Skiing Makes Me Nervous

There are a few stories that Ed really likes to tell about me. One story is about Sunday mornings. According to him, I’m always running late and he is sitting in the car fuming, waiting for me to come outside. I think it’s a miracle that I get out the door at all, after dressing both the girls and myself. Plus, I have hair to blow dry and make-up to put on. He doesn’t.

Another one of his favorites is the time he took me skiing. He took me up to a hill that was a little steeper than he expected, and he wanted me to keep turning. I could turn right, but got stuck turning left. Then my fear of heights got the best of me and I started to cry. As I looked longingly at the top of the hill, Ed said, “You can’t walk back up to the top! The only way you can go is down.” While logically I knew this, having him say it didn’t make me feel any better! I eventually did ski to the bottom of that hill.

Before we got married, Ed would go on a yearly ski trip with his skiing buddies. After Lily was born, Ed went skiing on an overnight trip once, but soon after the ski trips stopped because everyone else was getting married and having kids as well. When Lily turned seven, he thought it was time to take her skiing for the first time. Emmy was still pretty young, so I stayed home with her and we had a special Mommy/Daughter day.

Skiing in the Midwest is always tricky. The weather has to be cold enough at night for the ski resorts to make snow. It’s not like we can drive up into the mountains where there really is natural snow, and many of the “mountains” are really just hills rising up out of farmland. We don’t have the money or the time to go skiing often, so our ski trip has become a once-a-year event. In 2013, Emmy and Lily both went for lessons. I went along to support Ed with both girls, but I didn’t do any skiing. I helped with the ski gear, watched the girls take lessons, and went into the lodge (which wasn’t very nice) to warm up. Last year, I had volunteered to help at a church event on the day Ed planned the ski trip, so he enlisted my brother to help out.

This year, Ed decided that this weekend would be the perfect time to go skiing. The weather would be above freezing, and yet we had had a lot of cold weather to build up the snow base. Plus, he has to start teaching a class on Saturday mornings in February, so now was the time to go.

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I was debating taking a lesson this time around, because while it was fun watching my kids ski, it’s only fun for so long. Ed casually threw a printout in my direction one evening. Taking a private lesson wasn’t that expensive.

I thought about my choices. I could be the mom who didn’t ski, and I could bring my book and sit in the lodge and read. That wouldn’t be so bad, especially if we ever go to a nice ski resort. Curling up in front of a roaring fireplace with a good book sounds perfect!

Emmy, however, was resisting the thought of skiing. She was nervous and didn’t want to try it again. Slowly we convinced her it would be fun, but I could tell she was anxious. Maybe if her scaredy-cat Mom took a lesson, she’d feel less anxious. Plus, everyone I saw skiing down that mountain DID look like they were having fun!

Emmy in pink, during her ski lesson
Emmy in pink, during her ski lesson

So I did it. I signed up for the private lesson. I was hoping for an “experienced” instructor. To be honest, I didn’t want a young skier that would make me nervous! And the person arranging lessons matched me up with an older gentleman named Dave. I told Dave, that I hadn’t skied in ten years and that I wasn’t very good. We started off slow with the tow rope hill, but then I moved to the ski lift and the easy hill pretty quickly. I fell a couple of times and Dave asked, “Why did you fall?” He wasn’t being mean; he wanted me to figure out what NOT to do on skis! I got up pretty quickly as well which isn’t an easy thing to do with skis on. But I think those workouts at the gym paid off as I pushed myself up off the ground. My instructor made me feel more confident in what I was doing. He told me to “dive toward safety” which meant to lean forward. I thought I did pretty well for an old lady of 45-almost-46 years old. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Ski Lift
I’m on the chair lift! Ed and Emmy are in front of me.

I’m still not thrilled with heights, or with going fast, but I actually heard the swish of snow under my skis. I turned right and left. I made my way down the mountain slowly and cautiously. I had fun, but to be honest, it wasn’t the skiing that made me happy. It was being up at the top of the “mountain” with my kids and watching them ski down, and then skiing down after them. It was taking the ski lift with my girls instead of being left at the lodge. It was showing my kids that it’s good to try something new, even though I was scared.

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do, but you did it anyway for your kids?





13 Replies to “Skiing Makes Me Nervous”

  1. I tried skiing once in high school and it was disastrous! I kept falling down and I hated it. When I returned my skis, the person asked why I had such long skis. Apparently I had been given the wrong size. I still haven’t tried again, though.
    What I have tried were certain foods I don’t like. I used to really not like sweet potatoes, but I felt like a hypocrite making my kids try them when I wouldn’t even eat them. Not I don’t love them, but I can tolerate them well enough in front of the kids. And it turns out, despite years of protests to my grandmother, I do actually like Brussels Sprout!
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    1. Oh, no! From my husband I’ve learned that long skis are really difficult to ski on. He owns a pair of long skis that he bought when he was going on week-long ski trips, but now that he doesn’t ski as often he wants a shorter pair of skis!

      Eating certain foods is a great example of doing something for your kids!

  2. Ginny…I was very proud of you on Saturday. I’m glad you had fun…because that is what it’s supposed to be. You’re right, too, that doing something even though you were afraid set a good example for the girls.

    1. Yes, he is a sweetie, especially since I made him tell me several times this weekend that he was proud of me. 😉 I didn’t include this in my post because it was getting too long, but I totally bailed on one ski lift at the end and fell on my rear…hard! Thank goodness snow is soft.

  3. ha.. yes. This sounds like me. Although we have yet to ski as a family, I only tried once, and it resulted in a mountain tantrum and me like.. sliding my way back to the lodge. Where I did homework by the fire and talked to cute boys. (I was only 15)

    I have never repeated it.
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  4. Good for you! I’ve only been skiing once (on that same “mountain”), and it just seemed like a lot of work to me. My brothers and I took group lessons on the training slope. I won’t even call it a bunny hill.

    Then I took the tow rope up that beginner hill and skied down once. I was just happy I didn’t fall. My other brothers didn’t even bother trying the beginner hill. I guess we’re not a skiing family!
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