Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ski Day

I don't remember putting on skis for the first time. As long as I can remember, I had my own ice skates and my own cross-country and downhill skis and boots. I had every kind of winter outwear imaginable, from gators to balaklavas. But that was all a long, long time ago. And while you can never take the Northern out of a girl, you can't do much when there just isn't a whole lot of snow in the South. (Not, by the way, that I'd trade the glorious weather in Tennessee for that of upstate New York, except for maybe 1 month of pure winter.)

 But this year we decided to splurge and do four weeks of skiing at Ober Gatlinburg, our local downhill ski resort. (Cross-country skiing just does not exist here.) Jesse did this special package for homeschoolers for 3 or 4 years when he was in middle- and high-school; but Randy, Laurel, and Duncan had never been skiing.

The three of them started right off with beginner lessons, leaving me to face the slopes by myself. I was a pretty decent skier at one time, but it has been nearly 25 years since I last skied. I was a bit anxious, to say the least.

But it's true: it really is just like riding a bike. As soon as my boots clicked into the skis, I remembered. My body knew just what to do. I didn't fall off the chair lift, didn't crash into any other skiers, didn't even fall. I swooshed down to the bottom like I'd been doing this for all my life.

Lucky for my kids, two of their best friends also signed up for the program. They all had a great time; I'm hoping this will give them the skiing bug. I'm picturing a future trip to New Hampshire or Idaho, a cozy cabin week with roasting fires and thick, fluffy snow.

The snow was actually much nicer than I was expecting. There were no icy patches, and the view from the top? Fabulous. What's better than seeing the Smokies spread out all around you?

The boys wanted to go on the easy slope with me after their hour-long lesson on the bunny slope. They had a bit of a mishap coming off the chairlift but they did great actually skiing. Duncan did plow into me at one point, and we both took a tumble. But that's all a part of it!

The best part about skiing in Tennessee? The weather! We were actually sweating with our coats and gloves on. I can't even reconcile that do skiing in New York, when you're so cold you actually think you might have frostbite for real. We're looking forward to doing it again next weekend!


  1. This looks like so much fun, but I would never attempt it. I will just enjoy going through your lens.

  2. Sounds like so much fun skiing there!
    Great pics.

  3. My 14 yo son starts his homeschool ski club this Friday. It was supposed to be last Friday, but brrr. It was way too cold! He loves it and he has 10 other kids that he knows for company.

    Even though I grew up in New England (high school in NH and college in ME), I didn't really learn to ski until I moved to CT. I'm afraid I would break something if I skied now. I got rid of my downhill skis, but still have and enjoy my XC ones.

    Looks like you had a great time and the scenery is stunning!

  4. As the first Cummins' downhill skier, I DO remember putting on my first downhills and my first plunge down the hill. I had been a wrestler but when I found out there was a ski club! That was it for me! No more wrestling. So, off down the slopes. My first trip was to Bristol south of Rochester. I remember how strange it was going up the ski lift, skis dangling feeling like they would fall off, and then, getting off of a moving chairlift, how scary! Inevitably, the first time you try to get off the skis come off and they have to stop the whole long lift with everyone looking at you. Of course, I eventually got off and headed down an intermediate slope. NO, I never took lessons, never had the slightest patience with that. So, off I went pretty much straight down, when a curve finally came up I went straight still, through the fence and was literally dangling over an enormous drop off. I pulled with my arms back up through the fence, pulling myself backwards and out the whole, resituated myself around the turn and then finished my straight run. I had a story! I was hooked! Man, I could say, my first time down and I crash through a fence and nearly over a cliff. I never looked back, never took a lesson, never would, never will. After that, I later took up the superior cross country skiing and was the second or third in that in the family behind Dad, and I guess Mom. I never liked the earliest rendition with the waxes and stuff, but loved the later non-wax skis. I haven't skied again for about 25 years, too expensive and my wife won't, but I would certainly love to downhill again. And, Sarah is correct, no X Country in TN.


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