Slipping and Sliding into 2017

Madison Rexroat

For the record, I am not at all athletic, and I haven’t seen a piece of gym equipment in months. So when I went with a group of friends to ski at Perfect North and ring in the new year, the toll it would take on my body (and self-confidence) was very much underestimated.

According to my research on how to ski that I did before we left (shout out to WikiHow), skiing is easier to learn than snowboarding, and being a winter sport novice, I went for the easiest option. We got off to a good start – we were given beaded necklaces to celebrate the holiday, there weren’t many people there to run into, and I had finally put on the incredibly confusing ski boots. But then we went outside.

You’d think skiing is easy since you can move your legs separately and you have two ski poles to hold on to. Wrong.

The first thing I discovered is that I have no upper arm strength whatsoever. The pace I achieved just getting to the practice hill could easily be beat by a 200-year-old tortoise that had a large lunch. But I kept pushing, and eventually I got there. 

I didn’t fall until I got to the top of the practice hill where you have to step off the moving ramp. After several attempts that left my knees giving me metaphorical side eye, I managed to get up and push myself down the hill. I made it down a good three feet until I fell again, ski poles flying into the air. I was rescued by a boy who looked about 10 and was kind enough to bring me the poles that I couldn’t even crawl to get myself (I later repaid the favor – sans skis – by retrieving the lost poles of a fallen skier).

Again, I got up and attempted to at least get down the practice hill without seriously injuring myself. The major problem was that we hadn’t taken a lesson first, and despite what WikiHow had told me, turning my skis into a V shape did not slow me down or stop me from plowing into my fellow skiers.

I toppled myself down the practice hill at least twice before deciding that skiing just wasn’t for me. Some of my friends felt the same way, so we went to trade in our skis for snowboards. I figured that even if snowboarding was harder to learn, at least it would be easier to get up after a wipe-out. 

In my opinion, snowboarding was significantly easier even though I still didn’t know how to stop (other than falling) and I still didn’t have the strength to get myself up without moving my feet. So not only do I not have the upper arm strength necessary to move around in skis, but I also don’t have the leg strength to stand up on a snowboard. I finally figured out how to twist my legs so that I could use my knees to get up (by this point the side eye had turned into an outright scowl).

Overall, I was much more successful at snowboarding, but that’s not saying much. Towards the end of the night, we all tried one of the big hills (well, the smallest and easiest big hill). Here’s how that experience went: I came, I saw, I fell. Any time I felt like I was going too fast, I slowed myself down by falling. The last time I tumbled, my body all but gave up on getting back on my feet. I sat in the snow for a good five minutes while skiers and snowboarders slid past and those on the ski lift judged me from above.

But as midnight struck and fireworks celebrated the new year, I picked myself up one last time and entered 2017 with hopeful excitement – and plenty of sore muscles.