My son is home from college and went skiing with his friends this week, and it reminded me of the first time I went skiing at 16. For my birthday, I wanted my parents and my brothers and sisters to go with me skiing…all of us for the first time. Bad idea. When you first go, go with someone who knows what they’re doing and can help you. Don’t pick a friend who has never skied before just to be with someone at the same level, because it’ll be like the blind leading the blind and you’ll both die. Or at least wind up with serious injuries. First you put on the boots you rent and then try to learn how to walk without the use of your ankles. It’s a very awkward, forward lunging process that’s super uncooperative and ugly while it uses thigh muscles you didn’t know you had. Then you put on these super long, super slippery skis that have a mind of their own. The lift worker had to help me line up with the chair in order to get on it before it took me out. I knew right then I was in over my head. Nobody told me it’s very important not to cross your skis, so when you get off the lift you have to ski right off the bat to get out of the way….but of course I accidentally crossed my skis and fell in a pile right in front of the chair. If you’ve never fallen with skis on, it’s like you’re suddenly a newborn foal trying to stand for the first time. Again, the lack of being able to use your ankles is quite debilitating in this process. The lift operator had to shut the lift down because I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the way. After you’re up, they start you on a bunny slope, and I’m not sure why it’s called that because there’s nothing cute and fluffy about it. It’s still an extremely tall, very steep vertical cliff that’s basically a containment area for the beginners. I finally got lined up to go down the mountain and I knew to swoosh right and left to slow my descent down the hill, but I only got in one swoosh before I started a straight line at hyper speed down the hill. Turns out I actually had no idea how to slow down. The mountain is littered with beginners who have wiped out, so I start yelling, “LOOK OUT!” as loud as I can to them. The ones who had fallen and snapped their skis off were able to barrel roll out of my way, but the ones still with their skis on were scooching out of the way the best as they awkwardly could. I don’t know how fast I was actually going, but whatever speed you attain that makes it difficult to breathe was the point I reached. I started to near the end of the cliff and noticed a rope and the line of beginner skiers were there waiting to board the lift, and I was heading right for them. Again, I’m screaming, “LOOK OUT!!” A couple of the people in line knew how to ski and easily got out of the way, but there was a group of sitting ducks that had faces as panicked as mine, and they were wiggling the best they could but didn’t know how to escape. To this day I feel so bad; I took out the rope and 4 innocent people! Just mowed them right down like bowling pins. They took it well, they weren’t too mad surprisingly…which leads me to believe they perhaps had done the same thing? So that was my first ski trip and 16th Birthday, leaving with cuts and bruises and a whole lot of guilt! Don’t let my story scare you though, I hope you are able to get out and hit the slopes this year!! It is a good time!