How To Break Things And Influence People

Ski Bunnies

The second quickest way to ruin your relationship with a person you love is to get them to teach you to drive. The quickest is to get them to teach you to drive stick.

If none of that works, you might ask them if they want to show you how to snowboard. That'll seal the deal, trust me. Since Sean and I have been there and done that (on all three counts, actually) it was decided that this weekend in Tahoe, I would ski. I am a marginally better skiier than I am snowboarder, but that's kind of like saying that Paris Hilton is marginally more intelligent than your average tree squirrel. In short, I kind of suck at both. The first time I tried snowboarding, I broke my wrist. The second, I fell off the ski lift, only to stand back up and have it HIT ME IN THE HEAD. I also scattered orange cones everywhere. And although I'd got maybe a little better during the number of mountain-bound trips Sean had dragged me on, I reasoned that at least if I didn't snowboard this weekend, I would cut down on the number of hours I'd spend on my bottom in the snow, having someone I'd hitherto been in love with shout "you need to use your edges! Why weren't you using your edges?"

As it turns out, he hit me instead with "I remember you being a much better skiier."

I remembered myself being a much better skiier, too, which was sort of disconcerting. Does the body forget how to fling itself down a mountain when one reaches 27? As I rode the lift by myself again and again and again---Sean was off on the black diamonds on his snowboard, while I stuck resolutely to the same three green runs---I watched countless, countless couples flailing in the snow, the girl twisted awkwardly with her rented snowboard over her head, shouting obscenities at her boyfriend, who was trying to help her up while delivering a smug sermon about how none of this would ever have happened if only she'd USED HER EDGES.

"Ha!" I thought. "I'm glad that's not me anymore." Then I pulled a Hersheys chocolate nugget from my pocket, and chewed it thoughtfully while the lift made its slow ascent up the mountain. I'd devised a system, you see, whereby I was rewarding myself with treats---like a dog! just like a dog!---when I made it down a run without falling over. By the end of the day, any positive benefits the vigorous exercise had had on my body had been negated by the sheer amount of chocolate I'd consumed to congratulate myself.

But I have to say, I was a far better skiier by the end of the second day---when we packed everything up again and headed back to San Francisco---than I was at the end of the first, when my entire mental state seemed to hang in the balance and was restored only after a hot shower, a mug of Baileys hot chocolate (more Baileys than chocolate) and the tail-end of Zoolander on TBS. As we crossed the Bay Bridge on Sunday night and saw the San Francisco skyline come into view, I felt a palpable sense of relief. Much like ice skating and Deal Or No Deal, the best part of skiing is when it's over.

Mar 07, 2007

"Much like ice skating and Deal Or No Deal, the best part of skiing is when it’s over."

i couldn't have said it better myself.

reluctant housewife
Mar 07, 2007

AMEN! I hate skiing. Yet, I married an Austrian.

Mar 07, 2007

That sounds exactly like the time Thomas tried to teach me to snowboard. Bastard.
I don't know why i didn't reward myself with chocolate or better yet, CHEESE! Can one take a pocketfull of brie on the ski lift or is sticky cheese forbidden?

Mar 07, 2007

I married a skier... A really good one! And then we bought a condo in a nice snowy town with a highly rated ski resort residing in it... so, at the ripe old age of 35, I thought I would learn to snowboard... That was last season... Just last weekend I FINALLY was able to use my edges, both of them! And I promptly ran into a child... he was fine, having much less distance to fall, but I was a mess... I mean, A CHILD! so, needless to say, that was the end of our day... But, sadly, I am really looking forward to going again next weekend! I mean, what if I ride BOTH edges and I don't run into a child... does that mean I am a snowboarder?
I'm glad you had an injury free weekend, and reward chocolate! At least you haven't commented on every part of your body, including your thumbs (!?) hurting from snowshoeing... :)

Mar 07, 2007

Me too! Wow! I, too, was lying wretchedly on a rented couch this weekend, feeling every untoned muscle in my body screaming out if I so much as blinked after a challenging day on the runs ( my husband thought it would be fun if he tried teaching me to ski in the woods. Did you know you can fall off the slightly packed snow on the trail and actually sink into a drift up to YOUR EARS?!?) and like you, I watched Zoolander! Thank God for TBS. Although, it hurt to laugh, so I self-medicated with a fine bottle of wine. Plus also some Snickers Minis.

Mar 07, 2007

Any sort of snowy, mountain-related sport is sure to result in pain...mental, physical, spiritual, whatever. A not-so-dear ex boyfriend of mine once laughed heartily as I ran into a tree and later, one of the poles holding up the ski lift. Hey, it was only my second...maybe third time snowboarding! Then the jackass left me and the walnut-sized lump on my head to go ski the diamond runs. Six years and one very nasty back injury later, I'm rather relieved I can stay home and watch Zoolander all the way through while the husband hurls himself down the mountain.

Mar 07, 2007

Oh god - awesome snowboarding boyfriends and just-learning girlfriends DO NOT MIX.

However, I will say this: now that I know how to snowboard, I realize that my boyfriend did give me the best piece of advice.


Infuriating, no? But SO true. It's amazing what happens when you finally take that plunge. And now I will NEVER go back to skiing! Snowboarding is one of the hardest things I've ever learned to do but I'm so glad I stuck with it.

(Sorry if this ends up being like my 3rd comment but something was going on where I lost the ones before!)

Mar 07, 2007

I was once taken to the top of a slope called Devil's Crotch. If that wasn't enough to scare me ... getting off the lift was. HELLO! WHERE WAS THE FREAKIN' MOUNTAIN?

I literally took off my skis and walked back and forth down the side of the mountain. Cursing.


I'm a green gal too ... not even blue. Green all the way.

Mar 07, 2007

Yeah. They made us ski in elementary school. I hated it. If God wanted me to propel myself around on pointy sticks, I would have been born with them. The thought of snowboarding is slightly intriguing but considering I'm limping around because I injured my knee somehow in the last day, I don't think it will ever happen.

You should come to Minnesota. There's actually a billboard here for Spirit Mountain that has a vacuous couple grinning and the words "It changed our lives." How? How does a mountain change your life? Is it your new religion? Did it save your marriage? What is so great about a mountain?

Hi. My name is Dana and I yell at billboards.

Mar 07, 2007

I have been skiing 5 times and each time I seem to get worse and worse. I like to think it's a medical condition. The last time I went skiing my friend Brian was trying to get me to come down a blue and he said he felt like he was teaching a puppy. He said he felt like he needed to put me on a leash to coax me down the run. Needless to say our friendship was a bit on shaky ground after that analogy.

Also I once faked an ankle injury so the snow patrol would come and pick me up so I wouldn't have to ski down the rest of the mountain. This was also on a GREEN run. So have no fear there are others out there who are much worse then you.

Mar 07, 2007

I tried to learn to ski in the '80s. Made the enormous mistake of wearing brand new Jordache jeans.

Everyone on the lifts could tell how many times I'd been down the hill by the number of bright blue denim dye ass-stripes.


My one and only flirtation with skiing ended later the same day, when I graduated past the bunny hill (crouch and shoot straight down, fall, skid) and found that I could only turn right. Right, as in right into a stand of trees and underbrush. One leg went east, the other went west, and my back went "CRUNCH"! It was nothing but saunas from there on out.

- M

Mar 07, 2007

I am a marginally better skiier than I am snowboarder, but that’s kind of like saying that Paris Hilton is marginally more intelligent than your average tree squirrel.

Best. Line. Ever.

Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 07, 2007

Marcheline, I HAD THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM! Well, the opposite, really. For the entire afternoon of my first day, I COULDN'T turn right. It was like a mental block. I'd go left, left, left, left and then FALL OVER. The irony was that when I watched Zoolander that evening, we turned it on right at that part where they're doing the Walk-Off on the runway, and Ben Stiller can't turn left. That was totally me. But on a mountain.

Mar 07, 2007

Trying to snowboard was possibly the hardest and most annoying thing I have ever done in my life. I was a decent skiier growing up when, at 23, I dated a snowboarding enthusiast. He spent the first trip doing everything for me - buckling my boots, getting me in and out of the board, wiping my nose - except for the falling down. Which I did practically every five minutes. I did more push ups that first trip than I have probably done in the last month alone, and I remember coming back from that trip feeling crippled. I spent two seasons trying to learn, and when we broke up, my first thought was, well, I can finally go back to skiing. Which I did, and fortunately didn't forget how.

Daily Tragedies
Mar 07, 2007

No way! I spent the weekend skiing in Tahoe, too, and I didn't see you anywhere! Admittedly, I'm weaning myself from the green runs and forcing many more blue runs, but you will NEVER EVER catch me on a black diamond run on purpose. And if you do see me there, I'll be strapping my skis together like a toboggan and riding that down the mountian to the safety of the pub inside the ski lodge.

Mar 07, 2007

The BF and I are celebrating our five year anniversary (!) in Tahoe this weekend...since we're more eaters then we are skiers, did you guys dine anywhere spectacular? We've never been to Tahoe and I'm terrified that we're going to be surrounded by elderly tourist types and be forced to eat Early Bird Specials(not that there's anything wrong with that).

Mar 07, 2007

This is *precisely* the second reason that I haven't skied/Snowboarded in a decade. A DECADE. Last year I *grudgingly* allowed my family to talk me into going snow-shoeing. My reward for a couple of hours of slogging through the snow? A torn hip ligment and six months of not being able to walk more than 5 or 6 blocks. Never, ever, ever again shall I touch the snow with the purpose of perambulating on, over or down it.

The other reason for no snowboarding? See how tiny and thin you are in your cute outfit? Everything that picture is, I am NOT. In the snow. Tahoe, though is absolutely beeyouutiful and I'd go up and stay in a cabin just for fun - I've yet to injure myself making a snowman.

Mar 08, 2007

I totally agree with you. I hate skiing. I am a passable skier - meaning i can get down the green slope without falling over and get off the ski lift shakily. But i have only been once for the entire day and i went home with a bad cold, a migrane and sore body. i never went back again because pelting snow annoys me. Unfortunately, my boyfriend loves to snowboard and he reports with triumph the feats he achieve at the slopes every weekend.

Mar 08, 2007

This captures the misery so perfectly. Everyone around me LOVES to ski! LOVES to ski! (exclamation points, theirs).

I may be a wuss in many regards, but nobody will ever sweet talk me into slinging my ass into a chairlift ever again.

Mar 08, 2007

you must be better than me to have broken your wrist snow boarding - the one time i tried it, i couldn't even stand up on the snowboard. oddly enough, it was my (ex-)boyfriend Sean that was trying to teach me.

i'm not much better at skiing either.

Mar 08, 2007

My lovely husband and I have an unspoken agreement about skis, snowboards, skates and in general all things winter. He is very athletic and loves to ski and in fact used to ski patrol and teach skiing to people like me. He says things like “I skied trees in thigh high powder” and “We made first tracks today and it rocked”.

I do not know what those phrases mean at all and in fact never want to learn. I can barely walk and chew gum and have been known to injure myself strolling through our house. Every once in a while, we get invited to go north and as good Canadians we go and spend more time in the snow. He now understands that I go for him and that for me, the trip will require a few extras – a visit to the spa and some nearby shopping facilities. I contemplate snowshoeing but never quite make it as a book always seems like a much better way to spend an afternoon. He gets his adrenalin rush and I relax and get pretty toes. Win/Win for both of us. I totally am in awe that you not only went skiing but did it on your own. The chairlift for me always seemed like the scariest place in the world and then you are standing at the top of a hill – and you did both of them many times! Bravo!!! And your reward program is ingenious! You are a brilliant girl and looked great in your ski outfit! Way to go! You are my hero!!!

Mar 08, 2007

PS - and I can never let him read this blog entry or he will say something like - 'See skiing isn't scary, you really do need to give it a try!". And that can NEVER happen!

The Other Ali
Mar 09, 2007

And all this time I thought I was the only one...
My first (and only, so far) boarding trip consisted of this:
"Use your edges!"
"Why aren't your turning like I showed you?!"
"Look out for that tree-oh crap!"
"Hmmm-that looks broken. Does it hurt?"
THWACK!! (That sound would be me hitting him with the unbroken arm.)

I am so happy to see you amde it out alive and minus any severe injuries. Congrats!
Now you get to have all the chocolate you want. :)

Mar 09, 2007

I'm a nonskier married to a skier. Skiing has never looked fun to me, but I tried it once for Ben's sake on a trip to Snowbird. I took a ski lesson that ended in tears, spent an additional day flopping about on the bunny slope while 3-year-olds whizzed expertly past me, and never attempted it again. Ski resorts, to my mind, are much better experienced from the lodge or cocktail lounge with the Bailey's.

Mar 11, 2007

So it's like ice skating? I've never skied before, I'm too scared and cheap, but I've done the ice skating thing and remember it fondly. Though I think the fondness has always come once I've kind of gotten the hang of it, and then we leave and get hot chocolate. Maybe I'll pretend I've been skiing all day and just go to a lodge and drink hot chocolate instead - skipping right to the fond memories part. Actually, that's what we do when we go away to Vermont - we don't ski, we drink. Lots. People look at us funny, but beer is an activity, too. Even a sport, if you do it right.

Mar 11, 2007

the good thing about commenting on your website, is it always reminds me I have one too, and then YAY i remember to update it.

I have NEVER seen snow, not ever, so I know nothing about snowboarding or skiing or anything, but a couple of nights ago I had this nightmare where I took the ski-lift, and couldnt work out how to get off, so I was stuck, for the rest of my life, living on a ski lift and people would give me food when I got to the ends, and some nice ski-lift operator guy even gave me a sleeping bag.

It didnt encourage me to make the effort to go see snow and take up snowboarding thats for sure

Mar 12, 2007

Haha - I have taught my husband to drive. That was bad enough, and it was an automatic. Thanks for the warning - we will never be going skiing!

Mar 12, 2007

I have to dispute your quickest ways to ruin a relationship. Clearly the fastest way to do that is to buy a ton of stuff at ikea and try to then pack your small car with your new purchases. The tetris-like game of loading up a car is always surrounded by the sounds of other couples yelling about how the car should be packed.