Bambi on Ice

Last year I was freshman, eager to make a name for myself on the slopes. I am not a super confident person in general but when it comes to skiing, I am pretty confident I can get down just about anything if it doesn’t include a cliff (that’s too high.) I had been looking forward to skiing with a bunch of my guy friends and I was ready to prove myself. There was only a slight dilemma: I was born and raised on the west coast. My dad is a ski patrol and I have never skied anywhere else besides Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in Tahoe, and a few mountains in Utah. Long story short I have never skied ice. Even when it was just hard packed snow there was enough mountain to avoid it, and ski down another run with a couple more inches of snow. In addition I love to ski moguls and through skinny chutes, and have never been one for seeing how fast I can go.

My first day on the east coast I had joined a Colby alpine racer, a Mainer who grew up on the ski team, and a Vermonter who shreds down the hill in a tuck the whole way. This is where my problems started. To make matters worse it hadn’t snowed in a couple weeks. I got off the first chairlift of the season and screeched across the ice for a few yards. We got down the first part, which was right on the ridge, so it was wind-blown with even fewer amounts of snow coverage. I thought this was the worst of it until the boys proceeded to zoom ahead, racing one another to the bottom. That left me, scared senseless, on the top of the hill, staring down at the thick blue sheet easterners call snow.

First off, I want to say I don’t mean to sound like a snow snob. If I knew how to ski ice I would do it, but the fact I never really learned did not make this trip pleasurable. Now I could be brave and try my best to carve down the slopes but being with some of the fastest guys on the mountain it was kind of a lost cause and a tad intimidating.

I skied with them the rest of the day, and when I thought I had finally got the hang of it (which meant I ditched the trying to look graceful and just go fast and fearless) I talked to my friend afterwards and he said I “looked like Bambi on ice.”

So I was in a predicament. I had bought the season pass, gone one day, and hated it. My confidence super low, and my rides out the door (no one would want to ski with me ever again I thought to myself) I decided to hang up the helmet.

I did end up going one more half day when it had snowed 6 inches the night before and my friend took me into the backcountry. It was amazing and I felt at home once again. Unfortunately those days are more rare than I hoped and that was my last day of the season.

Now I ask you… Do I make myself a better skier by battling the elements and being able to ski all terrains? Or do I stick to what I know best, and push myself in different ways back in the pow on the west coast?

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1 Response to Bambi on Ice

  1. Wall-E says:

    I also grew up skiing at Tahoe and although I haven’t been able to ski here yet because of sports, the idea of skiing on ice terrifies me. The few times I encountered ice at home weren’t particularly successful days for me on the mountain, but I found that just by working harder on my technique those days I became a much better skier, even when the conditions were perfect.

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