Since I was with a group, I had to get vetted before I could go to the top of the hill. It was productive, though, because the instructor gave me a few pointers on balance and stopping. I may never be a mogul-master ski racer, but getting a little bit better every time I go is an attainable goal. Especially if I only go once every five or six years. :-)
Being a weekday afternoon, the hill was crawling with middle school students. One of my schoolmates remarked that he'd be checking somebody out, and then get a closer look and go “Augh, how horrible!”
Said I, “It's our culture that makes it horrible.” To my surprise, I received assenting nods.
(Let it be known that Stephen Harper hasn’t made it any better. There’s now legally no such thing as consensual sexual activity between, say, a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old, or a 13 and 16-year old. It’s insulting, backwards, and actually downright dangerous because it forces now-illegal sexual activity to be conducted in secret where defences are fewer.)
Anyway, social reality made what otherwise would have been a more enjoyable experience a bit more trying. I’m not saying that we should go out of our way to follow the County Paris’ dictum that “Younger than she are happy mothers made,” but I sure as shit don’t think our current irrational paranoia around completely natural attraction is healthy or, in the long view, safe.
The “singles only” lane at the chairlift is the best. It was a more than a little inequitable – I’d wait for maybe half a minute while people who wanted to ride together could wait for several minutes. Once I went down the mountain in my usual slow way, and rode back up the following time with the exact same group, made up of much more experienced skiers.
On one of these rides, there was a sticker on an ad hanging on the back of the chair in front of us. It covered all but the “ail” in “a trail”. I think I asked, “What’s an ail, and how do I know to I’m entering one?”
I was riding with a man and what I figured were his two sons. We shared a laugh. One of the boys said, “It’s like that puzzle game… Jeopardy?”
“No,” I said, “think ‘Wheel’.”
“Or is it like that other game… Guess The Price?”
“Is ‘Jeopardy’ a real word?”
“Yes. It means to be in peril.” I probably should have said ‘danger’. But they understood, I think.
I said that despite the name, you’re not in danger of losing anything you didn’t come with. (But I guess I wasn’t really thinking of the wagering and how incorrect answers cost their worth.) Though there was that one time on The Simpsons’…
Anyway, it was an enjoyable ride. Contrast that with the one time I rode up with just one boy. It was pretty much awkward silence the whole way. I don’t have Pashtun inclinations. But I feel like striking up a conversation is tantamount to purchasing membership in NAMBLA. I tried anyway. “You here on a school trip? … Yeah, so am I.” Later (positive sign! Normal human interaction is possible with middle schoolers!) he asked me which school.
Another ride I went up with a boy and two girls. I said nothing while they talked about their teachers and their personal lives. It made me remember how much pain and heartache and torment I suffered when I was their age.
They talked about dating quite a bit, and about how one girl they knew would keep reeling in ‘boyfriends’ and letting them go because “the spark didn’t last”. The girl on the other side of the chairlift was despondent because she didn’t have the same level of ‘success’.
“Don’t worry,” her friend consoled her, patting her on the back. “You’ll get a boyfriend, and then you can fuck him as much as you want.”
“Hey,” the boy said, indicating me. “How about this guy right here?”
Oh, if only. “I’m afraid it’s been illegal since shortly after Stephen Harper came to power. I’m flattered, though.”
Not what I would have thought to have been my first words on any given chairlift ride!
I stayed on the slopes until about quarter after six. I’d originally planned on spending the whole day and evening, but Martock isn’t really expansive enough to sustain my interest for that long. I saw it get dark and that was nice, but I figured I’d go home and have a cold beer instead of trying to squeeze every penny out of my already-a-bargain ticket and rental. By the way, pack a lunch – the food on the hill is overpriced (well, I expected that) and underwhelming (that part was a disappointment).
On my penultimate ride I rode up with three adults – a man and two women. We’d started out by scaring the operator by not being far enough ahead on the platform for the chair to scoop us up, so we naturally fell into conversation. Among other things I remember the woman next to me expressing her fear about skiers behind her on the slope. I said you kind of have to take the attitude of driving – you can’t be unduly worried about what people behind you are doing.
“That sounds good in theory. In theory!” she laughed.
I might have shared with her that I found my hearing to be most helpful – I did proactively take slight evasive action when I’d hear someone coming quite close. It was easy because my helmet protected my ears from the worst bite of the rushing cold air but still allowed them to hear freely. It could have been the most utility I’ve ever had from having two ears.
As I returned my equipment and put my street shoes back on, a very attractive girl who couldn’t have been more than fifteen complained that she’d misplaced her iPod. I wanted to say to her that for my part I was missing my ski goggles; I’d left them with my shoes and wore my largish sunglasses instead (because I can wear my prescription lenses underneath those). But instead I just left without saying a word.
My favourite part of post-secondary school is that everybody is fair game. :-)
As I lay in bed that night, my legs and feet kept wanting to do the skiing motions. I’ll definitely be eager to hit the slopes more often from now on. It was very lucky, though, for me to have gone on such a great day, especially given the amount of time since I last skied and the fairly warm and wet winter we’re having.