a bit more than 5 seconds without having to get on the lift again. Once there, I saw the big sign for the school, and decided to ask about some training. It was 15 minutes until a group adult snowboarding class, which was 2 hours for $54, and then there was a 30 minute break and I could do an hour or two of private instruction for $149 an hour if I wanted. Figured I’d make my last day count, but realizing I’d been wearing out really fast, I told them I’d do the 2 hour class then see how I felt. They said that was fine, so I went out to wait for the group class. As it turned out, I was the only person signing up for the adult group class, so for my $54 I got 2 hours alone with the instructor.

Let me say, I don’t know how they do it. I’ve seen adults ski with kids, and hold them up while they try to ski, but this little chick… about 3 inches shorter and probably 50 lbs lighter was able to keep me upright the whole time. She stayed behind me most times while we practiced transversing the slope, front edge, turn, back edge, turn, front edge, in long sweeps across the hill. She helped me stay balanced on that back edge and talked to me the whole time, giving me immediate feedback on everything I was doing. A couple runs on their bunny slope and then we did the entire cub run to the bottom. We really took a long time to get down the mountain because we did the whole thing without much speed, despite the slope. She said anybody can get going down the mountain, but it’s hardest for people to learn the control to not race down every time. That if you start out learning these moves, that when you later add in more forward travel and more speed, that you’ll know exactly how to slow down, turn, or get out of a tight spot when you need to, rather than wiping out at speed.

Personally, I think she said most of that stuff to make me feel better because it was fairly obvious I was terrified of the steep parts of the slope, but I guess it makes some sense. I ended that day without busting my ass even once, and with a much better mental understanding of the dynamics of the board. She blamed a bit of my problem on my new boots, saying that it’s really hard to find that fine control in new inflexible boots, and if you didn’t already know how to do it, that she thought it would seem impossible to learn when your boots just weren’t doing what your foot inside them was trying to do. She told me to take my boots to the hot tub with me and soak them to loosen them up. Shyeah… I see her point, but we were leaving the next morning anyway and I can’t imagine dunking leather boots that cost that much without some research.

The hot tub portion of the trip was fantastic, though. Nothing a bunch of muscle-tired people want more after a long day of cold than a nice soak in a hot tub. Sunday night, the first night after a day on the slopes, the weather was bitter cold, 65mph gusts of wind, tearing shingles off the roof of the lodge and knocking over lampposts. The windchill was -8 and we were soaking outside in a hot tub, in our winter hats, watching the falling snow hit the rising steam with wonder. Some little kids were going underwater, then spiking up their hair and letting it freeze in weird shapes. It was all very entertaining and relaxing. Tiring trip, though. Lots of walking. Lots of soaking. Lots of stretching. Lots of water and Gatorade. That’s what kept us going day to day, because apparently nobody really uses these muscles day to day enough to NOT be worn out, whether you’re good at it or not.

Mr. T, of course, got quite good at it. Marc was already quite good. Their friends, Missy & Barry were also good. Jennie had a miraculous revelation on how to do it, after 4 trips of trying, and suddenly she was good and confident on the board. Even the first-timer co-worker they’d brought on this trip figured it out enough to tackle the long green slopes on his own. So, it was really just me left at the top of the hill, trying to figure it out. Jennie said it took her 4 trips to figure it out and this was just my 3rd time trying, though my 1st and 2nd were just one-day trips, so she didnt seem too worried. She was fascinated at how I took to the front edge, which was her last hurdle. Me, I just have to wipe this strange vertigo sensation out of my brain when I’m on the back edge. It gets my pulse-racing so much I can’t catch my breath, and it’s just stupid. You don’t even FALL forward when you’re turned that way, but eveything in my head is telling me to lean back further or I’ll fall off the edge, so I end up sitting down.

The highlight of the trip for me, of course, was hearing about the indestructable Marc busting his ass on the metal edge of a ramp in the terrain park on the last day. They saved that last day for picture taking day, and on his second go at a run, he apparently lost it at the end. He thought he might have broken his tailbone, and he was a pitiful person the rest of that night… soaking his ass in the hot tub, litterally. Apparently he has a soft-ball sized bruise as a momento. But, meh, you know me… I always love it when someone who is being too cocky gets taken down a notch. Not that he’s not the sweetest guy in the world, but… you know…. he needed a kick in the ass.

There was only ONE “alcohol” incident on the trip, as Jennie took a sip of an Oatmeal Stout James had ordered for his Valentine’s dinner out, and Marc turned into pouty baby and wouldn’t stay in the lodge to pose with us for group pictures afterwards. He and I had a long conversation about the incident in the hot tub the night he was soaking his ass, too, where I told him I had been hoping he’d get hurt so he wouldn’t be so nimble to kick my ass when I talked to him about that stuff. He just laughed. I can’t tell them what to do, but damnit, I tend to tell people what I think, especially if I think nobody else is going to. It’s just my opinion, but it’s at least something you ought to consider. She just turned 30, for goodness sake. It’s time to stop treating her like she’s 12… AND it’s just creepy that you do that, since she’s your WIFE not your daughter.

But, like I know anything about anything. I don’t know why I keep end up being the person in this situation. I never asked to be a counselor, though apparently “i’m wise” and “i speak my mind” enough for some people. It’s just weird offering advice up on things that I feel like I barely have a handle on in my own life. For goodness sakes, James’ skinny little size 8 mother calls me for food and workout advice because I’m apparently an expert on those, whether I actually do it or not. Cousin Marc calls me because I’m the queen of good party ideas…. whatever. I wouldn’t say I’m the queen of anything except denial and acceptance. If that’s what you’re looking for, oh do call me.



  1. randomrants has made a Comment

    For the years I spent in the Great White North, I never got into snowboarding. Then again, it didn’t really catch on until the early/mid 90s, i think, and I’d already been skiing for 10+ years at that point. I did try it, but I think I just enjoyed having control of both of my feet independently, instead of having both of them lashed to a board.

    Sounds like you had a fun time, all tumbling and bruising aside.

    February 19, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  2. flerly has made a Comment

    I did have fun. I’d go again in a heartbeat, too. I didn’t realize how much I’d really enjoy a wintertime vacation, but this was an outstanding week. Now, if I could just get some skills!

    February 21, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

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