We spent a few more days in Murfreesboro visiting friends and family and then bid our farewells to head back north. We found a few places to sell a handful of goods on our way and were soon back at Shan and Davey’s.
Flea and Queen Jane came over, and Davey grilled up a batch of barbecue chicken, or “chee” as he called it. There was talk of a trip to the “slopes.” “Have you ever been skiing?” They asked.
“Only water skiing on a lake,” I said
“Snow skiing is different than that! What you say, we all go up to Whitetail Ski Resort and go skiing!”
“Sure, why not! But it’s warm, and there isn’t any snow.”
“That’s not a problem! They have these huge machines that make snow and blow it onto the mountain slopes,” they assured us.
So we finalized the plans for the following weekend.
Learning to Ski on Snow
The weekend arrived, and we loaded all the gear and ourselves into the cars. It was a relatively short drive, and we were staring at snow-covered slopes before long. Donna and I followed and imitated the others as we put on our boots and snapped into the skis. They checked to make sure we did it right. Awkwardly, we approached the point to allow the lift to catch us. There wasn’t much time to situate into position as the oncoming seat scooped us up in a whoosh as we went!
Our lift only took us to the top of the “kiddie hill.” Davey and Flea gave us the basics, keep your skis pointed a little “pigeon toed” or “pizza formation,” bend your knees, look up, not down, etc. Children whizzed by us looking much more pro on the slopes than us true beginners. While Donna needed a little more care, I didn’t do too badly after awkwardly trying several times. Before long, I felt that I was ready for the next level up.
After a few times of catching the lift, I let it scoop me up and away. This time I was going a little further up the hill with some of the bigger kids. After a minute or two of surveying the course, and several other people pushing by me as they left the lift, I summoned my courage and slid onto the downward slope. The speed was considerably faster as I felt the skis slapping against the icy tundra below me. I managed to get to the bottom without falling as I stopped before running into anyone. It was a definite ‘rush’ of adrenalin! Maybe I should try it again!
Up a Level
I managed to take the second level several times before feeling I had mastered it. Dave and Flea had been taking on the ‘big course’ and asked how I was doing. I told them that the ‘big course’ looked like something I wanted to try now that I knew how to turn and stop. They said, “Sure, let’s go! You can probably handle it!” So, off we went to catch the lift to the top. I could see Donna down on the ‘kiddie’ course and called down to her that I was going to the top with Dave and Flea. She looked back at me wide-eyed with what now seemed like a shocked expression.
When we got off the lift, they told me to be careful that there was an immediate turn to the right but that I could handle it. Flea took off as I watched him make the turn. Then Dave gave me a thumbs up and slid down and to the right. I went for it! No matter how hard I tried, I could not make the turn. I slammed right into the big orange net that was fortunately there for people like me. I was stuck Into it with my skis, looking like some cartoon figure. I managed to get loose and climbed back up to try again. I secured my skis on the boots and soon pushed off the starting point. Swoosh! Thump! As I again speared the net with my skis.
By now, Flea and Davey had made it back to the top and suggested I don’t worry about that first turn and start from there as there were no more turns. That sounded like a good idea! So I got myself together, checked the boots were locked into the skis, and pushed off into the unknown.
I immediately saw that the course dipped down reasonably steeply with a hump that created a jump. I have always enjoyed watching the ski jump competitions in the Winter Olympics, but as small of a hump as this was, it seemed similar to me. I went sailing up into the air and was surprised when my left ski fell off. I could see it skittering off to one side of the course. Suddenly I landed on my right ski and continued down the route.
I was proud of myself for not falling and recouping some composure when I arrived at the second ‘hump.’ Again, I went sailing into the air, but this time the landing was not so graceful because when I hit, the other ski came off, and I went sliding, ‘spread eagle,’ down the remainder of the slope.
I’m not sure how the skis made it back to me, but I managed to make my way down to the ‘kiddie’ slope, where I rejoined Donna. She had had enough, and quite honestly, so had I. We made our way to the restaurant/ bar, had a stiff drink, and waited for the rest to finish their skiing fun.