Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rolling Groans

By: Yuet Ng

Last year, my friends (Q, Lil, Alex, Pan) and I went to Sugarbush resort in Vermont to try out skiing. While everyone else went off somewhere warm for their spring break, the five of us drove down for some more snow. It was heck of a fun experience.

None of us took ski lessons. We were confident we would be okay as long as we stuck to the bunny slopes. Plus we were too cheap to spend the extra moola on lessons. After we had conquered the green runs though, we tried out the beginner-intermediate trail. What a rush it was to zip down the side of the mountain, winding through the narrow trails. Pan didn’t advance past the bunny slope. I think his ass got more contact with the snow than his skis. Alex got pretty good and he went off to the next level, a trail that was a combo of intermediate and expert slopes.

Like the idiots we were, Lil and I got the grand idea to try it out as well. I had only fallen once during the weekend of skiing so I was feeling lucky. Up we went. It was when we were actually at the top of the slope and we looked down that we started to realize what a mistake we’d made. Lil looked apprehensive. I tried to act confident even though I was quivering in my boots. The only thought in my mind was oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.

I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I think I was okay for the first… oh, 5 seconds. Then I lost control. Amazingly enough, I didn’t fall immediately. Instead, I zipped down most of the way at a frightening speed. I didn’t zigzag like you’re supposed to. Just kept on going straight. It’s too bad I didn’t make it to the end of slope. I guess I’d built up way too much speed by the last slope cause that’s when I flipped. Seriously, I flipped.

My head came down and my legs flew out behind me. Too bad it was a steep slope. Otherwise, I might have just fallen face forward and that would have been the end of it. Nope. That would have been too easy. My skis popped off and flew every which way. I lost my poles, and I bounced the rest of the way down. Ooh! Eee! Aah! I somersaulted, flip-flopped, spun around, you name it. I’m not exactly shaped like a ball, so the fall wasn’t a smooth one.

Holy fucking moly. It took a dang long time for me to stop too. During that time, I seriously thought that maybe that was it. End of my life. While this thought slid across my mind, I had my eyes open and I could see my surroundings whirling around me. I think I even saw the people in the lifts above me watching me roll down the slope. It’s a wonder that nothing poked out my eyes.

But stop I did. Face down buried in the wet snow. My arms and legs flung out (similar to a frog) like I was giving the side of the mountain a full body hug. Or like I was humping it, whichever. I had pitched face forward so I should have landed upside down with my head at the base of the slope. Yet I ended up right side up, with my legs at the base and my head pointing skyward. So my fall must have been a sight to behold for my body to shift positions like that.

I remember lifting my head to look up at the slope and thinking there was no way I could climb up to get my skis. My skis and poles were scattered all around about 3 to 6 yards above me. I was liable to slip and slide back down. I didn’t want to look even more of a fool. How embarrassing that a little kid, a boy I think, no more than 10 years old, had to retrieve my skis for me. He was the one who pointed out that my eyelid was bleeding. Another kid, a little girl, got my poles. Well I was crazy enough to ski the rest of the short way down, but not crazy enough to get back on that trail. That was it for me.

So what did I have to show for my efforts that day? An aching body, twisted eyeglass frames (no, I didn’t wear ski goggles… I’m an idiot remember?), and a cut on my eyelid. Oh, but it was fabulous. Yep, I loved it. The rush. The momentary fear. And I was pretty proud of my battle wound. Lil didn’t fare that well either. Soon after I sped off she also flipped. I heard it wasn’t an easy fall either. She put her skis back on. Flipped again. She must have fallen pretty badly cause a crowd gathered around her asking if she was okay. I think she lost one of her contacts in that fall. And then she walked the rest of the way down while Alex brought her skis down for her. It was great.

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