In anticipation of my next post about Niseko, Japan, I thought I’d share a little ski story about my last ski trip.
I’m not a skier. We went skiing as a family a handful of times growing up, and between ages 10-13 I probably skied a couple times a season, but for the most part, we were a Florida family who spent our winters (and summers) at the beach. The last time I went skiing I was 15 and I went on a church trip with a bunch of boys I’d known basically from birth. I lived in Virginia from years 10-13, and had probably gone a couple times a season during those years, so I was anxious to show these Florida boys the skills I’d learned since the last time we’d been skiing together.
When we took the first lift up (on our VERY first day) and started on a green that forked into a green and a blue option half way down. A few of the guys continued down the green slope ahead of me, wisely getting their ski legs back after a year spent away from the snow. I decided to show off and veer left down the blue slope. Boys will be boys, and they were not going to be out skied by a girl, so those who were still behind me came my way.
Pride came, very literally, before the fall. All was well and I was whipping down the mountain until a man in front of me wiped out head-over-skis. Suddenly, all I saw was a cloud of white powder and skis pointing at the sky, mere yards ahead of me. I put every bit of my weight on my left ski and ZOOM. Flew into a tree. Really. I basically flew off the slope and slammed into a tree just under the branches and slid down the trunk into deep snow.
I feel like I remember (although it could just be that I’ve been told the story) that my best buddy skied to the side of the run and looked down at me, and asked, “Are you okay?” to which I answered, “I’m fine, just let me finish this painting.”
I was not fine: I had a concussion and two mildly sprained ankles. I rode the rest of the way down the slope on a snow mobile (which I described as a jet ski on snow) and got to watch tv in the lodge for the rest of the trip while the boys skied. I was still luckier than the guy who’d fallen in front of me. I later met him and got to check out his broken collar bone. He felt terrible.
All this to say, I was a little unsure about our trip to Niseko. I became increasingly unsure as each couple backed out one by one, and by the end, I found out that I would be the only girl on the ski trip (again) until the last day.
This time around was different though. I had none of my 15-year-old cockiness, and we were old enough to drink beer half-way through the day. I fell in love with Japanese powder (Japow!), and soaked my aching muscles at a different onsen every night. My husband kept me company on the baby slopes every morning, and I discovered night skiing solo is my favorite way to ski. It didn’t stop snowing all week and the flakes came down as big as potato chips. I’m pretty sure Niseko is every winter dreamer’s dream.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.