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Monday, March 1, 2010

Lindsey Vonn Sighting at Massanutten

Anne and I were invited to spend a weekend at Massanutten with some friends. We rented a house near the ski lodge named the Gobbler's Roost. It has been years since I've skied and this was to be the first time for Anne. I can't resist an opportunity to reflect on the weekend, even if it comes at the expense of my wife...sorry Honey, I love you. :-)

This was my first trip to the slopes at Massanutten, so to be honest I didn't know the best place for Anne get a quick lesson. After finding the kiddie area, Anne met the best looking, most physically fit trainer on the know...ME. HA HA HA it's my story! After showing her how to snap into the skis we began with a quick lesson on snow plowing. Those of you who ski a lot now have a better idea how long it has been since I've been on skis. The term "snow plow" is no longer used...the new young person hip version is referred to as pizza slice.

Anne is now equipped to enjoy her first slop in the practice area. Some of you can still remember how a 1 degree slope over 100 feet can leave one terrified. Off she goes with a few screams, down the slope and partially up the strategically placed snow mound at the end of the practice area. So far so good. We make it over to the conveyor belt which will return us to the "top" of the practice area. Keep in mind, all one must do is push ones self onto the belt and stand up straight. I lead by example and show Anne how to board the belt. She follows and soon there are problems. I look back and see a scene that could only be described as a game of twister gone bad. Her skis are still moving, yet one pole is on the deck and her other hand is holding the support rail which is not moving. Down she goes and the attendant stops the belt. Anne struggles to get up and I snap out of my skis to assist.

Between me and the attendant, we get her back on her feet. The belt begins again and we continue to the top without additional embarrassment. After perfecting the art of the "pizza slice" I feel she is ready for the beginner slope. A whole new set of problem are introduced here. Ski lift entry, ski lift exit, larger slopes and more targets to name a few. Well the lift entry went well but the exit...not so good. Down she goes again and still to this day some believe I should have asked the attendant to stop or slow the lift down at the top...jury is still out on that one.

We prepare to descend the beginner slope together. I start down the hill and stop to watch her descend the first little slope. It is at this moment that I see none other than the Olympic Gold metal winner, Lindsey Vonn. Somehow my wife has disappeared. Where did she go? What has happened to her and everything I have been working on teaching her over the past hour? You know like control, pizza slice, snow plow, how to fall gracefully, etc.

Then is dawns on me...that wasn't Lindsey, that was my wife. What the "#&*@" is she doing? Why are both her skis parallel and pointed straight down the hill? Why is she still standing? Why is she picking up speed? Holy $hi^, why is she turning down that slope? At this moment, I call upon my inner strength and summons the Bodie Miller in me. I'm yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs. Just fall, sit down and slide it out... To no avail, she continues to steam down the hill. She is on her own at this point as she quickly approaches the big orange sign that reads "SLOW." Suddenly, I believe she realizes that there is no other way out of this devilish ride than to wipe out. And that she does... Skis, poles and powder are flying everywhere and I just know that she had killed herself and now I'm going to have to explain this one to our daughters. I expect to find her crying and holding some part of her body that is reeling in pain.

I approach and find her stunned but okay. I ask her what the heck she was thinking. Why had she suddenly forgotten everything we practiced. All she could say is she was channeling her inner Lindsey Vonn. And yes folks, it was said with a smile.

We enjoyed the rest of the night and she skied most of the next day as well. I'm not sure if she will ever admit it, but I think she had the time of her life. I think she enjoyed doing something physical in the outdoors. Next step is to get her to like fishing, but I'll take this little victory for now.

Til Next Tide,

Capt. Ralph

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