Yeah, Baby! 54 mph downhill!

"You're a little Mormon missile!" my ski buddy called proudly as he caught up to me. Insert BIG smile here. Obviously, I got a kick out of his comment because it's been six years since I learned how to ski again since college. He has this app for his i-phone that actually clocks speed, and it measured him going at 56 mph. Now, I was actually behind him on that reading, but still, I'm thinking that is not bad for a forty-something babe who did not grow up on a pair of skis.

I used to be scared to death of going fast--on anything! In fact, when I was 12 or 13, I went skiing with a church group to Mammoth. The memory is not real clear, but the one thing I do remember is being separated from the group and heading down a mountain super fast at an absolutely uncontrollable speed. I was either too afraid and too stupid to try and stop, so I just fell down in classic hand-over-foot fashion to stop myself from plowing into a tree. That's the most powerful impression I had of skiing when I took it up again at over 40 years old.

What I keep wondering is: How on earth did I arrive here? How did everything change? I was truly mortified and very afraid when I started up again. I yelled really mean and horrible things to my ski buddy when he took me down very steep mountain faces the first time I got back on skis (still could kill him for that--of course he just chuckles when I vent). But I'm not afraid anymore. In fact, when I stop in the middle of a run and look back at the steep face I've just conquered and the beautiful blue sky encircling snow and crystals, I can't help but feel proud of what I've accomplished. I don't ever think in the middle of going 50+ mph that I could die if I fell down. I think I finally understand why.

Ever so slowly, I gained confidence in my abilities. At first, it was the snow plow and traverse carefully zigzagging down a hill. Then it was learning to straighten out my skis and pull them together. On gentle slopes, my ski buddy encouraged me to lengthen my turns, meaning that they would be more in the shape of an elongated "S" when I turned and looked behind me. This is where I became more accustomed to speed, because the less you turn skiing downhill, the faster you go. Then there were those bloody steep hills! I'd curse under my breath every time I came to one of them. Well, one day I didn't stop to think about it. I just cruised over the top and had a blast coming down. It was so much fun and so exhilarating. I could accomplish that because, unlike when I was a kid-torpedo with a beam on a tree, I am now in control. I can go fast because I know I can slow down and/or stop. It's not a big deal and not something I think about anymore at all. So, enjoy the journey, people!

Now, I'm (not so) sorry to say, I'm addicted:)


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