Christmas vacation 2021 we decided to spend away from home with the dogs in Garmisch. I’m going to tell this story now as it was a pretty traumatic event, but it’s an example of why you need to “get back on that horse” so to speak.
I hadn’t been skiing in many years, but I considered myself an “advanced” skier as I’ve been many times over my lifetime. We arrived at the slopes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, strapped on our skis and got the kids lessons for 3 days. We were gonna do this right. Justin and I dropped the kids off and took the Gondola up to the easy slopes. Well…if you’ve been skiing in the alps you might know these are not necessarily the same easy slopes you’d see in the states. I’ve been skiing in Colorado, the Carolinas, and New Hampshire. We get to the top and quickly map out our path.
Firstly I’ll note conditions were crap, and the snow was insanely icy. We start down this one slope and it’s anything but easy. Justin and I both fall a number of times and getting back up is exhausting after the 4-5 time. One spill I slide down the slope about half way and smack my head pretty hard. I’m determined and I get back up to catch up to Justin.
We make a turn onto what we we think is an easy (blue) slope. I don’t know if it wasn’t or I was just beat by this point. Justin’s doing ok but I fall again and I can’t stop sliding. Despite trying to dig my skis in…I keep going and I get turned around. Justin’s there and I’m crying and I can’t do it anymore. The slope looks more daunting down the road and at this point I sit down in the snow and try and rest. We have a couple people stop to see if I’m ok, one very nice German instructor who tries to help me get up and get my skis back on. He’s patient and I get up and still keep sliding down and I take him out a couple times trying to get straight. He’s all the while very encouraging and telling me I can do this. I give up again and tell him it’s ok, thank you and we will get down. He smiles and leaves us.
I start to cry and Justin’s doing his best to be supportive but at some point we have to get our kids and we’re not even half down the mountain. I try to get up again and the skis will not grip even sideways. I slide down more out of control and at this point I’m convinced I’m going to die. If I try and ski down I am going to die. That’s it. Game over. Dead. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I manage to get to a snow maker piling and sit down, call the resort lodge and have them send a ski patrol to get me. Meanwhile a nice couple stop and give me a little metallic heating blanket. They send an amazing ski guy named Kyle to assess my situation and he’s also amazing and kind. I’m clearly done and they call for a ski stretcher.
At this point I’m exhausted, crying and beyond embarrassed. They strap me in and skinny German guy is going to tow me down in a stretcher behind him. This does not bring me comfort. He gets us down after some slipping and sliding of his own too. I’m immensely relieved and my husband gets down the slope with the other instructor literally carrying my skis. I’m alive.
I didn’t ski the rest of the day…or the next. My kids took their lessons and are now in love with skiing. I have two choices after that day. I can say forget this, I’m never skiing again and spend my days at the bottom of slopes drinking gluhwine watching my family have fun or I can have some faith that I did know how to ski it was just a bad day. I schedule a lesson and start once again from the beginning. My wonderful husband does this with me for support. I get back on the horse and I’m glad I did. My body and ego were very bruised but repairable. We’ve since been skiing more than 6 times over this season and it’s been some of the most enjoyable moments I’ve had with my family. I still have moments at the top of slopes, especially new ones we have not skied where the panic creeps in. I do my best to stop it and carry on. It’s terrifying some days still but so much fun. So carry on! Here’s to the next ski season!