What a wonderful state! I’m on an Alaskan high with all this sunshine lately. It’s light out when I go to sleep and when I wake up, so it seems like the midnight sun is already here. But the topic of this post is about WINTER!
During the winter, I was fortunate enough to have a lovely, crazy pup who needs constant exercise and interaction. I was able to spend a lot of time outside in the cold, learned how to dress properly for cold winter weather, and got really into downhill SKIING!
I started skiing last winter, but I honestly only went a couple times and it was cross country skiing, not downhill. I went skate skiing with a friend this past winter and when she told me I’d be a natural at downhill skiing, I began to nurture the idea. I was pretty against the idea initially because downhill skiing is an expensive hobby. You have to first buy lift tickets to use the lifts (a necessity unless you have skins for your skis), rent all the equipment (skis, boots, poles, helmet, etc), and have super warm layers that keep you warm when you’re shooting down a mountain through the wind and then sitting still on the long lift back up the mountain. Lift tickets are expensive, and so is renting! And I didn’t really want to get involved with such a pricey hobby. Blame my frugal roots.
However, curiosity killed the cat. And peer pressure made me go all in with skiing. Logan, and some of our friends all bought backcountry skis and began going downhill a lot. I abstained from skiing until mid winter, which now I regret. I wish I had started sooner, I could have gotten a lot better this winter.
I started off at a baby hill called Birch Hill. Even the black diamond routes on this hill are ridiculously easy, and I started on the bunny hill of the bunny hills. I had very little experience on actual skis, so just learning how to maneuver myself and how to move with long sticks attached to your feet was challenging. I also have a very hard time learning from my husband.
I’m not sure if anyone else has this issue, but for some reason, I’m not the best listener when it comes to learning new things, and he’s not the best at explaining things to me in the best way for me to understand. Needless to say, there were a few trips that were miserable. I couldn’t get it, and I got frustrated because I felt I was holding him up, and he got frustrated when I wouldn’t listen or understand, and I got frustrated because he got frustrated. Instead of learning the traditional ‘pizza turn and stop’ method where you turn both front ends of the skis together to slow down, I wanted to jump straight to learning alpine turns, where you use your hips more, and just turn the skis up or downhill to carve turns down the mountain. And after maybe three trips to Birch Hill, I GOT IT! That is, I got one turn down. I was able to flawlessly execute left turns down the mountain, and it was smooth and natural. As soon as I started to turn right, I couldn’t do it! For some reason I still don’t know, I just couldn’t turn right. This doesn’t do much good because you have to turn left and right to make it down the mountain…ya can’t just make flawless left turns the whole time.
The cool part about downhill skiing, for me at least, is that every time I went skiing, I got immensely better. I had my fair share of rough falls, but luckily I never got any serious injuries. When I was younger, this may have been a different story, but I’ve had enough broken bones for one lifetime, hopefully. The best day came when I gained enough courage and confidence to try a new ski hill, (a real mountain). A group of us went to a place called Skiland, the farthest north ski slope in the US! After skiing behind three guys who knew a lot more about skiing than me, I was able to observe my way to a better level. At the end of the day, I was skiing flawlessly down blue routes! (There’s green, blue, then black diamond, so blue is average-ish).
My ski season culminated with two days of solo skiing at the tail end of the winter season (in early April) where I had probably 15+ runs in two days. Repetition is key for me in gaining knowledge and experience. The last weekend the ski trails were open happened to be a weekend Logan was out of town for work and same with our friends I skied with this year. This was kind of a big deal for me to go alone. I’m new at skiing, and not that confident with my skills yet. I am infinitely more confident than I was at the beginning of the ski season, but I still have a long way to go.
A side note, to cut down on costs of downhill skiing, after my first ever trip to Birch Hill, I went to a used sporting equipment store and bought a decent used pair of skis with bindings and boots. After skiing a few times, they paid for themselves in the cost of renting! Plus, I got good use out of the skis and didn’t have to spend hundreds on a brand new set up. Although, at the end of the ski season, I wanted to buy a better ski setup…haha but that’s the best time to buy brand new! At the end of the season when everything goes on sale! Can’t wait until next winter!
This is me at the top of the bunny hill of the bunny hills.
Filled with excitement and anxiety on my ski day alone.