“Do you ski?”
That’s the first thing people asked me the minute they found out I was in Banff. At least, the non-skiers did. All the skiers asked, “How’s the snow?” and I can say that it’s stupendous, plentiful, and happening right now. As I write this, snow is falling outside my window.
And yes, I ski.
Let me qualify that: On the great sliding ski spectrum of novice to eager death-seekers, I fall somewhere in between “Green’s a nice color” and “Moguls hurt.”
Judging one’s own skill level on skis is tough. I like to ski, I know that much. There is nothing quite like flying downhill at inhuman speeds amid a snow-kissed panorama. In that way, skiing can be utterly soul-lifting.
My technique is less inspiring: I go down and I try not to crash. I’m OK with getting bested by six-year-olds on the slopes—I ski because it’s terrific fun—but lately I’ve felt as if I need to stop dabbling.
So, full disclosure, I present you with my past ski experience:
- 1983 Ahead of the snowboarding trend, I stand on a sled and try to ride down the tallest (and only) hill in my small Ohio town. My 30-foot run proves to be exuberant and I begin to bemoan winter without mountains.
- 1992 I attend a 10-day ski school in the French Alps. On my last day, I wipe out ungracefully, sparking a chain reaction that ends with a dozen skiers on their backs and my ski instructor in the hospital.
- 1997-8 As a college student, I scrape and save to buy half-day lift tickets to Utah’s big ski resorts. I discover the joy of powder.
- 2005 The last time I wore a pair of skis: a December blizzard in the Rockies where they closed all the roads but left the lift running. Realized that skiing in a snowstorm is awesome.
- 2011 Back in my beloved Canada, I’m ready to hit the slopes. I spend 30 minutes in a ski shop checking out my rental gear. The man behind the counter looks at me and asks, “How well do you ski?”
And so I tell him.