It’s been years, sixteen to be exact, since the last time I set my feet into boots and those boots into skis to head down the snowy ski slopes of a mountain. Between then and now, I snowboarded for about four years, but in the twelve years since then, I have not once set foot anywhere near a ski resort.
I am not sure why I left the slopes for good, but I guess life just got in the way, and honestly, I never actually saw myself getting back out there. But with the Year of No Limits in full swing, I decided it was time; so, with a few friends, I headed up to Windham Mountain this past Sunday.
Only two and a half hours away from New York City, Windham Mountain is the perfect escape for the day. We left early that morning and were back home by 7pm, with plenty of time on the mountain. Not once did we feel rushed, or that the drive was too much.
But, convenience was not the only reason I chose to head up to Windham to get reacquainted with skiing. Growing up, my grandparents lived about twenty minutes away, and so it was on these slopes that I first learned how to ski and snowboard. It is a place I hold near and dear to my heart, and it only made sense that it would here that I would begin my journey again.
Windham made easing back into skiing as painless as possible with well-marked stations set up to get all my gear. The first step was to head to the computers to register, then get fitted for boots, rent a bin for all of my belongings, and get my skis. Not only was everyone who worked there helpful, but they were also so nice and encouraging when I told them it had been years since I had skied.
While I’ll admit I was a bit nervous once my skis were actually on, I tried my best to think positive, and my friends talked me through my nerves. The entire time I waited for the ski lift, I had a pit in my stomach; that feeling of leaving my comfort zone was there, there’s no doubt about it.
Anxiously, I loaded on the ski lift and hoped for the best; I kept positive until it was time to get off and I came to the realization that I remembered nothing about skiing. I panicked a bit, but my friend, Erin, gave me a few pointers. These were enough to at least get me down the mountain and built my confidence back up. But, honestly, I should have probably taken a lesson, especially because skiing has changed quite a bit since I was last out there.
I went down a few times on the green trails, the easy ones, with plenty of children flying by me. All I could think about was the fact that I used to be one of those fearless children, and now here I was, so worried about falling that it took me a while to enjoy myself. Though, I did think I looked pretty good in my new ski gear, so at least there was something.
Just before lunch, I finally got the hang of it, and felt like my old skills were coming back, so when my friends asked me to try the intermediate trail, I was all about it.
While the view from the top of the mountain was absolutely beautiful, the ride down was pure torture and I spent much of the time sliding down on my butt. This even prompted a boy, around the age of eight, to ask me if I was okay, which I thought was sweet, but it added to my humiliation. Years ago, that would have been me asking someone older if they were okay, not understanding why they were having so many issues.
However, this was also an aspect of Windham that I loved. It’s a place that is centered around family and the people who ski and snowboard there, along with the staff, just tend to be friendly in general.
After I finally dragged myself down the mountain, I decided to call it quits for the day and park it by the fire pit with a large cup of hot chocolate. As the snow began to gently fall, I sat around people watching. Some were headed home, others heading back up the mountain, but no matter what they were doing, everyone was happy. The area was filled with smiles, laughter, and the chatter of voices and excitement from a day spent with loved ones. It was hard to see what was not to like about spending a day out skiing and snowboarding; this was the life.
Even though I struggled with my time on the slopes, I will definitely not be waiting another sixteen years to get back out there. Ideally, I would love to attempt skiing again this year, and try snowboarding again as well. Either way, I need to make sure I am taking advantage of the cold weather and enjoying each and every moment that the winter brings. It’s much more fun than sitting home and complaining; this weekend was proof of that.
A special thanks to Windham Mountain for taking special care of me. They may have given me my lift ticket, rentals, and bin to hold my belongings, but the experience and opinions, as always, are all my own.