Last week, I wrote about how my effort to learn Chinese has resulted in surprisingly little. Let’s talk about something that has worked out better: skiing.Continue reading “A Minimally Useful Amount of Skiing”
I arrived back at my dorm three hours ago from a dorm trip at Lake Tahoe. A common activity among Stanford dorms, Sno Trip is a weekend spent skiing among the wonderful mountains of NorCal (North California).
And I have my sob story about skiing. I lived in Canada beginning in my mom’s womb through a post-3rd grade departure. I first went to Doncrest Public School, where I excitedly awaited ski trips beginning in 3rd grade. Our schools would take field trips to go ice skating or something else fun. Unfortunately, in 2nd grade, my family moved to a different part of Toronto, where Hollywood Public School began ski trips in 4th grade. Well enough, I figured. I would only have to wait a year. In the time of another year, I was in the very warm Texas.
I was excited, as was everyone. Like other common dorm events, it has been built up to us as a life-changing experience. Our dorm would rent a house and ski, bonding and kicking back at the same time. I had never skied, as the story would indicate, and I almost felt like a bad Canadian for that. Skiing looked decently difficult, though apparently everyone’s done it, so it wouldn’t be unassailable.
We arrived at the house on Friday night, where we discovered that the house really was meant for only about 20 people, while we planned to fit four times that number in there. It quickly turned into an epic house party, lasting first into the late, then the early hours.
I woke up at 7 the next morning, which is even earlier than I would wake up even here for classes. After being crowded out of the first shuttles to the mountain, several of my dormmates and I were left standing outside in the snow. Which was beautiful. I believe Tahoe was hit with some storm in the days before our arrival, and a light flurry continued through the beginning of our stay. As such, there was 1-2 meters (I know that’s a huge range. I’m a really bad estimator. It was a lot) of snow on the ground, in addition to the light layer slowly appearing out of the sky.
I felt like a kid, playing in the snow, while the “adults” stood patiently, talking to pass the time until the bus arrived. The snow wasn’t icy, and of great consistency for packing. I tossed a few snowballs around, then began on the big one.
The last I remember of rolling snow balls was at Hollywood, where large fields provided plentiful ground for us to turn a fistful of snow into ball half our height. Everyday, there would be several small groups working on pushing a ball. It never was a climatic ending. Sometimes it was too big to be worth pushing any further. Other times, it would just disappear by the time we returned for it later in the day.
I started my first snowball in about 10 years with a well-compacted baseball of snow, and pushed it along the ground. I cheated some to smooth out it constantly unspherical shape, but by the time the vans arrived to take us to the mountain, I had a ball to about my waist (again, no bets on estimation skills), and almost didn’t want to go skiing anymore. I wasn’t just tired; I just didn’t want to end a great experience.
Skiing was wholly unfamiliar. I bumbled my way through ski rentals, and thankfully found people to help me in my newest adventure. A huge shout-out to Kelly for getting me up and over the hump of beginner’s crap, then down the mountain. I am very gracious for her willingness to help me out in my complete inexperience. She managed to both almost get me killed and save my life, but I’ll forgive her for the former.
Skiing was fun. I can’t think of anything analogous to it, though I’m thinking about half biking, half ice skating. After strapping on the skis, I managed to drift backwards down the slight incline I was on, and run into some fence netting, both before I had actually gotten onto a path. The actual skiing part went much better. We went on the greens, of course, and I didn’t fall much at all, if I remember correctly. A very pleasant ride, though also somewhat short. Fast enough to be having fun, but slow enough to not panic. That was fun.
But I guess you need the scary edge to really have a good time with what is sometimes a racing sport. At the end of the day, we decided that instead of taking the gondola back down, it would be better to take “Mountain Run” down, a path all the way down the mountain and back to the village. Since everyone needed to get down at some point, we figured it wouldn’t be too bad.
A sign with a blue square quickly spoke otherwise, for my skill level. On the whole, it wasn’t too bad, as we took it fairly slowly. And I say on the whole, because there was one hill that significantly owned me. On it, I managed to wipe out four times. It was great. I would go down some, pick up too much speed, and without other apparent option, just fall down to stop. It doesn’t sound a whole lot of fun, but falling on that slope was great. Trying to get back into my skis wasn’t, but that was still cool, if somewhat scary.
I have nothing bad to say about skiing. I’m still no good. That one hill proved that much to me. Skiing seems fun for everyone, regardless of how good one is. Somewhat bitter I haven’t done it yet, but glad it happened now.
The trip was a great experience for everything. Having just gotten back to classes a week ago, it threw me fully into the awesome fun of being with a building of friends, all condensed into a now small house. I got in touch with a part of my Canadian roots, seeing snow again. I felt how I did years ago, playing in the snow. And I got to do that something I never did and had pined to, on those slopes around Lake Tahoe. And I’m not as behind on homework as I thought I was. What a great trip.
Part 4 of my detective story is now posted. Hopefully, it’s exciting enough to keep you reading?