Here’s the fifth and last post in the Northern vs. Southern Snow Blizzards Series. Those of you following along with this series know I’m rating them for which ones gave me the most trouble. The New York City blizzard of 2010 got the fourth rating, which means it was the least difficult. The heavy snows in New Jersey of 2010 and 2011 was given a rating of number three, and the Atlanta snow/ice of 2014 came in second. (I just edited that post to include how one of my daughters got poison ivy while playing in the snow.)
As for my worst experience with snow, it was while on a family ski vacation in December of 2005 in North Carolina. I had only been on one other ski trip prior to that vacation. In fact, I chose to have my honeymoon in the Poconos when Daryl and I married. Since I lived near the beach, I wanted to try something new with my new husband. We enjoyed riding horses in the snow, driving a snow mobile, having snow ball fights, and building a snowman. We also took a ski lesson and went skiing for the first time in both of our lives.
My first time in skis was on a bright and sunny day, and it was an easy mountain to go down. After going down the mountain once, a busload of children arrived, and I remember wondering if it was a school field trip or something. They were so small and looked to be from an elementary school, and each of them went down the mountain effortlessly. I was scared of hitting them, and I decided to stop skiing. Instead, I sat down and watched them ski while Daryl continued to ski with them.
Fast forward to almost seven years later, and Daryl decided it would be a great idea to take the family on a ski vacation. We had two teenagers, a five-year old, and a child under the age of two. My father-in-law also joined us.
The night we arrived at the lodge, it was snowing and wet outside. My little one had a massive diaper accident, and I was cold and busy the moment we arrived. On the following day, the two teenagers took snow boarding lessons while my husband took our five-year old to her ski lesson. I would like to add that he stayed at each of her lessons each day while I stayed in our rooms, cooking and caring for the baby. (I remember continuously telling my father-in-law we could be on a beach at that very moment.)
Each day the children came in excited, telling me about the fun they were having skiing and snowboarding. In the evenings, Daryl would ski down the mountain while our teenagers snow boarded. It was towards the end of the week when Daryl reminded me I had not skied, and he got his father to watch the little ones that night while I joined him and our teens on the mountain.
Now, let me remind you that Daryl and the teens had been going to lessons that week. I had only been on skis once in my life, and it had been over seven years and was on a peaceful mountain. This was at night on a crowded ski slope.
When we arrived at the top of the mountain, our teens grinned, waved, and took off down the slope. My dear hubby smiled and said, “Ready?” After my nod, he smiled and took off also. I remember taking a deep breath and asking myself how hard it could be. Then I pushed off, and the nightmare immediately began.
I believe there are different types of snow for skiing, and on this particular night, the mountain had icy, slick snow. That means it was real easy to go fast, super fast. In fact, if you didn’t know how to slow down, you could find yourself dangerously speeding down the mountain. To make it more interesting, if you really didn’t know how to ski, you would crash often, and I’m not talking small falls either . I’m talking about skis flying up in the air, flipping, and sliding. Then you would have to crawl to each of your skis and restart the terrifying process.
I literally fell all the way down that mountain at a super fast, lightning speed. I kept screaming, “Watch out! Coming through! Sorry!” I also admit to tackling more than one person that evening. I also remember this one man fussing at me about how I should slow down, and I was going too fast. (Duh!!!) I then asked him how to slow down, and he frowned and left me there. He thought I was being sarcastic when I was desperately seeking his advice!
I can honestly say I thought I was going to die on that mountain. After each horrendous fall, I would say a prayer before forcing myself to begin again. It was a horrible feeling knowing I would soon be crashing again, and I wondered which crash would be the one to break my neck.
When I finally arrived at the bottom of the mountain, I refused to get on the ski lift, because I did not want to chance getting off at the wrong spot. I just wanted to go back to our lodge (hot shower in mind). I walked to the bus stop and was told I had just missed the bus (just my luck for the night). I waited over an hour in the freezing cold for the bus to go all the way up the mountain and back down again. Towards the end of my wait, two of the workers put me in their warming hut (a tiny closet-sized building with a heater). I was freezing cold!
When I finally got on the bus, it took forever for it to drive up the mountain, and by this time, many hours had passed. I was beyond happy when it pulled up to the lodge, and I ignored the teenagers when I walked into our rooms. It wasn’t until I was in a steamy, hot shower that I finally listened to what they were saying.
It seems my husband had gotten worried over my disappearance, and he and my father-in-law had gotten the ski patrol to search for me. My father-in-law later told me that Daryl was terrified I was unconscious on the side of the mountain somewhere, and he had never seen his son that worried. (Serves him right! Leaving me on that mountain! Taking me skiing!)
While flying down that mountain, I had wondered a lot about my husband having an insurance policy on me. Now that I’ve sat back and looked over the situation, I guess I should be happy he had confidence in my capabilities. I’m very outdoorsy and not a squeamish female. Hunting and fishing were things I often enjoyed before marrying him. He’s never had to be gentle or delicate with me, and I appreciate that greatly. He believes in me and considers me capable of anything (except when it comes to driving, directions, and math). However, I’m thinking it wasn’t fair that he went to lessons that week while I did not. Just a thought.
Our teenagers said they had seen me while they were on the ski lift, and they both thought I was a pro skier. (Hah!) They said nobody else was flying down the mountain that fast, and they thought I knew what I was doing. Obviously, they did not hear my screams!
As for another ski vacation, my husband can take the children if he wants. However, if I go with them, I will be spending my time at a spa or shopping. I don’t plan for skis to ever be on my feet again. In fact, I’m all for him taking the children on a ski trip while I go on a separate vacation to a spa. I’ll even be content with staying home alone and going on a writing binge while they frolic in the cold, wet snow. I do not belong there. My true happy place comes with flip-flops and sand (or even a desert or rainforest). I like heat!
To sum up the series, it seems that southern snow has caused me the most trouble. However, I’ll add that if we had not moved from New Jersey after those two winters, I would have to list it as number one.
I don’t have any pictures of the ski vacation in North Carolina. Instead, I thought I’d end this post with a comparison of snowmans. The first picture shows my capability at building one. They always wind up being called a snowblob. They also always have edible body parts. The one in this picture shows a small carrot for a nose. My young son kept stealing the carrots and eating them. One year I made the mouth out of dog food, and my dog kept stealing the mouth. My art is very limited and temporary.
Daryl is usually working on a snow day. However, the picture below shows the one snowman he made with the children while in New Jersey. I will admit to being a little bothered that his one attempt at a snowman is somewhat better than my many attempts at a snowblob. It only goes to show that my sister (an artist) took all the talent in that area of our family. I just don’t have the patience for it I guess.