This absurd winter incident happened last year. I swear these things only happen to me. Most of my friends have heard this story already (and laughed really hard) but if anyone other than my friends is reading this post, you will get a real kick out of this one. So, this past winter season I finally decided (30+ years too late but whatever…) to learn how to ski. My husband was ecstatic because for the longest time he insisted on doing some “sporting activity” that we could enjoy as a couple. Now, I am by no means a sporty kinda gal. Sporting genes are just not in me. I can barely walk, really. But I love winter and its sports and wanted to give skiing a fair shot. Plus, if I learned how to ski even a little, I would not spend gorgeous winter days alone while my husband is “courting” the slopes.
As a child, I loved the snow! I loved how it sparkled in the sun, how it gave off this majestic glare, how even if it was brutally cold, I felt nothing because I was dressed in 10 ridiculous layers of clothing. My favorite “winter sport” was finding a large piece of land with untouched deep snow and leave my little foot prints in as much of it as possible.
Of course, I had to take ski lessons first. In total, I took 3 (painful) lessons. This incident happened during the third lesson. Now, imagine Stratton Mountain, Vermont: serenity, beauty, and crisp fresh air; kids zooming through the slopes in colorful ski and snowboard gear like skittles! (I am convinced that most of them were born in snow caves and their moms were wearing skis when they gave birth to them…this is the only logical explanation why those kids are so damn good on skis).
Obviously, I had no gear of my own, so we stopped by a rental shop for skis, poles, and boots (my generous hubby got me the clothes and most importantly – the helmet! He always tells me to wear one…that funny boy). It was now the third time I was renting gear. By now, I could safely put on boots myself and even snap them onto skis. My preferred length of skis is 142cm and my boot size is 24.5. Textbook sizing. This is exactly what my hubby got me and of course I did not bother looking into the rental gear specifications. All I knew was that the skis were lime and white in color, 140-something cm, and who cares for the brand right?
Finally, we arrive at the mountain. Remember, this is my third time skiing. I have seen it all before, the multiple lodge entrances, a thousand ski racks, lifts, etc. and of course you cannot take skis inside the lodges. So, I put down my gear to go purchase the tickets, (and get this(!) I was being “clever” by putting skis in a certain position with poles crisscrossed and strapped to the skis – oh! Only a billion people do that!!!). Once I got the tickets, I came out, went to the rack where I left the skis (or I thought), got the lime and white ones with crisscrossed poles and very easily snapped them on to my boots. The skis did feel “a little” longer and more slippery (how else would a ski feel like right?) than I had previously “felt” them to be but the rental guy told us that he just polished them.
So, I met my instructor and we started to make our way to the lift. Even by the third lesson, I often couldn’t stand on skis without falling or holding on to someone. It took me like a hundred years to make it to the lift. While standing in line, I have stepped on every skier and snowboarder in front of me, profusely apologizing while ruining their gear. I was abnormally surprised at how forgiving professionals were to newbies. Finally, my turn came to hop on the lift. I was like…”ummm…how do you do that?”- thankfully, my instructor saved me and I safely landed my a** on a moving bench. (I also “forgot” to jump off of a funicular once and they had to get me down with a pole; you know, I heard about the difficulties of pole dancing but this?
The instructor asked me where I got those skis from because although an older model, they were professional and in great shape and rental shops typically do not rent such gear. While I was convincing him that I definitely got them in a ski shop and promised to find out the name of the rental shop, I was quietly cursing because I could not make a decent step in those skis without stepping on myself (due to length). Through the slips and the falls, the cursing, the wanting to give-up, I managed to go down a steep and long green trail. I fell right at the very end of the slope and right in front of the lift line. Although I already had enough of this, I was paying for a full lesson so we found our way back to the lift line.
HERE COMES THE FUN: So, we are standing in line again, minding our own business when suddenly a ski patrol guy stops me (in front of a million people) and I hear a female voice shouting: “these are my skis, here are my skis!.” My instructor intervenes and says that my skis are rentals…I confirm and look dumbfounded. The girl was almost in tears. She had a little board in her hands with the description of her skis as if it were a missing child. So sad, I almost cried myself. Finally, it dawned on me…I am a ski thief!! I realized that I took her skis – but how could it be? Everything matched! The lime and green, the fitted boots, the “uniquely” positioned poles. Then I looked at one of the skis and saw that the skis were in fact 165cm, instead of my rented 142cm (which explains my ordeal of stepping on myself).
I turned red like a boiling lobster, a bloody sun…thank goodness I had a ski mask on to cover half of my face. I felt the ground shaking underneath my feet and any second now, I was going to fall through. I was hoping to fall through. I felt a million eyes judging me, laughing in slow motion and pointing fingers (well…that is a bit dramatic and probably did not happen but that is how I felt)…I was the Stratton clown. They pulled me out of the line to face my victim. I did not know what to say. I started (again) to profusely apologize, blaming my inexperience. It was an honest mistake but it was an embarrassing one to no end. I offered the girl money to pay for the time she had lost not skiing (and for moral distress; I mean she went through hell looking for those poor skis). But what do you know? She was a forgiving professional. She said “it’s ok” and smiled. Was she an angel? The ski patrol guy also smiled and said “no worries.” I am yet to check youtube and I am pretty sure I have been black-listed on Stratton.
So where in the world were my rentals? I called my husband who was somewhere probably on a black diamond and nervously tried to tell him my lame story. I begged him to remember what my skis looked like and come down to help me find them. He told me the specs for rentals and my instructor found them. They were safe and sound by the other entrance of the lodge, standing in a “unique” position with crisscrossed poles…just as I’d left them.
If they had not caught me, I would have returned the professional skis… I wonder if they would have said something at the shop.
Hope you laughed your a** off! Thanks so much for reading!