Imagine, if you can, it’s 1969. I’m a physically and emotionally, perky young girl of nineteen. I’ve just been invited by my best girlfriend and her older sister, to go skiing! Oh, yea! I’m between boyfriends, so bored, lonely and again, nineteen…
My biggest concern, as I race around my bedroom, is not that I have never skied before, but that I wear the perfect ski-bunny outfit. Whatever that means? I have no ski-fashion sense, other than what I see from random stops on sports networks as I channel-chase my way to Gilligan’s Island. God forbid, I dress like the braided and pinafore wearing, naive’ Mary Ann. Instead, like the rest of the female viewing audience, I imagine myself as a voluptuous snow Goddess version of Ginger. Again, nineteen. Since I only know how to dress for a deserted island, I will have to go with the televised Olympians and their commercially contrived ski wear choices. None of which I own, of course.
After threats of “death,” I manage to pry the only decent looking hat and gloves from the grip of my envious older sister. As for the rest of my ski apparel, I’ll have to wing it. A perfect short blue waterproof jacket calls from my other sister’s closet. Any warm top will do as I probably won’t take off the jacket my shrewd younger sister just charged me $3.00 to “borrow.” As for boots, all I have are outdated, worn out Kickerenos, that look more like fuzzy topped slippers on steroids. Not to worry, I’ll change into my ski-boots the minute we get there. Now last, but certainly not lease, my pants. Jeans do not seem right? It’s not like I’ll be bronco busting. And the one pair of snow pants we do have in the house are for a six-year-old. The only pants that fit me are my mother’s very tight, decade old stretch pants, with stirrups. Help! I’m very quickly turning into a “what not to wear” poster from the sixties.
One last glance in the mirror to add the magic of mascara and lipstick, before I depart. My hope is to draw the eye up from my “second-hand Rose” fashion statement, to my “Ginger on the slopes” impersonation. Here’s hoping…
Riding to the ski slopes with the girls makes me feel more like the mascot of a ski team than a member. They are dressed like pros. Color coordinated and all. It is apparent they know what they were doing. Even their conversation is filled with ski jargon that sounds almost like another language. But I get the sense there will be boys! Lots of boys on the hills. Hey, the place is even named “Buck Hill!”
We no sooner park and get our skies on, and they are gone! Something about “Bunny Hill, for beginners, bla, bla, bla, see you before dark.” So here I stand, looking up at a Mini-Mount Everest, with no one to stop me from bolting to the parking lot.
As I stand frozen in place, I see several very small children swishing down the suburban Everest. I begin to feel foolish and relieved. I can do this! I got this! “After all, I’m nineteen…”
It looks like there are two modes of transportation to get me to the top of the slope. One is this knotted thick rope that literally pulls you up the slope and the other, not un-like a carnival ride, is a cute air-born, two-person chair. The little youthful skiers seem to be choosing and mastering the rope. So, knotted rope, here goes.
Oh, my gosh! How am I supposed to grab anything with sticks in my hands and long wood planks on my boots?! After several clumsy, embarrassing attempts, I am on my way up to the top with a wobbly, sort of confidence.
Little would I have guessed, that getting to the top would be the easy part. I’m fine with just staying up here and waiting for dusk, really! But the flow of daredevils behind me is growing. I sense I’m in the way and the looks on their faces seems to say, “Oh just go, for God’s sake!”
So, with a whispered beseech to a Higher Power, I push off! “This is invigorating! I feel like I’m flying! And I HATE IT!” How can I stop this free-fall into a powdery white nose-dive!? I know I am going to fall and fall hard if I don’t beat myself to the punch and well, fall!
The snow is a better cushion than I thought it would be, and if I lean into it, I can tilt my way to the ground! I realize I have figured out a method to get me through this day, and maybe even have a little fun! That’ll show them…wherever they are.
I have used the rope several times to get to the top and deliberately fallen down at least four times per descent in order to get to the bottom without breaking anything. It’s a blast! But now I’m ready to try something new. I’m getting a little tired, so the chair lift “thingy” seems like the next logical step.
If I thought the rope was a challenge, this “chair lift” ride is even harder! It literally bumps me hard at the back of the knees and throws me into the seat. As I get to the top, I realize I can’t get out of the seat because my skis are tangled up, and pointing every which way! Finally, I throw myself out of the basket and frantically crawl away on my hands and knees. I can’t crawl out of the way fast enough, so the occupants of the chair behind me are yelling, screaming and even laughing! Laughing!? I almost ended up under their skis and basket!
I am pretty shaky, so I think I’ll fall down a few extra times this descent. At first, purposefully falling kept me from falling against my will. But now I have an ulterior motive. After the first few times down the hill, the most exciting thing happened! I have my very own personal ski patrol! Every time I fall, and I mean every time, a cute, attentive, young man hurries to my side to help me up! They usually depart after showing me how to land more safely. This has been going on for hours. My last count of different patrol members is eight. Most times they are dressed in their handsome dark blue jackets with official patches, but there have been a few, that could have just as easily been working in the Chalet.
The girls would just die if they knew how much attention I am getting! Fairly sure they’re just skiing! I, on the other hand, have a fan club! I’m just waiting for one of them to ask me out! I would go. As long as the date isn’t on a slope somewhere. Laughing to myself.
The sun has set and every part of me has felt frozen for hours. I can’t feel my hands, feet or face. I think I see the girls at the foot of the hill. One last run to show them how popular I am! Gosh, I’m going to miss all this fuss over me! Those darling patrol guys sure know how to make a “newbie” feel special! I actually feel pretty glamourous, and my lipstick wore off hours ago!
As I follow the girls into the Chalet for some hot chocolate, I see a group of my ski instructing buddies clustered together. I am thrilled that as I leave the hill, they are still enamored by me, and wave with big smiles on their faces. You can’t make this stuff up. Even the girls noticed!
While sitting at our table, I still feel special. Guys seem to be smiling at me from every corner. The thaw is setting in, and I am starting to get feeling back into my extremities. If the girls did not have to get home, I would stay even longer. Oh, yea…
The warmth of the Chalet fire still rests in my jacket and the walk through the moon lit parking lot is quite lovely. I started my day feeling abandoned and lonely. At the end of this magical day, I feel like “a movie star!” I wish I could tell mother about all the attention those cute boys gave me today. Better not. She might not ever let me borrow her tight black pants again.
As the snow-covered green Fiat travels down the freeway, I entertain thoughts of opening the car door and throwing myself out into the night! I reach up and massage the little bump forming on my forehead. Just minutes earlier, as I slid into the backseat, a searing cold sensation made me jump up and hit the interior car roof. Reaching back to lift myself off the frozen leather seat, I feel bare skin! Lots and lots of exposed skin, from my waistband down!