Thursday, December 18, 2008

White Christmas

White Christmas came a week early! After spending our first training day on the bunny hill, re-learning how to do the wedge and other various beginning skills in skiing, they threw us a bone yesterday. We went out and skied all day long. With an instructor breaking down our skills and style and offering tips. And got paid for it!
We didn't go up on the mountain on Tuesday so when we first got up there yesterday, you wouldn't believe the beautiful pine trees covered in snow (pictured above from the chair lift using my cell phone camera). Literally, everything was white, save for the clear-blue sky.
Our group of eight was led by an instructor named Ted Pitcher. I told him he should've been a baseball player. He told me he was a lefty. Even better! Turns out he's a Red Sox fan from the East Coast who played a little first base as a youngster. He's been skiing like 30-something years and teaching for about 20. He used to do Nastar racing and coaches it now. Anyway, the guy had some unbelievably great tips and improved my skiing immensely. In fact, at lunchtime, he said I was the "most improved" in the group, which may speak more to my ability before we started! There aren't a lot of runs open, and it's a bit crowded but we had a blast, and I learned more about the technical part of skiing in one day than I'd learned in 20 years previous. Our own skiing is going to get unbelievably better, they tell us.
So last night, Zig and I went out for sushi at a place about a mile from our condo. Great, great stuff but a little too much saki. If any of you come out, remind us to take you to The Naked Fish.
Our place has a hot tub right up the street. Ziggy was counting the steps last night and when he got to "42," he said, "That's Toons." I said, "What?" He replied, "Toons is 42 steps from my condo." We had about 42 more to get to the hot tub and a neighborhood dog scolding us the whole way. For the record, Wrigley Field was 36 steps from my apartment last summer, so I guess we can't have all the conveniences! Hot tub is great for our muscles after skiing and surrounded by tall pine trees with an opening above to view the stars. We were looking at Cassiopeia right above us while listening to John Coltrane and Duke Ellington on Zis' I-pod and sipping red wine. Life is good!
Just to give you the lowdown on our place, it's got two bedrooms upstairs with a full bath. Downstairs is the living room with another half-bath and kitchen. It's small but works for just the two of us. The couch pulls out, though, so room for a guest or two if anyone is itching! The front porch has a bear carved out of a wood stump (they're big on Da Bearssss out here, too!) The other morning we noticed raccoon tracks on the front stoop, too! We have a little back porch, too, and are debating whether to pick up a small smokey joe to grill on. Oh, and no stereo. What's up with that? We're thinking about picking up one of those iPod players for a hundred bucks. Best thing about the place is it's about a 2-minute drive to work!
Back on the mountain today, we were with a different instructor, Heidi, who taught us the Level 2 course. It's so hard to do all these skills I haven't done in 20 years. They all become a foundation for how you develop as a skier, but both Zig and I said it's difficult to go slow and do "the wedge" (snowplow) properly. But it's going to be something we'll need to demonstrate over and over again, so they're helping get us there. One of the guys in our class who's taught before noted that our own skiing will improve because we're working on these skills once again.
The instructors all have great insight and stories. One of them told one today about a 15-year-old girl who he was teaching. No matter what he tried, he couldn't get her to get her knees apart. Frustrated, he said to her, "What is it with you? How come I can't get you to open your legs?" And she said, "Because my daddy said I'm not to open them until I'm 21!" 
So that's about it. I know, no real fun stories this time, but we're working man! Cut us a break. I'm back at the Blue Angel Cafe with a glass of wine by the fireplace listening to bob Marley's Waiting in Vain and Exodus. Tired and headed home.
Oh, and we hit a snowbank yesterday! There was a bunch of ice on the road where we enter our condo complex and Zig was coming downhill a little too fast and tried to turn. High-Ho-Silver went away....right into the bank. Broke a piece off her front bumper, too, the poor thing!

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