I said I was sorry and I said I'd put my weight on my toes this time but, of course, they weren't interested in apologies.
Eventually I stopped dragging my feet and we were dressed and ready to go.
Out on the mountain, my ankles reminded me to lean forward. They'd shoot their warnings up my legs every time I leaned back even a little, and I knew if I kept that up I wouldn't be able to make it through the whole day. So I practiced. I leaned forward again, and then again, correcting my balance over and over, unlearning years of self teaching, learning how to do something I already loved doing. It felt weird and unnatural. I felt a little bit out of control and asked if we could go ski green hills for a bit while I practiced
And then it clicked.
I popped out of my turns and shifted my weight from one leg to the next almost effortlessly and felt far more in control of my movements than I ever had before. It felt so good that my hands went up in a victory pump and I shouted as I carved that green hill all the way down on my toes.
So we ventured on to harder hills.
And, you know what, despite all the pain and the difficult work of correction, it was by far my favorite day. The moguls were easier, and it gave me such a rush of adrenaline to see a path to improvement. I still have a long way to go, but it felt good.
And doesn't this story just yield itself to some great life lessons? It's easy to get comfortable in the way we're running our lives, it's easy to follow the same patterns and feel like everything is going smoothly. But God knows that there are places in our lives where a small change in our form would open up so much more to us, and sometimes the only way for him to get us to understand is to let us feel a pain that's strong enough for us to want to make that change.
Anyway, enough of that. Let's talk about my favorite hill.
My favorite hill was also my least favorite hill. Because while most of it was beautiful, fun, challenging and exciting, the first fifth of it was a steep sheet of ice.
Here's Brian on that portion:
He's the one down in front. I promise you, it was much steeper than it looks in this photo, and the fact that it was a complete sheet of ice all down the middle and most of the sides made it feel even steeper. People were crashing all over the place.
Brian was there for a while... his ski had popped off in the crash, and the hill was steep enough that he had trouble getting the ski flat enough for him to be able to click his boot into it, but there was no loose snow with which to build himself a shelf. So instead, he had to hack away at the ice until he eventually created a shelf to place his ski into and finally re-click his boot.
We went down this run over and over again, and each time I just prayed that I'd get down this one portion in one piece so I could enjoy the rest of it.
By the end of the day we were exhausted. I've never skied three days in a row before. After the lifts closed we sat in these chairs, and I swear to you there have never been more comfortable chairs.
We had spent most of the day with Allison and Raymond again, and partway through we bumped into Ravi and were happy that he joined us for the rest of it.
Here's another perspective on the common 'toes in the sand with the ocean behind them' picture we all love so much:
I know I said this in a previous post, but I love to watch Brian with these guys. He has landed in a work atmosphere that he loves, full of good people that have similar personalities and interests. They have become such good friends for him.
Here Brian is, convinced that if he does this enough times dressed in all the ski gear and boots, he'll drastically improve his vertical jump:
That night, we went with Allison and Raymond to Fireside Dining which was a fun and unique experience.
As we walked in, the lady at the coat closet insisted that she take my coat. I smiled and hugged my warm coat around my body and said, "actually, I think I'm going to keep it. I feel a little chilled."
"It will get much warmer as you get in further," she responded.
"That's okay. If I get hot I'll just put it on the back of my chair."
She got a little irritated and said, "We've been picking up chairs off the floor all night... and it's a very busy night so we have a lot of tables and chairs packed in there... there really isn't enough room---" I interrupted her panicked monologue with a little, "okay, how about you take my coat." She looked triumphant as I unzipped it and handed it over.
And, for the record, she was right, it was plenty warm inside with all of the fires cooking the food in all of the rooms.
It was called Fireside Dining for a literal reason... we dined near the fireside, or firesides, I should say, in courses. First course was cheese, melted off a giant cube hanging near the fire and dripping onto plates which were handed to us and which we then took over to a table full of cured meats and small, colorful potatoes, and olives, and mustards which we were to eat with the cheese.
It was incredible.
There were then steaks, and stews and soups and some kind of fancy hash browns slathered in creme fraiche. There was pork and lamb and salads and, to top it all off, flambe and chocolate fondue. Each course was stationed around its own giant fireplace where the food was cooked and handed out by servers... it was quite the fun experience.
And then, to end our evening, Brian and Allison wanted to go on a sleigh ride over the mountains. And since it would have been quite awkward for Brian and Allison to go alone, Raymond and I went too.
I was sure at this point that I was not ready to go home yet.
Brian and I stayed up late that night talking about the trip. Analyzing moments and deciding to do a better job at teaching our kids how to ski.
We woke the next morning to a fresh foot of fallen snow and prayed our little Nissan down the icy roads. There were a few tense moments and one moment where we had completely lost control of the car for several seconds, but all was well in the end. We made it into Farmington to see Con and Jean, and Heidi, Adam and Steve came for dinner as well. We were only able to stay a couple of hours, but it was great to say hello and hug them for a bit before we were on our way to the airport and then on our way home to the kids.
Until next year, Deer Valley.