...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I'm Not Very Good at Skiing (And Other Winter Stories)

The other people on the mountain make it look so easy. The little kids make it look so easy.
They go swish swish swish and spray snow up at me.
I think they do it on purpose.
And this is the first reason why I'm not very good at skiing. I spend a bit too much time being jealous of 4-year-olds who swish and spray.

Ski Lifts freak me out.
(This includes but is not limited to T-Bars, J-Bars, Rope Tows, Magic Carpets, Chairlifts etc) And you have to go on them so that you can ski back down so that you can go back up on the lift. It's a vicious cycle. Yesterday I went on a T-Bar that seriously lasted for an eternity. I'm serious. It went on forever. Mother and 4-year old daughter are next to me chatting away about trivial things (actually, I have no idea what they were talking about - it was all Swiss German) and I'm about to die. Every muscle, thought, and breath was focused on staying on the lift. Just stay on the lift. This trepidation may have something to do with me falling off a children's rope tow last weekend but I'm not confirming anything.

When I ski I have flashbacks. Constant reminders of very scary previous experiences. I have flashbacks of last winter in Australia - skiing so fast down a steep hill heading toward a black run and being very unable to stop. Screaming shheeeet! all the way down. People came from far and wide just to see what the end of that story was.

Skis are heavier than they look. And I think mine have, um, weights on them or something. And then MLF3 gives me hers as well. And her helmet, gloves, goggles and anything else she wishes to be free of in the moment. And then runs ahead and says, 'Coom, Kylie, Coom.'

Sometimes I secretly wish I could ski in front of my parent with a harness on. Yesterday we went went skiing with a family who is friends with my host family. Their 4-year old is not quite as advanced as MLF3 and so skied in front of her Mum in a harness. She fell over a lot and cried a lot and inside I felt we had a lot in common. Only when she is 22, she'll be a pro at this game.

I spent too much time looking for Austria and Lichtenstein. Both of which, apparently, you can see on a good day from where we ski. Not quite sure what I was looking for - perhaps Maria Von Trapp out on the hills singing the Sound of Music?

(I skied down that mountain. Ok, maybe not that one particularly, but it was a big one.)

Even though I seem to spend most of my skiing hours freaking out and putting all my energy into just staying alive and upright, there are a few moments when I feel like I'm doing it right - that this is enjoyable. And when I'm flying down a slope and there are no immediate dangers and I've got some semblance of control then it feels good. That this is what it is supposed to feel like.

I think there are a few similarities between those feelings and life in general. Sometimes you get these hints and breezes of what the truth and goodness of life is supposed to look and feel like. And its these moments that give us the courage and strength to press on to the next one.


  1. What? And you're the one on the top of the Farris wheel pointing out the squeeking to my mother? :-) You're the one who at the Franklin Institute hopped on that bicycle balanced on a wire 2 stories in the air?

    You have more courage than you know Kylie.

    You have more courage than I.


  2. Kylie,
    You are a great writer and very funny. I'm enjoying reading your blog!

    Question: What do the people you work for do for a living? And, do the children go off to school every day or are they too young???

  3. One more thing....could you PLEASE tell me what the cartoon on your banner says? It's absolutely driving me crazy that I can't read the fine print!

  4. The cartoon says 'If you see anything mysterious or unusual, just enjoy it while you can.'
    It's by Leunig. Kylie has good taste.

  5. Haha Joy - Sorry about that fine print, I couldn't seem to make that pic any bigger, but I do indeed love Leunig (thanks James!)
    The 2 older girls go to school and the younger one (4) stays home 3 days and daycare/creche/something else in german 2 days a week. Ma is in health and Pa finance.