How I Learned I Am Not a Penguin

I learned something very important the other day.

Skiing sucks.

The Christmas season blew by me this season in a flurry of gift wrap, hugs, and wood chips.  I worked the majority of my Christmas break, so when I wasn’t working, I was shopping, wrapping, cleaning, and doing all the other wonderful things that adults have to do during the Christmas season that make you want to be a little kid again.  I got plenty of wonderful gifts, including a Kindle Fire, a sapphire necklace, a fair trade bag and shawl, a willow tree nativity scene, and four bags of lindt chocolate (everyone seems to know what I like).  Our family present this year was a day trip to Seven Springs, the local ski resort.  Mostly, this present was for my little brother, Lucas, because he got a snowboard for Christmas and there is nowhere he can go to try it out.  

I don’t really know what my dad was expecting, taking three people who have never skied before in their lives and strapping five foot long pieces of wood to their feet and telling them have at it.  As soon as we got outside and strapped our skis to our feet, me, my sister, and Lance were falling all over each other.  Just standing up had us sliding down the hill outside the resort.  To save money, my dad didn’t schedule any of us for lessons and instead just tried to instruct us himself.   He assured us that it would take only an hour or so to get used to the skis and then we would be having fun and doing great.  

This is how you are supposed to look when you are skiing: 

This is how I looked the whole day:  

It just wasn’t working.  I struggled trying to get myself onto the people movers that moved you back up the tiny baby hills, and then when I would try to ski down, I would get going too fast, couldn’t stop, and have to fall to save myself.  And skis are not very forgiving when it comes to standing back up after a fall.  Before you’ve even righted yourself, they are trying to go down the hill.  And you are sliding along on your butt behind them.  Lance did slightly worse than me as he is the most uncoordinated person I know, so at least I always had someone who was doing worse than me.  He, however, had a much better attitude about it and enjoyed it more than I did.  

Not to mention that skiing is a lot of work!  The boots are heavy, the skis are bulky and weird, and before long I was sweating like a pig.  Little kids who probably weren’t potty trained yet were doing better than I was.

Finally, we got good enough on the baby slope that we could make it to the bottom without falling down and my dad decided we were good enough to go on the first green trail.  We rode the lift up, which was a terrifying experience, and I immediately wiped out trying to get off the lift.  We started down the green trail, and I spent the whole way down trying to snow plow myself and keep myself from going out of control.  No one told me that at the end of the slope, all the trails funnel together onto a blue slope to exit.  

I took my skis off and walked down the mountain.  

There were ten-year olds speeding by me.  It was embarrassing.  I think my issue has to do with the speed of the skis.  I don’t care how many people tell me to snow plow, pizza, or whatever else they tell me to do.  It doesn’t make me in control.  And I don’t like not being in control of where and how fast my body is hurtling down a snowy hill.  So, when I would pick up speed and couldn’t slow down, I simply wiped out.  I don’t know if I wasn’t pushing hard enough into my skis (I have bruises all around my ankles from shoving them into the snow) or if it was because I wanted to go down the mountain at a crawl when you are supposed to be flying, but I just couldn’t get it.  That night I went home and couldn’t fall asleep because instead of having those annoying ‘falling’ dreams that jolt you out of a sleep, I had ‘flying down the mountain out of control’ dreams.  

A lot of little kids had these really neat ski leashes.  Their parents skied behind them and kept them from flying down the hill out of control.  I asked my dad if he would get me one of those, but he said that it would be embarrassing to ski behind his daughter who was old enough to go to the bar and order a drink.  However, I envied those kids.

It just wasn’t the great time that my dad intended it to be, at least for me.  I’m pretty sure if God intended for me to fly down the hill like a penguin, he would have either a) made me a penguin, or b) borne me with five foot long pieces of wood jutting from my feet.  Since he didn’t, I think I’ll be glad to stay on solid, non snowy ground.  I hope next years family present includes a horseback riding trip!


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