When I was in high school, me and a bus-load of kids went up to Utah to go skiing for an overnight trip. I didn’t know how to ski. I’d never been on a pair of skis before. Nobody that I knew was going on the trip but I went anyway.
I managed to get my skis on with the help of the Instructor. He pointed me in the direction of the “bunny slope” and taught me how to snowplow. The bunny slope is barely a hill and all the little kids hang out there. When you snowplow, you put the tips of your skis together and you eventually come to a stop. I practiced skiing and snowplowing on the bunny slope. After a while, I figured I knew enough about skiing and headed for the lift. The lift was fun. My feet were dangling high above the ground as I rode up the mountain like a ride at Disneyland. At the end of the lift, I jumped off just like I’d seen everyone doing in front of me. I made if off the lift smoothly and didn’t fall.
Once, at the top of the mountain, I started my descent very slowly. I was doing pretty well for a while. I was enjoying my day on the slopes. The sun, the trees, the snow. What could be better. Right after the lift, the mountain wasn’t very steep so I wasn’t having any trouble skiing. Somewhere I took a wrong turn and ended up on the steep slope rather than the lesser slope which I had been headed for. I had gotten the trails mixed up. I didn’t realize my mistake until I was there, on the steep slope, looking down an almost vertical mountain. I was frightened and I thought I’d be on that mountain the rest of the day. I didn’t know what to do so I just stood there, sideways on the slope, with my ski poles in the ground securing me to the mountain. I didn’t know how to get down.
Soon, a boy from my class came skiing down the slope. He stopped and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was trying to get down off the mountain but I didn’t know how to ski. He told me to get behind him and hold on tight around his waist. I put my skis in between his skis, like he told me to, and he said in a firm voice: “Whatever you do, don’t cross you tips.” When we were in position, we headed down the mountain, slalom. You know, where you zigzag down the slope. I focused really hard on not crossing my tips, watching them the entire time. We were going really fast and the trip down the mountain took forever. I knew that if I crossed my tips, we would break bones or die. It seemed to take forever, but eventually we made it to the bottom. I had done as I was told and the boy was the hero of the day. For those of you that don’t ski, this story may not have much meaning. For those of you that do, I’m sure you can appreciate how dangerous it was for that boy to bring me off the mountain.
I didn’t go up the slope again. Ever. I just hung out at the lodge the rest of the trip. Not only did I learn that I didn’t like skiing, I learned that one person cared enough about me to help me out of a serious bind. A boy I had never met before. A boy I went on to date for 4 years. I’m not sure why I went on that ski trip, but I found romance waiting at the end of it.