Thing to Do #84: Learn to Ski (Part 3)

(Photo Caption: For the third year in a row, I didn’t take a photo of myself skiing. This photo is a horrible selfie I managed to take of myself on the bunny slope after I turned in my rentals. I’m really not photogenic. And I hate having my photo taken, even if it’s me doing the taking.)

I just returned from my third ski trip and interestingly I have yet another opinion of it. The first year I suffered greatly from being sick while trying to learn. That led to a LOT of frustration. Last year I was able to quickly pick up the little that I learned in the first year and far surpassed it, granting me great relief that something I had really wanted to like may be something I could actually do.

I don’t know what happened this year.

In sum, I just didn’t progress. I pretty quickly found myself about where I was at the end of last year’s trip and then…just stayed at that level. I think there are two culprits at work: I don’t like speed and I don’t like feeling out of control. I think I’ve found a way to get down the mountain slowly and in control, although it’s ugly and not technically skiing. And doing anything else feels scary so I’m not terribly interested in making the leap to the next step. I’m way too much inside my head at this point. I also have another issue interfering with my ability to take chances these days: my stupid SVT.

I first mentioned my SVT back in this post from 2012. I haven’t really mentioned it here again so I’ll bring you up to date:

For about a year after the diagnosis, I quit caffeine and thought I could manage it without medication. In spring 2013 I had more episodes, and by summer 2013 I was definitely back on the daily medication. Even while on the daily meds, I’ve continued to have sporadic episodes, usually linked to stress or dehydration.  And these episodes are now happening when I’m trying to have fun, like wakeboarding this past summer, taking a Krav Maga class in January or, in the case of this weekend, skiing.

The first day out on the slope the weather was rather warm and just overcast for the morning but then after lunch it began to rain…a lot. I was rather pleased with myself for having dressed appropriately; I managed to keep my body warm and dry although my “waterproof” gloves were soggy and dripping water. About the time I was thinking about calling it a day, I managed to have an episode with my SVT while getting on a chair lift. In all honesty, I do have to admit that the chair lift still gives me great anxiety so it’s not as a benign moment as you may think. But still, skiing down a mountain would seem to get my heart racing more than, you know, sitting down.

I do have to admit I had a few beers the night before which led to a good bit of dehydration. Alcohol is a trigger and I had been feeling the warning signs all day. But I was still highly annoyed that my SVT had yet again interfered in my life.

Although the episode didn’t last very long, it still shakes me up a bit. And that meant it was heavily on my mind the next day.

I woke up to a “wintry mix” which turned to snow by the time slopes opened up. I had never skied in snow and I was actually quite excited about it. The conditions the day before had been pretty good with very little ice and I thought the snow would mean the slopes would be even slower. As I skidded down the first bit of the first slope, I quickly realized I was wrong. The slopes were much faster than the day before. And now I had to deal with mounds of fresh snow being carved up by skiers and snowboarders alike, making the slope bumpy and even more difficult to navigate.

I found myself getting more and more frustrated because I didn’t understand how to navigate skiing in snow. And even though it wasn’t a peak day, the fresh snow brought out more locals, meaning the slopes were more crowded, making me nervous as more advanced skiers and snowboarders whizzed by.

By the end of the second day, I was feeling low. I remembered enjoying it so much the previous year, although I knew it was mostly from improving so much over my first year. I had expected improvement this year as well and it had been a completely stagnant process.

I still had fun. After all, it’s still vacation and still a time to get away and play in the snow. Given my most recent vacation to an ice hotel and winter carnaval, I clearly enjoy winter time fun!

I’ve decided that next year I’ll have to take another lesson to figure out how to get over this plateau. I know what I’m supposed to be doing. I just don’t know how to do it. Hopefully an instructor will help me figure it out.

About Jessica

Mild mannered marketing drone by day. Bucket list adventurer by late afternoon. Having first drafted a list in high school, Jessica's list of things to do before she dies has slowly taken over her life and consumes her thoughts. Because of the list, she has traveled to Mordor, plummeted towards the Earth's surface from 13,000 feet up, cavorted with whale sharks in open water, skinny dipped herself into the Guinness World Book, and cursed the day she was born during the last miles of a Marathon. It's safe to say that if Jessica is doing it, it's on the list.


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