You know, it’s one thing to have Denisa be better at me when it comes to skiing. She’s been skiing much more than I have. But you know those kids you always would see out on the slopes? The ones with no poles, who were about two apples tall and zip zooming around like a flock of birds? Those are my kids now. Three or four years of skiing lessons will do that for them. Go figure.
One of the perks of living here in Maine is that we have a great local ski hill. It doesn’t cost much to ski there–in fact, they regularly have free skiing nights at this hill as well as others in the area. Plus, you can get ski lessons through the school programs for really cheap. Ten lessons plus lift tickets for something like $90 total. I don’t know how much it costs in Utah, but I’m pretty sure it’s not $90. (Anyone want to correct me?) In any case, TRC has been skiing since we got here (age 4), and DC has been skiing since she could stand, more or less (age 2). They love it. TRC goes over every jump he can find or improvise, and DC likes to go straight down the mountain, flapping her arms slowly (since she has no poles to worry about). She’s pretending to be a butterfly, she told me.
Since Denisa is pregnant, I’m the only adult in the family who’s up for skiing this year. And I hadn’t been in two years, since I broke my elbow last go ’round. (An injury that still hurts, actually. I’m hoping rowing will strengthen the arm and fix some of that.) In any case, last Friday was free-ski night at Titcomb, and the kids really wanted to ski more, and I didn’t want to be the one to stand in the way of that, so I went with them.
This was the first time I have really felt like an old fuddy duddy. We tackled the pony lift first. I wanted to be sure I could actually still make it down a hill in one piece before I moved on to the T-bar. And I made it up and down with little problem, but it was fairly stressful. I didn’t want to be That Guy. The one who fell down on the pony lift during free ski night. The one who made the whole lift stop while someone could rescue him as he lay there like a wounded turtle. And I wasn’t, so bully for that.
But we got to the top, and TRC and DC just zoomed around wherever they pleased, and I tottered, drunkenly weaving my way to the bottom with all the grace of Steve Urkel on Dancing with the Stars. (I’m dating myself with that pop culture reference, too.) TRC was very encouraging. “You’re doing great, Dad. That’s very impressive. Look how much you’ve learned already!”
So we moved on to the T-bar. Where the stakes are even higher. It’s not just learners on the T-bar, after all. You’re expected to have at least some of your act together. Adults are watching you. Don’t fall down. Don’t fall down. Don’t fall down.
I made it through the whole evening on my feet. Didn’t fall down once. I did realize it’s harder to ski with glasses. My peripheral vision is shot with them on, and the concern about falling down and losing them was that much greater. Being blind on the slopes would have been a Very Bad Thing.
After 6 or 7 runs, my legs were very tired, and we called it a day. Usually TRC gets at least 10 or 12 runs done in less than two hours. But the kids were just happy that I’d been there to let them ski. I was happy for them, although I don’t think I had nearly as much fun as they did. It was a blast to see them have fun, but I was too worried about staying upright to really say I enjoyed the evening.
This is what it feels like to get old. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not tottering yet, but for a bit there, I had a very clear vision of what things will be like down the road. Getting old is having a series of those visions. They begin to occur more and more, until you get to the point where you’re used to them, and they no longer alarm you. So for now, I guess it’s good to be alarmed. In any case, I don’t know if I’ll get out again this year, but for now, at least I had a good time with my kids.