Let me start by saying that learning new things is NOT easy, especially when you are on the cusp of turning 30 (#make30count) and that thing is SKIING. I started skiing last year at the ripe old age of 28 by taking 3 intro lessons in December and then 1.5 lessons in March (I had a meltdown during the .5 lesson and quit at noon in tears, thus the 1/2 day). This December I took one lesson and then skied for about 8 of the 16 days I was be in Colorado.
Side note: my husband is a beautiful skier. BEAUTIFUL. Manly man Jeff Neckers is to a mountain as a prima ballerina is to Swan Lake. He's technical, fearlessly fast, and he emanates pure joy when he's in the snow. He's been a skier since the age of five, raced in his teens, and is now teaching in Colorado (and receiving the added benefit of skiing on his off time for free). Here is a picture of Jeff when he was a adorable little racer in spandex and all:
No pressure, ol' Erin. If you hate skiing you'll just spend EVERY WINTER UNTIL YOU DIE stagnantly eating over-seasoned french fries in a ski lodge while your children become little ski demons and forever share the love of a snow sport with your husband but not YOU. WIMPY BABY.
Fortunately, skiing kind of clicked for me this winter. I finally went on a blue run this week, I'm linking turns, and in the act of skiing I no longer exclusively think about what will happen if I wipe out. Success!
This post isn't actually about how much of a novice skier I am or how wonderful my husband is (although he is quite wonderful). It's supposed to be about how skiing relates to life (because I think it does). Here are some things I learned about skiing that I think apply to the sport of LYYYFE:
1. Lean DOWN the mountain. I love watching people ski while I'm riding up the ski lift. You see all kinds of people and such a spectrum of ability. You can always tell if someone is inexperienced because they look pretty rigid and as they go down the hill and they lean back as if that's going to be helpful. All that does is put you off-balance and make you fall on your butt. It also tires you out and puts a lot of strain on your body. Leaning down the hill feels very counterintuitive, but it helps you to move efficiently and in a safer way.
APPLICATION: In life sometimes we figuratively lean back. I equate this to being wishy-washy or reactive to things that happen. Making bold decisions (or just a decision) helps you to move forward on your terms.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Getting my teaching credential popped into my mind. Student teaching, classes, etc. gave me a LOT of anxiety. Credentialing was terribly overwhelming because there was always an obligation to fulfill. Your "work day" starts at 7 am when you fulfill the requirements of working in a classroom. Then you get out of "work" (not paid) and go to classes. if you aren't doing that, you're studying for a test, developing a lesson, or trying to have a life. This experience taught me to make decisive choices and finish tasks rather than waste energy.
2. Look where you want to go. When you ski it's very easy to only look as far as the end of your skis or as far as you're turning (lest you don't crash into a grove of trees). I was corrected in this action and told to look to the bottom of the hill. Even if your body is physically turning, your head is always pointing toward your ending destination.
APPLICATION: Is this one pretty self-explanatory? Stay fixed on your end goal.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: I don't know what my end goal is. It makes it VERY difficult to "face my destination." I am very easily distracted by every turn. I'm learning how to write code, speak French, improvise... oh, and I'm teaching, Uber driving, giving guitar lessons, blogging, eating Whole30 compliant food, watching as many television shows as I can keep up with (currently Workaholics, Twin Peaks, and Transparent! TOO MANY!)... YIKES. I'M FOCUSED ON EVERY TURN and unfortunately, it's very disorienting. Here's the good news: I'm about to start seeing a career coach, so I'm hoping that will help me to focus my interests a bit. Otherwise I'm going to go crazy!
3. Slow down (by turning) to stay in control. HAHAHA! This is funny! Erin is a terrible hypocrite. Did you read what she just wrote for #2? HAHAHAHA.
Here's the thing, though. Turning is the way to stay in control when you ski. When I started out I thought it was the "pizza" wedge that kept you in control, but that's super boring after awhile and it tires out your legs. It's way more fun to point your body down the hill. As you gain speed, initiate weight on whatever ski will become your "downhill ski" and you begin to turn! You also reduce the weight on your uphill ski and work on pointing your knees where you want to go (more or less). By the way, this is terrifying at first! After a lot of reps, you start to see it as a way to maintain a consistent speed.
APPLICATION: SLOW DOWN. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: *laughs to self* SELF CARE! If this week of skiing taught me anything, it was that I do not apply turns to my life. I barrel down the hill and crash. Over and over and over and OVER again. If I were applying turns to my life I would be getting enough sleep, not taking work home with me (if I can help it), and LISTENING to MYSELF.
4. Have FUN. My ski instructor this December was really delightful. He had a little phrase he would say for every skill related to skiing and he LOVED to tell us things in groups of four (ex: "What are the four best parts of finishing a day of skiing?" "1. Taking off your uncomfortable boots, 2. Getting out of your sweaty clothes, 3. Sitting in a hot tub, and 4. Drinking an adult beverage of your choice."). He also had us practice skiing straight down the hill as long as we were comfortable- as we would initiate a turn, he told us to growl loudly or say "yeahhhhhh." Honestly? I still say "yeahhhhhhhh" loudly when I turn. It's a way for me to remember to have fun and enjoy what I'm doing.
APPLICATION: What is your "yeahhhhhh?"
PERSONAL APPLICATION: My "yeahhhhhhh" is Bruce Springsteen. He always reminds me that life -in whatever form it's taking- is SWEET.