Friday, December 26, 2008

What goes up must come down

Merry Christmas! I've been out of the bloggers loop for most of December, not due to lack of inspiration but more to lack of sleep and other complications. So much for my goal of continuing three posts per week.

Katie has been here since last Saturday and we've really been having a great time. It makes me miss her even more when she's gone. Her freind Crystal stayed with us on Monday and Tuesday. We had intended to drop her off on Tuesday but the interstate was closed because of snow and ice. She ended up taking the train back down to Albuquerque on Christmas eve.

We went to the Sipapu ski lodge for Christmas eve and Christmas day. We had a white Christmas, with snow falling most of yesterday along with that ridiculous mountain wind that never seems to stop. The big highlight of Christmas was snowboarding lessons and an attempt on the mountain.

Katie and I got our lift tickets and were fitted for boots and boards by some very patient employees and waited for our lesson outside in the snow. Our instructor, a twenty-something guy with cheekbones that could cut paper took us through the basics. Katie, of course, picked it up right away while I spent a good portion of the lesson on my ass. This theme repeated itself through the day.

We took a break for lunch and naps and went back to it. The beginners slope was set to one side of the mountain, obscured by a line of trees. The lift that served that slope was an old-fashioned platter lift. Basically, it's a disk about 8 inches across attached to a single post that drags its victims about 200 meters up the mountain. The platter is spring loaded and is not meant to be sat on. The skier/snowboarder places the platter between their legs and holds onto the post for dear life while heading up the slope.

So, up I went. Katie didn't want to snowboard after lunch so her job was to stand at the bottom of the lift, take pictures and taunt me. I attempted the lift a half dozen times with no success. The farthest I traveled was about 20 yards. Did I mention that one needs to be strapped into their skis or snowboard and be well balanced when riding the lift? After the 6th attempt at the lift and landing square on my tailbone I decided to give it a rest. When I returned to the base of the lift in humiliation I was informed that Katie, either out a well develope sense of competitiveness or out of the shame of watching her "old" mom try to go up the hill while she stayed safely at the bottom, had gone to retrieve her board. She did some practice runs down the lesson hill and came to join me on the lift of doom

I was completely determined that I was not going to be defeated. I attached the safety leash and binding of my rented snowboard and hopped up to the lift. I clung to it with the ferocity of a person clinging to the side of a cliff. For three quarters of the ride I stayed more or less up right but lost my balance about 20 meters from the top. I decided I'd be damned before I'd let go and made the rest of the trip on my backside. Katie joined me about three minutes later. That's when we both realized that Sir Edmond Hillary was right; "Its the getting down part that is the trick".

We had a moment of panic. In front of us stretched the intermediate practice slope and to the right was the beginners slope. Katie opted for the intermediate slope and used her snowboard as a sled. I opted for the beginners slope. Now when I think of "beginner" it is a nice gentle slope with no real turns. Something easy. This was not the case here. The beginners' slope was just as steep as the intermediate side and had the added bonus of a cliff on the right side that dropped through the trees into the river below. It must have taken me a good 15-20 minutes to reach the bottom, most of that time on my rear. The same people passed me three times, included an 8 year old boy shushing along who asked if I was ok. Damn kid.

That was the end of our snowboarding adventure. Neither of us were willing to fight the lift and risk life and limb getting back down again. We packed up our things and came home. We'll probably try it again after our aching muscles have recovered but it won't be anytime soon.

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