Monday, January 11, 2010

in which the cold is vitally important: スキーが好き*!

Because without the cold we could not have things like snow. And I'm not talking, this time, about a dusting that would make Georgia proud. I'm talking about feet and inches (or I guess tens of centimeters?) of snow built up over days and days in the mountains of Hyogo. I'm talking about Hachikita.

Hachikita is a snow park. I joined Miri, her boyfriend, and his friend for an all-day adventure towards the frozen mountain slopes. The boys are veteran snowboarders who apparently go skiing and boarding all the freaking time. Miri went on a ski trip with her school this one time ten years ago. And I, well, I had never strapped on a pair of skis in my entire blessed life. (Georgia, remember? But no, not even water skis.) I was way too excited about the amount of falling I felt sure I was about to do.

Even the drive was an adventure; as we got farther north, it got snowier and snowier, until we pulled over into one of the shoulders provided for just this purpose and added snow chains to the tires.

By we, I mean the guys did. Notice that we are not alone. Cars all up and down this area were pulling over to put on these things.

We are now much safer.

Which is a good thing, because the road started looking like this.

And we started seeing REAL SNOW or something.

Our snowboarding friends helped us find our way to the rental shop so we could get outfitted with the works. I love snow pants and snow jacket so much, I want to own a set, so I can wear them all the time and be forever impervious to the winter wet.

Miss M is our model. Snowboard friends, background.

My friend Beau had advised me to take a ski class if it were available, so Miri and I signed up to diversify the learning group (it was us and like fourteen small children, most of whom seemed to be a lot better at not sliding down the gently sloping snow by mistake).


My first attempt at walking in skis was perhaps the most painfully frustrating moment of my life. I found myself literally sliding farther and farther backward/downward with every motion made intending to go forward/upward. It was torturous.

Eventually I developed some kind of coping strategy to deal with the fact that my feet were suddenly way too long, heavy, and slippery for any practical movement. It required a lot of poling myself around, which I suspect will come back to haunt me tomorrow in the form of amazing shoulder ache.

Ski school did teach us some important things like how to slow, turn, stop, and all that business, although by the time it was over I was really itching to get out there and start falling. Miri was for some reason less keen on the falling idea. I think it's because she has a bad back (legit).

Our snowboarding friend, from the top of the littlest slope.

We took the tiny slope a few times, I with the mien of an intent seven-year-old, quietly hurrying back into the conveyor belt lift line whenever I reached the bottom because I had to go again. I failed to fall on this small and gentle slope. The snowboarders then coaxed us into trying the adjacent slope and that's where my real career began. That slope started with such a bang (in the form of a steep drop) that I immediately snowbanked myself. The only problem with falling is that when your feet are like five feet long it is a lot harder to stand the ef up. More than once I got myself to a crouching position, only to find I was speeding off again before I had even got my hands back around my poles. Any time I started to go fast, I would put the brakes on, and when that didn't work well enough to suit my sensibilities, I would just take a snow dive sideways. Because those waterproof pants are awesome.

Miri and I conquered the bench ski lift, too. By the end, I was hardly falling at all except when I snowbanked rather than run over a small child. I think that might make me a hero. Not sure.

Our hero rockets down the mountain, determined and unafraid. (Dramatization.)

Another group of friends is going to Hachikita tomorrow, but I'm not sure I'm up for another round so soon. I messed up my shoulder a little bit doing swim strokes improperly, and it's pretty upset at me now for this afternoon's ski adventure.

All in all, it was a good day.

*スキーが好き, or "sukii ga suki" is me trying to be clever and play on the fact that the first "sukii" means "skiing," and the second "suki" means "like." So, "I like skiing!"

1 comment:

  1. you are a hero! no we can hit the slopes with out coloradoan cousins!