My husband has been wanting to move to Colorado ever since he spent 6 weeks as a lad in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Before we were married he told me his dream was to move to Colorado, hike the days away in the breathtaking mountains, and enjoy the sunny winters. I always dismissed it and told him I wanted to move back to Florida. At the mention of winter I get a little PTSD. I barely survived Rochester, NY for 4 years.
“No, I am not moving to a place with snow again.”
“But Colorado is 300 days of sun! You won’t even notice the winter!”
“I can’t survive those winters again, honey. At least Tennessee isn’t like Rochester.”
>commence with Memphis’ 8 degree, 4 month long icy winters<
“Hey, guess what?” He’d say every few days, “Denver is experiencing a warmer winter than we are.”
For our second anniversary trip, we went to Colorado in June of last year. We hit up Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, and Estes Park. We decided to go again for his Spring Break this past week. I knew he needed an opportunity to take a mental break from medical school, and I could use another go at the mountains. We headed back to Denver and Boulder, but this time also spent a few days in the mountains in Frisco to do some skiing.
When I called Loveland Ski Area I rented the noob package, complete with an 8 hour beginner course, ski equipment, and winter clothing. When Caleb and I arrived, I was filled with excitement and trepidation. I fully expected to fall down often, possibly break something, and definitely run into a tree. I donned a Ninja hat that covered all of my head/face except for my eyes, which were covered by ski googles anyway.
I saw a hoodie in their store that said, “I came, I skiied, I fell….a lot.” I told Caleb he had to buy that for me, and he said jokingly that we should make sure I actually fell. The ski instructor laughed when he overheard that and said that everyone falls.
When started our class and it became clear to all that I was born to be a skiier. I must have skiied out of my mother’s womb and no one told me. For too long I have forsaken my roots as a NY-born girl. Me, a warm blooded Floridian? LIES.
Memories of my earliest years came flooding back to me as I glided down the kiddie hill. Me, as a 2 year old, waking up and jumping with glee at the sight of snow outside. Me, as a 3 year old, building a “snowman” that resembled a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower with my mom; roasting marshmellows with my brothers; sledding into a tree that my father so cautiously tried to steer me away from. Yes, snow was where I was born to be.
I caught onto the principles of skiing quickly and our instructor regularly used me as an example of excellence for my classmates.
“Good girl,” he grumbled, a bit like Mad Eye Moody. “Look, see how she rotates just slightly to the right to turn. Do it like Nicole.”
I won’t lie, I felt like a bit of a hotshot and I haven’t felt like that in sports since my high school tournament softball team won the State Championship. My regular blog readers will understand why this is a big deal if they read my Jiu Jitsu Fail post or my Yoga Noob post.
My trepidation melted away and I skiied with confidence. Every time our ski instructor, Mike, showed us a new task, I took to it like a fish in the water. “That’s easy for you, isn’t it?” he’d shout to me. “Good girl!”
When we eventually graduated onto the bunny hill, we took the ski lift for the very first time. It was exhilarating. After a few turns on the bunny hill, Mike started to assign “leaders” to lead the group of 8 in a single-file line down the hill. The point was to practice our turns and speed. Mike made me the leader.
Of course, the first thing I do is accidentally pick the steepest part of the hill and launch myself into an unstoppable speed. I try to wedge myself to slow down, but I am unsuccessful. Alarmed, I dipped my weight down on my right side and try to turn myself to start going up the hill so that I can slow down and wait for the others. I feel my legs splitting apart and my arms start waving haphazardly.
“This is the end,” I thought, “I am surely going to die.”
I just barely keep it together without falling. That fall would have been bad, like goodbye to my music career bad. I look up and see the struggling members of my class take my same path down the steep hill and watched some of them fall. Thankfully no one was harmed, despite my poor leadership decisions.
Mike zooms up next to me. “Nicole! Why on earth did you pick the steepest part of the hill?! You speed demon! Do you have a death wish for your classmates?”
“No, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to!”
I realized my driving instructor said the same thing to me 10 years ago. Clearly this is a dangerous trend of mine.
Mike continued to appoint me the leader, and I learned to slow down a bit and take some easier paths. At the end of our class, Mike points to me and one other guy and says we’re ready to move onto the more challenging bits of skiing. Everybody else in the class needs more practice mastering the basics. My hubby was beaming with pride, and starting bragging to the social media sphere about his amazing wife’s mad skiing skillz.
In the end, Caleb couldn’t buy me that hoodie because I didn’t fall once.
I was excited about skiing the rest of the night, and really wanted to go back the next day. When we woke up, poor Caleb had sun blisters all over his face. In all of our Florida noob-ness, we forgot that sun reflects in the white snow and he needed sunscreen. His fair Swedish skin was burnt to a crisp. My Mediterranean heritage and spf 15 foundation spared me from the same fate. He was miserable and in pain, and we opted to sit the next day out and leave for Denver. This was a good thing, as a snow storm hit and all of the highways closed, putting us on a 2 hour detour where we drove 20 mph on back roads to get to Boulder.
Ah, snow. I remember why you are so treacherous now.
We enjoyed the rest of our time in Colorado. We got to see Jim Gaffigan live in Denver, we hiked up the Flat Irons in Boulder, and caught up with some dear friends. Caleb’s face is still healing, but thankfully everyone here understands when they see someone walking around with the lower half of their face burned. For now, I’ll just have to dream of skiing and practice every chance I can get until we eventually move to Colorado. (Shh…don’t tell Caleb I said that.)
Speed Demon out.