January 22, 2011

Lost my alpine mojo

On Thursday afternoon, I flew from DC to Boston on JetBlue. I was so excited to get to see myself on the airplane TVs… but then they didn’t end up showing it. I was really disappointed, particularly since I had skipped doing work in favor of staying glued to the TV so I wouldn’t miss it. Then, just as we were landing, one of the other commercials came on. Darn it! I was going to miss it by only a few minutes. We landed and the first commercial was still going, but then our pilot announced that our gate wasn’t ready and it would be about 10-15 minutes before we could pull up and deplane. Perfect! I ended up getting to watch all the videos, including my own, which was really neat. But no, to answer your questions, no one around me was paying attention to the TVs in order to recognize me. Too bad!

In Boston, I grabbed a quick bite, and then headed out for my teeny little itty bitty Cessna to Rutland.

I had been warned how small the plane is, but I had never flown something like this before! I wasn’t even allowed to bring on my laptop bag that I normally put under the plane’s seat – just a book and my water bottle. There were only eight seats, and the pilot was in the front one with no separation – someone got to sit right next to him by all the controls! Due to weight and balance, I ended up in the back – right next to the door to the plane, which, when closed, still left a crack through which I could see the city lights below when we were flying. Crazy! The flight was very smooth though, and some of the regular commuters assured me that this was among the smoothest they’d had. I can’t imagine what this would be like in bad weather!

We landed at the Rutland airport, which turned out to be basically like a one-room cabin, where the “runway” looked more like a driveway at a country home. When I walked in, my brother was already waiting for me, so we had a great reunion while we waited for the pilot to bring my bags out (they were stored in the wings of the plane, believe it or not). After a short wait, we headed out into the snowdrifts for our friend Danny’s SUV, which we would take to our condo at Killington.

We stopped at a liquor store on the way, and I was pleased to find they actually had a great beer selection – I picked up a few 22 oz bottles of some good stuff, and I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to rely on my brothers’ Bud Lite (ew!) to get me through the weekend. Upon arriving at our beautiful condo, we hung out for a few hours while waiting for my other brother and his wife, then hit the nightlife – first stop, Wobbly Barn.

One thing that makes Killington really neat is that every bar has their own private shuttle that will come pick you up and take you home – gratis. It’s a pretty brilliant business plan, really, since by offering a free ride you’re enticing cusotmers to come to your bar instead of any other. And with the outrageous prices they charge for cover and drinks (the popular Pickle Barrel was charging $25 a head!), if someone buys just one drink, you’ve recouped the investment. Lucky for us, my brothers’ best friend since childhood works for one of the major sponsors of the Dew Tour, so we got hooked up with no cover and free drinks every night we were there. Score!

We stayed out until about 2am on Thursday night, then got up around 8am to hit the slopes by 9:30am. It took me a little longer, since I had to go to the rental shop and get fitted for a helmet and skis, so by the time I met up with everyone for my first run, they had already gotten several in.

The last time I went skiing was in Keystone, Colorado, after the Run Through Time Marathon, and I had what I thought was just a bad day. I felt like I couldn’t get any traction, and when turning, I found it really hard to catch an edge. As a result, I had taken a nasty fall that forced me to take a toboggan down the mountain and quit skiing for the rest of the day (luckily, my knee healed up just fine after that). So this was my first time skiing after that mishap… but as soon as I hit the slopes, I felt like I was skiing just as poorly as I had been then.

While my brothers are both excellent skiers (they were ski instructors growing up, and are used to being among the best on any mountain they visit), my sister-in-law was a beginner, so the two of us were content to stay on the beginner and intermediate trails while the guys went off to do the double diamond experts-only runs. However, I thought the difference in Andie’s attitude was very marked compared to mine. Andie was much faster on all the trails we tried, whereas I was very timid, taking very wide turns and zigzagging my way across the trail. However, when we took a wrong turn and thought for a minute that we might have to take a single black diamond in order to get back on course, Andie later said that she would have sat down in the snow and waited for someone on the ski patrol to rescue her rather than try to go down that. Meanwhile, while I didn’t want to do any black diamonds, I would have given it a try and just done my best. Very different!

By the end of the day, I was really dejected by my performance. I used to be a pretty good skier – in fact, on the same mountain two years ago, I had been breezing through the blue intermediate trails and attempting a few single black diamonds. Now, I was skiing the intermediate slopes only when forced by peer pressure, and I wasn’t even entirely comfortable on all the beginner trails. What gives?!

Tonight – our condo fills up with various other friends of my brothers, and we’re hitting a bar called Jax for a meet-and-greet with the pro riders in town for the Dew Tour. Perhaps everyone will drink so much that we’ll cancel plans to go skiing tomorrow and I can stop feeling like I’ve become a skiing failure? I can only hope 🙂


5 thoughts on “Lost my alpine mojo”

  1. I was flying back from Florida today and your video came up. I totally OMGed. Anyway, long time no speak. Congrats on the 50 in 50. You’re a legit celeb these days. And to think, I ran with you back before you even started this quest. :thumbs.

  2. I flew one of those Cape Air planes from Boston to Nantucket and it totally freaked me out, and I’m a good flier. Fortunately I was not in the seat next to the pilot, but I was right behind her- which was still a little too close. Enjoy the rest of your ski trip! 🙂

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