What can be better than body-slamming your friends at full force while flying down a mountain? Getting credit for it.
No, not “Yeah, bro!” kind of credit; I’m talking about college credit. That’s right, “Toy Story” fans, there’s a whole class devoted to falling with style, otherwise known as skiing.
Before I signed up for the class, knowing that I was a beginner skier, I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t be alone on the slippery slope that is slippery slopes. I used all my reserves of independence and self-respect to get on my knees and plead with people.
It’s always nice to have a good friend you can lean on, but it’s more important to have one you can crash into. After sweet-talking my housemate into joining me, I was ready for the hills.
Come the first day of skiing, I made a name for myself quickly. With everything, it’s important to make a lasting impression; I just always forget that it’s supposed to be a good one.
I put my lift ticket on incorrectly, which is to say, I didn’t put my lift ticket on. After sealing the two ends together before putting it on my coat, I looked helplessly at one of the instructors who gave me the great advice that “I better just hold onto it for the day.” His sigh and grimace said it all.
He loved me.
From there we were all herded into the rental area where we picked up our skis (or snowboards), helmets and boots. Before I could say, “Stop staring! Just because I’m wearing overall snowpants doesn’t make you cooler than me,” we were out on the slopes.
As a result of checking “never ever” on the sign up sheet, my friend and I were placed in the beginner’s group. The lesson itself ran from 1:30 to 3 p.m., but we had a lot of time to practice after.
Our instructor started us off with such seemingly elementary exercises that I was fully confident I would be fine throughout the lesson. Little did I know that, even though the lesson wasn’t rushed, we were definitely being hustled. The instructor was after our blood.
We started off by walking in circles, but we quickly graduated to the Bunny Hill. Before we got there I asked — several times — how to fall and get up properly when we inevitably do. Unfortunately our instructor was of the belief that “mistakes would be your best teacher.”
It was especially unfortunate because I was of the belief that this ruthless drill sergeant was my teacher. Who exactly should I have made the check out to?
Once we got to the top of the Bunny Hill, disaster ensued. We were all going to fall, he said, but he wanted us to do it naturally. “It’s impossible to fall wrong,” echoed in my head as I looked down the daunting drop.
Fast-forward to my turn going down the slope. Halfway through my run it hit me — I don’t do anything naturally. I started going down mid-thought. Rather than fall forward or to the side like a normal person, I crouch down. I ride my skis like a sled all the way down the hill praying the whole time that I look natural.
When I finally stop sliding, I took a deep breath, only to look up and hear:
“You did it wrong.”