Ski Skills

“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.


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  3. Nancy D. Brown
    San Francisco, California
    December 2, 2011, 5:25 pm

    Congratulations on making it to the top of your ice climb. Better you than me. I’ll stick to horseback riding!

  4. amy (@Skiergrrl)
    A ski slope in Colorado
    December 5, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Kudos to you for sliding right past “dabbling” and for heading straight to “taking the plunge.” As my grandma always said “go big or go home.” Hope to see you on a ski slope this season.