throwing myself repeatedly against a mountain, aka skiing

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope you had a nice long weekend, compliments of our presidents.  I’m still rocking the jury duty train and actually have the enjoyment of saying, “Yay!  It’s a weekend!” like the rest of you.  Planned long, long ago (as you need to do with nursing schedules), a bunch of nurses from my unit headed up to Vermont to celebrate one of our birthdays.  Her fiance’s family has an awesome house up in Vermont, so we headed up on Friday to get the party started.

I arrived a little bit later as I needed to wait for jury duty to end (only a half day on Friday, I’m convinced they’re never in court)…I rented a car and drove myself on the 3.5-ish hour journey.  Success!  Friday evening was spent hanging out around the fireplace with some pizza and beverages…snowy background of Vermont out the window.  I like it.

We woke up early (it’s all relative, we’re night shift nurses…) Saturday morning to get a head start on the day.  Stephenie made sure everyone had proper snow attire…I don’t even own a winter coat that is not a peacoat, so my plan was to layer up on running attire and then wear a fleece on top.  Luckily she decided that would not due, and she found a men’s small winter coat for me to wear.  It was still giant on me, but I’m glad I had it.  On the bottom, I wore my Brooks Utopia Thermal pants that I accidently bought…thought I was buying the tights but got the pants instead.  I liked them so I kept them, and they kept me nice and toasty (and dry!) on the slopes.

Anyway, back to the slopes.  We drove over the Stratton with a group of about twelve of us, varying degrees of skiing skill amongst us.  The last (and only) time I skied was my freshman year of college when the basketball team headed to Denver for the first round of the NCAA tournament.  The pep band went a long, and on a day off, we took a day trip to Breckenridge to ski.  I had no idea what I was doing, but got a small lesson and eventually made it down a blue slope.  (And by “made it down,” I mean I mainly toppled down the slope.)

But it was fun and I said I’d try it again if ever given the opportunity, even after I developed a ridiculously huge bruise.  Moving on.

We got to Stratton and purchased our lift tickets for the day ($$$) and skis/boots/helmets ($$).  Jokes flew about not getting subdural hematomas from hitting our heads, as only a large group of nurses could find funny.  After trying on the boots, we headed outside to pick up our skis, and I soon realized that walking around in ski boots is about the same as walking around in heels, and I am not good at either of them.

photo (42) Whether I belong up there is definitely debatable.

Once everyone was gathered with equipment in hand, it was time to get on the slopes.  The lifts carried six people at a time, so we lined up and I got last minute instructions on how to get on the lift.  (To summarize:  You just sit on it.  Crazy, I know.)  Now, fun fact:  I am terrified of heights (or, moreso, terrified of falling), so these lifts don’t suit me well and I’m pretty sure I yelped a few times on the way up.  Then, we had to get off the lift.  With a few more last minute instructions (Longer summary:  Keep the tips of your skis up, let the lift push you off), we got off the lift and I promptly fell over.

Foreshadowing the fact that it’s going to be a long, long day.

There was no bunny hill (WHY IS THERE NOT A BUNNY HILL???), so we headed down the green slope to start.  Stephenie used to give ski lessons to little kids, so she offered her services too us.  Poor Stephenie, let me tell you.  The first little slope to go down was actually quite steep, and I had yet to get the hang of it.  It basically went like this:  Ski straight, realize I need to turn, attempt to turn, freak out, sit back, fall over.  Rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

At that point I thought this was a terrible idea.  I got some more pointers to make sure my shins were against the front of the boots and to not sit back, as I apparently was assuming the chair pose (in yoga…) and that would make me fall over.  I got the idea of it, but had a lot of trouble putting it into practice.  Plenty of time was spent sliding nearly on my butt into the trees on the side, then coming backward down the hill before I fell onto my side.


photo (44) Mountain picture because this is getting wordy.

I eventually got the hang of it and could go back and forth a few times before falling over.  The entire time, I kept saying to myself, “Okay, pizza pizza pizza (how you slow down), STAND UP STAND UP STAND UP” when I turned.  It worked, but people, especially small children, were zooming by me all the time which didn’t help but add to my nervousness.  The rest of the group lapped me at some point, but I finally made it down the mountain.

Once I made it down, I didn’t see anyone else in the group, so I pulled up my big girl pants and got back in line for the lift.  If I died no one would know, but at least I’d have a good story.  The other five guys on the lift seemed like serious snowboarders, as one had a camera on his helmet.  I thought about jokingly asking them if they had any tips about getting off the lift, but then they started talking about smoking random substances soooo I kept to myself.  And managed to get off the lift without falling.  VICTORY.

For the sake of familiarity, I headed back down the same slope I was on before.  To put into perspective just how bad that first run was, it took nearly two hours to get down and about an hour and a half to reach this giant rock this.  On the second time down, I reached the giant rock thing in about half an hour and thought, “Oh, this isn’t nearly as long as I remember it being.”  Yep, I’m not so good at this.  I survived the run down by myself and patted myself on the back for getting back up there by myself.  Win.

At this point, we broke for a much needed lunch break where I learned that I basically look like a little kid on skis with my little legs, giant ski jacket, and a helmet that never wanted to stay straight on my head.  Unfortunately, all the little kids definitely skied better than I did.  Oops.

Post-lunch, we saddled back up (that makes no sense, go with it, please) and headed to another lift where I stuck with one of the other nurses who was about at my ski level.  There was a catastrophic wipe out as basically everyone fell off the lift at the same time.  Oops.  We all started out together, which made for a pretty picture:


Basically, everyone quickly left us, which left Magda and me to conquer the mountain ourselves.  This was supposed to be a flatter slope, but it was more or less a bunch of steep slopes connected by flat areas.  We did a lot of side stepping down the steep slopes, and I may or may not have helped Magda out of her skis a few times.  Buddy system, everyone.


We finally made it down and met up with some of the group who I believe went down twice in the time it took us to go down once.  IT’S NOT A RACE, RIGHT?  Right….maybe.

Anyway, one of the other nurses and I decided to head out for one last run, so we went back to my familiar green slope from the morning.  This time was much, much harder than before as my muscles were getting tired and the slopes were getting icy.  It wasn’t easy (not that it ever was…), and I was grateful to be done after that run because it was fall after fall.  Overall, I was proud of all of us for trying and happy with myself for figuring it out.

The first thing we did when we got back to the house was jump in the hot tub…something I’m sure my body appreciated.  We headed out to dinner and celebrated Stephenie’s big birthday before heading back on Sunday.  It was crazy cold and windy on Sunday, so I’m glad we weren’t out and skiing!

Once I got back, I gchatted with Betsy, and we had this amazing conversation:


That was it.  Ha.  I vacationed in Vermont (and New Hampshire!  And Maine, apparently) last summer and had a great time.  I hadn’t really been hiking or camping before, but it was a lot of fun and Burlington is a cute city for some hotel refuge post-camping on the beach (in the rain, not so fun).  I’d never been to Vermont in the winter, but it was a fun escape from the big city and I can see why Lauren raves about it all the time.  Any burn units in VT?  (Not ready to jump ship  on the city quite yet…)

my body post-skiing

OWWWW.  Serious muscle pain going on here.  My quads feel like they’re post-marathon in that I have moments where I don’t think they’re going to stabilize and hold me up.  The rest of my body just feels like it got repeated thrown against a mountain, which is more or less what happened on Saturday.  I surprisingly have no bruises despite all the falling, but my hips are super sore/tender as that’s where I tended to land.

I got out for a shake out run on Sunday and my legs felt pretty good although somewhat tired.  A longer-ish run (ten miles) on Monday and that felt pretty good although tiring.  Cardiovascularly I felt fine, but I could tell my legs were a little behind the rest of my body.


People asked if i had fun…which I did!  But I’m at the level where skiing requires A LOT of concentration, so it’s less pure enjoyment and more thinking, “pizza…pizza…..TURN TURN TURN.”  I’d definitely do it again with a patient friend/instructor.  And maybe a ski jacket of my own, ha.


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  1. says

    No one is worse than me ski’ing, I been twice, first time, I think I spent more time picking myself up than sking and the second time I ran into a tree and dislocated my shoulder, I havent been since

  2. says

    I love skiing! I was supposed to go this weekend, but sadly my skiing buddy got ill, so the plan got scrapped.

    The only tip I have is lean forward and press your shins to your boots. Contrary to what you would think would happen, leaning forward prevents you from falling down and helps slow you down as well.

  3. says

    I’ve skied but it’s been at least 25 years since the last time. I used to go with my dad when I was in high school. I wasn’t very good, but I did reach a level of proficiency where it became actually a lot of fun. Epsom salts bath for your soreness :) So nice you got a little getaway :)

  4. says

    My college had it’s own ski mountain and we used to go like everyday after class. It was nice because you could go for half a day because it was close by. The hardcore people bought season passes for all the mountains in the area and I think never went to class in the winter. At least I know there were several who skipped quite a few days…I was not that cool. Since then I have gone a handful of times my favorite being in France. I haven’t skied since I started running though…scared I will break a leg. Sounds like you had fun :)

  5. says

    skiing is way harder than it looks! i’ve only been a handful of times, and each time gets a little easier. muscle memory kind of takes over. but the first time was definitely difficult. sounds like you had a good time and were determined, though…i think that’s the key to getting the hang of things!

  6. says

    oh god. well, I’m glad you made it back in one piece!! I can’t believe it took two hours to get down the hill (slope?)! I would have just given up, accepted defeat and laid in the snow. I’ve been skiing once, in sixth grade. It was fun but I guess never really my thing. that is so much equipment and things to think about, like you say. Plus I hate being cold. I think I would like the “apres ski” stuff better? Glad you had a fun time!!

  7. says

    PIZZA!!!! that is what saved me when Andrew and Jason dragged me skiing…oh boy did I slow them down – except for a few times when they went on a different slope and I was left to myself on a hill I kind of “knew” the funniest parts were when I started to feel “confident” hahaha…reading this brought me back to that special time… we would make good ski buddies…

  8. says

    I went skiing for the first time last year, about a month before the Houston Marathon (in hindsight, not the best idea, what if I broke a leg?!). I didn’t realize just how much it would take out of me as far as running post-trip would go. I did my last long training run, 22 miles, two days after getting back and it was horrible. But the marathon still went well, so it was all good. But never again! haha

  9. Erika says

    No but MPLS has a burn unit!! AND BUNNY HILLS! :)

    When I was a little tater tot, about the age of 4, I was stuck in ski school. IE parents go enjoy skiing and entrust your little one with a college (/high school?) ski instructor handling a 20:1 ratio. Truthfully though it was a pretty good time, and I was a pretty good skier. EXCEPT the time when I didn’t get off the lift chair in time and WAILED the entire way down the hill in my little purple snow suit. (And then got off at the bottom, went in for lunch, and apparently forgot all about the trauma.) At least you didn’t do that!


  10. says

    I love skiing! I’ve been going for about 6 years, skiing 5-10 days a season. I’ve been slacking a bit this year though. My best advice to you would be fight your instincts. When you’re a beginner, your body wants to do the opposite of what it should do. Relax. Lean forward into the slope and let your skis do the work. By leaning forward, you are positioning your body weight over the skis sweet spot, and they become easier to control and maneuver. Good luck! Don’t give up!

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