To Ski or Not to Ski?

Let me tell you about that time I thought my husband was going to dump me, or frankly probably should have dumped me.

It was four years ago. Scott and I had only been dating for a few months, when my friends planned a ski trip to Wisp Ski Resort in Western Maryland. I had skied in high school a few times during annual field hockey ski trips and a school trip to Canada. However, it had been ten years since I had skied, and Scott had never hit the slopes. Together, Scott and I decided that it would be a fun weekend, and that I would “teach” him how to ski.

The weekend started out wonderfully, with lots of amazing junk food and many hilarious rounds of Cards Against Humanity that first night. However, things soon started to go downhill, no pun intended. When we arrived at the slopes on that first morning, my friends that were more experienced skiers decided to head off on more challenging courses while Scott and I searched for the bunny slopes. Of course, this was after we waited in endless lines for lift tickets, boots, and skis.

Every time I’d been skiing, the bunny slopes, were well, in an obvious, central location. This was not the case at Wisp. In all honesty, we (and by “we” I mean “I”) didn’t look that hard before asking someone who worked at the resort where they were. He pointed to the ski lift that was going up the hill. His English might not have been the best. In looking back, this was a moment to ask for a second opinion, but we pressed on and got on the ski lift.

We were joined on the lift by a middle-aged man. Boy was this unnamed man chatty. I can’t for the life of me remember what he was talking about but I did remember him talking my ear off as we headed up to what we thought would be the bunny slopes or at least an easy beginner’s course. One thing I DO remember, was him lifting the bar prematurely. My initial thought was fear because I’m afraid of heights and would have liked the bar to be down until we were closer to exiting, not 2/3s of the way up the hill.

The next thing I know, I looked to my left and Scott was midair getting of the ski lift at a spot where advanced skiers could get off to ski down more challenging courses. I was so stunned and froze, not knowing what to do. It happened so fast and Scott was off the lift. From below, I can still hear Scott’s voice yelling, “Lizzie, what do I do?” I wish I could tell you that I acted quickly and jumped off, or at least said something comforting, but I did neither of those things. I frantically yelled back, “I don’t know!!”

My humiliation was just beginning. I was beyond distraught and frazzled when the time came for me to get off the chair lift. In my defense, the chair was whipping around quickly, and I lost my balance and fell instead of having the graceful landing that even little kids without ski poles have.

Thank god my two best friends and their boyfriends were at the top of the hill. Yes, they witnessed my spill and the tears that followed with me screaming, “I HATE THIS!” Through a teary, mumbled explanation of what happened, my 3 friends who were more experienced skiers decided that they would ski to Scott and help him down the mountain. My best friend Kellie and I, the less experienced skiers, would go down the beginner’s course.

The whole way down, I was a wreck, worrying about Scott getting hurt and what his response would be when we reunited. Would he be hurt? Would he want to leave? Worst of all, would he dump me? I couldn’t get over how quickly a fun ski trip had escalated into a scary situation.

Although both athletic, my friend Kellie and I struggled the whole way down the mountain. She fell a few times and looked like Gumby on skis. Kelly would later take her skis off that day and walk down the mountain. I wasn’t a whole lot better having to do “pizza,” which is pointing your skis in a triangle formation to slow yourself down, the entire way down. It was so icy, and my left knee was killing me. I had torn my left and right ACLs playing lacrosse, once in high school and once in college, so I figured that it was related to that. I would soon learn that I was skiing with a torn meniscus and that the shooting pains was not normal.

Anyway, back to poor Scott. He was waiting for me when I got to the bottom of the mountain. I approached him slowly expecting the worst. And you know what? He was fine and not mad. He only fell one time going down an Intermediate course on his first time. This was great news. However, I started crying from the traumatizing experience. Scott laughed at me and was confused why I was upset. He laughed harder when I said that I thought he would dump me for what happened.

Me & Scott during a moment when I wasn’t crying.

With the excruciating pain in my knee, I was hoping Scott might have wanted to call it a day on skiing, but we ended up skiing down another time, grabbing lunch, then going for a few more runs, before calling it day. I will admit that I was in a dark place after lunch when it was time to head back out there. Sorry to the woman in the bathroom stall next to me, who heard me crying. It felt like shards of glass were floating around my knee, and I was just SO COLD. I was also super dehydrated from crying more in one day than I had most of my adulthood.

The important lesson here is that Scott and I survived our first ski trip. I also went to the doctor soon after and learned about my knee and got that fixed. While I decided to retire from skiing, funnily enough, Scott spent this weekend skiing in Colorado with his best friends from high school. I was extremely relieved that he made it down the hill without another crazy story like this longwinded one I just told you.

My husband Scott, skiing in Colorado.

However, Scott did have his own Lauren’s Law type of story on his flight home. His flight ended up getting delay several hours because of weather, and then a middle-aged, drunk man threw up on himself and his flight got delayed AGAIN because of that. Scott didn’t get home from his trip until 3:45 a.m. The real question is, can middle-aged men stop ruining ski trips???

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