Minor violation of No Injuries Policy® reported
My day of hooky with my delightful fourth-grader turned out to be one of the greatest ski days ever. There was a substantial violation of our No Injuries Policy, I’m sorry to report, but I’ll get to that. She had a choice of Gore, Mount Snow or Jiminy, and she chose Gore, which looked good to me because it was supposed to be warm for the first time in weeks (they’d actually closed much of it down because of cold) and there was supposed to be sun. We got out nice and early and after a while my normally silent backseat partner started getting chatty. Not much like her, but nice for a change. She was actually looking out the window and pointing out things that were familiar along the way. Normally her nose is in a book and the world passing by gets no notice.
We got to the mountain a little after 9. The parking lot was more full than I’d expected, but still not bad. The thermometer on the truck said 9 degrees, or about 20 degrees short of what we’d been promised. We just agreed that whenever we got cold we’d go inside for a while, that we had all day to cruise. But by the time we’d gotten booted up and bought our tickets and had a little carbo infusion (I now swear by Gu for an absolute energy rush), the sun was out and it was warming up and that was the last time we thought about the temperature. We ran a couple of nice easy runs, and Hannah got to do Cut-Off, which is just a little speed chute that ends in an uphill climb, so no matter how fast you go down it, as long as you keep your skis in line you’re going to come out okay. We missed it the first time because they actually took out a gigantic powerline tower that had presented a fairly dangerous obstacle near the top of the trail, but without it I didn’t know the way and we ended up on a different trail. Anyway, after the easy runs we took the gondola to the top and ran all over the other side of the mountain. The view was spectacular — the sky was clear and you could see for hundreds of miles, and the clouds were set down in the valleys so it appeared the snowy peaks were emerging from a river of clouds. We were both having a breakthrough day, when everything just comes together. I’m trying to get better on the steeps, and had been challenged by making my transitions between turns quickly enough, and she is just getting into using her edges. But I had a real breakthrough in transitions yesterday, focusing on timing my pole plants and letting my hands lead my rhythm. Stuck to the intermediates because she’s just getting used to the shaped skis, but she did manage one of the diamonds there last year and, more importantly, so did I. We had a blast up there, then descended to the main mountain, took a run down Sleeping Bear, which is narrow, fast and pretty. As she was going down, I was going to reprimand her for Daffy-Ducking with her poles, seemingly just slapping them back and forth on the snow, and then I looked at her feet and realized that she was really doing perfect pole plants that set her up for perfect little turns, one right after the other, small and precise, that kept her in great control as she whizzed down the fall line instead of traversing the entire trail. It was amazing. She said she had been watching the racers do it. Then back up and over to Cut-off again and down for lunch.
Got fed and took another run at Sleeping Bear, and on the way up decided that we would try the trail right under the lift, which was moguls but not real steep and not deeply cut. She went down them like a champ, and I hung behind, but at the very end of the run she was going a little too fast and leaned backward, started to fall and planted her pole, and down she went. I got down to her very quickly. She’d lost a ski and pole and was crying and said she was hurt in her shoulder. Of course, having watched her mother break her arm, that had to be running through her head, but she was tremendously brave. I thought we could get help faster if she could ski the rest of the way down to the lift and then ride back up to the top where the ski patrol was, and she was able to do that. She stayed calm and strong and she cried when she had to, but she was okay. Got her to the ski patrol, who bundled her up on a sled and slid her down to the nurse’s station at the base. They really knew what they were doing and took tremendous care of her. Of course, we were done for the day, and she was pretty depressed, but she started to perk up on the ride back home, and where at first she had wanted to just go home, she eventually decided she still wanted to go out for dinner with me. So we did that, came home, iced her shoulder up some more and prepared to tell her mother about the violation of the no injuries policy. The first time I said that, it wasn’t funny, but by the time she was ready for bed, she said it with a roll of her eyes, and we knew the worst of it was over.
Tonight, a date, of sorts. Dinner, and a party, though not, I believe, a drunken bacchanal. I’ll get to that story, I promise.