Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Arun versus The Mountain

Growing up in Alaska, it would be logical for one to think that I'm a real winter sports kind of guy. One might even assume that I am an avid skier who can carve his way down any mountain, big or small! After all, mountains were practically my backyard in Alaska.

One would be completely wrong.

It's not that I've never skied or anything. In fact, when I was a little kid, I took skiing and figure skating (yea yea, laugh it up) lessons. The problem is, that I haven't skied in probably 12 years.

So what did I decide to do? Well it only seemed logical that the best way to jump back into skiing was to tackle the biggest ski mountain in California. Mammoth definitely lives up to its name.

Saturday was clear and beautiful. It all came back to me pretty fast, and before long, I was carving my way down the bunny slopes! All was good until I encountered my first black diamond of the weekend.

My history with black diamonds is sketchy at best. The last time I went skiing, I took a black diamond at the bottom of the hill. I didn't really know how to carve at the time, so I'd pretty much just barrel my way down the hill.

So picture this. I'm flying down the hill, gathering speed with this big smile on my face. I enter the black diamond and now I'm really flying! "Whooo hooo!" As I finish the black diamond it suddenly occurs to me that I'm at the bottom of the hill, moving at an out-of-control speed. Then I realize that one of the skills that I'm not particularly proficient at is the art of stopping.


So here I am flying towards the ski rack in front of the lodge at the bottom of the hill. In my desperation to stop, I decide that falling is the only way to avoid colliding with the ski rack. In my haste, I fall backwards.

Let me explain to you why this was a bad idea. When you fall backwards with skis on, your back and head hit the ground, but because the skis are so long, your legs remain planted in the skis on the ground and you continue rocketing forward with your back and head absorbing the comfy terrain.

I managed to hit a mound of snow that sent me spinning, skis and poles flying off of me and I came to rest just in front of the ski rack. It would have been less painful to have just collided with the rack.

So on Saturday, I put this little incident out of my mind and start heading down. I'm carving really hard and am moderately controlling my speed. Yes! I own this black diamond!

About half way down I recall my previous incident and trying to carve a little harder to slow down. In doing this I lost my balance. I knew I was going to eat it, the only question was in which direction? Again remembering how pleasant it felt to fall backwards I, for reasons I will never understand, decide to fall forward.

Note to self...forward fall = high faceplant probability.

Yes I faceplanted, and to make things things worse, since the hill was so steep, I kept going with my heading leading the way down the hill.

Other than that incident, the day was pretty good, and I was superbly confident in my skills for Sunday! Well, Sunday brought one of the worst blizzards I've ever been in. More than half of the mountain was closed due to high winds and blizzard conditions.

Me being supremely confident in my near-professional level skiing abilities, I took the highest lift that was open. I could hardly move at the top. It was so windy that I had to anchor my poles into the ground to keep from getting blown around. Not to mention, it was FREAKING COLD up there!

Now I just wanted to get the hell down...not as easy as it sounds. It was total white-out conditions. Going down the mountain, all I could see was white. I couldn't tell up from down or right from left. I couldn't see five feet in front of me and had no clue how fast I was going.

At one point, I felt a bunch of snow hitting my face and thought I was just skiing really fast. It turned out I was falling, but I was so disoriented I had no idea. I managed to make it down the hill, and promptly decided that was enough for the day.

Success! I escaped the mountain without injury and only above average amounts of embarrassment! I OWN skiing!

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