Today we joined a North Toronto Ski Club day trip to Blue Mountain, with an apres event at Avalanche night club. This meant getting out of bed in the dark at 06:00, staggering into clothing (which Dan had neatly laid out yesterday afternoon), forcing down porridge and scrambled eggs, before stumbling into the subway up to York Mills station. Other similarly clad zombies were on the train, one man lugging a long body bag behind him. Ski bags look a lot like body bags for tall people. We met Anna and Jenny at raced to get on the quiet bus, not the party bus. I slept.
At the mountain there was a quick diaspora from the bus. All the competent skiers ran off, not to be seen again. Us 5 beginners who had to hire stuff were standing bewildered and the bus captain instructed us to go to the rentals. We were due for our lesson at 10:15. The bus had left half an hour late, so by the time we found the rentals, which was busy, rented everything and got found by the instructors it was 10:30. I was in awe of the clips on my boots. Olga, one of the beginners, was walking around holding her boots, looking for the skis. “You might want to try those on first,” I explained. She didn’t quite get it. I had no idea what I was doing either but it made sense to perhaps fit the boot before walking to the next clearly labelled step in the hiring of equipment process.
At the classes Dan and I were separated, seeing as he was already Level 2 after last week’s trip. My instructor, Andrew, a large guy with a ginger beard told me not to worry, “We’ll have you over there by the end of the day”. He pointed toward the chair lift. He had got me to practice a demi plie stance and plowing. We were waiting for the 4 girls in my class to catch up. Jenny had to get her skis re-aligned. Olga had got lost on the way. 2 others appeared half an hour later. By then I was left to myself practicing plowing and slow turns, which I’d accidentally demonstrated I could do when I favoured pushing out with my left leg. Dan’s class were doing drills, walking sideways up the mountain. My instructor is a fan of the “new” way of teaching: the throw them in the water and hope they swim approach. I was happy with that.
We ate lunch together. The burger and chips that I ate left me nauseated. Mountain Dew was not the best hydration. I was actually hot – at first I took off my ski jacket and my t-shirt. Nobody else seemed to want to ski in a singlet but I was sweating! After a few more runs practising turns and keeping the skis parallel we ventured toward the chair lift. The next slope had some terrifyingly steep descents. I’ve only ever skied once before, when I was so anxious about breaking a bone before a dance performance season that I didn’t relax and enjoy the exercise in shifting weight.
By 15:00 the drizzle had become heavy and our jackets and pants were beginning to get soaked through. I did my last few runs, and on my last got distracted by imagining my tibia and fibula twisting into spiral fractures, with fracture fragments breaking through the skin. I failed to keep my nice turns and momentum going sideways along the hill and was hurtling almost straight down the slope, at a speed that felt like it would break the sound barrier. Ahead of me at the end were children. I leaned toward the building and ice bank at the start of the magic carpet. I had started to plow to stop but nowhere near enough and ended up embedded on my skis up into the mound of snow, and the building. My thighs were cramping from the tension. It was great.
We ate dinner at the Irish pub in the village. I had fish and chips which weren’t that great. We moved to somewhere else for hot chocolate, then went back to Anna and Jenny’s hotel (they’ve made a weekend of the trip and have stayed overnight) to watch the U.S. figure skating. A lot of plucked eyebrows and so much lycra.
I hope to be able to walk tomorrow.