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2003-02-24 - 11:59 a.m.

Icy Hills are Fun!

Skiing was awesome. I had the best time. In fact, I kept saying that over and over to The Scientist, "I'm having the best time! This is so fun!" I think he would have gotten annoyed with me except that it's difficult to be annoyed with someone who's having a great time. I wish I had taken pictures, but I was afraid of falling on the digital camera, so I left it in the car.


The place we went is about 40 minutes away and we had to stop to pick up one guy on the way--with all of the organizing (there was a group of six of us) we got there a little later than planned, but still with three hours of night skiing before the hill closed.

Most of us were beginners so we started on the bunny hill. It wasn't the bunniest of the bunny hills (that was reserved for a teeny tiny little slope with a conveyer belt that people stood on to take them up) and it did have it's own chair lift, but it was pretty small. The hardest part for me was getting to the chair lift - it was icy and there was a slight slope up before you went down to the chair lift entrance and I kept slipping and sliding in one place instead of going forward.

The chair lift was a little scary for me. I didn't like being up in the air with no safety bar and until I figured out how to pull it down, I felt too exposed on the chair lift. Plus I always wonder what would happen if I fell (or jumped) off.

My first trip down the small bunny hill was successful - no falling and I felt mostly in control. We did it again, though, before moving up to the bigger bunny hill (still definitely a bunny hill, but with a different chair lift that went further up). The middle bunny hill was definitely faster and there was one spot near the end where I had to figure out how to turn and then stop, but I still did ok. It was way more fun to go faster.

The Scientist went down the bigger bunny hill one once or twice and then wanted to go down the big part of the mountain with two of the other people in our group. I wasn't ready for that yet so I stayed behind with the other two beginners (one of whom could have gone to the big hill, but she stayed with her husband who didn't know how to turn or stop and was the most beginner of beginners). We went back to the small bunny hill two more times and I was amazed at how much easier it was already. It gave me a lot more confidence and I started trying to turn more sharply and stop more quickly. We went back to the bigger bunny hill a couple of times and then met up with the rest of our group again.

They were raving about the big hill and said that there were plenty of easy routes down that weren't much harder than the bigger bunny hill, just longer. So I went up the big hill! I had sworn at the beginning that I would be on the bunny hill all night, so this was a big step for me. They were right and it was really fun. I followed The Scientist down (he promised to go slow enough for me). There was one minor mishap when I didn't realize I was supposed to go right instead of left (as a rule the easier slopes were to the left). I couldn't make the turn in time (it was at a steeper part) to follow The Scientist and went shooting off to the left while he went right. Luckily there were two guys in front of me so I followed them and figured out how to get out of there and end up at the same place as The Scientist. In fact, I beat him (and everyone else) down. I couldn't figure out what was going on until he came down and said that he saw someone wipe out behind him and thought it was me so he stopped to wait for that person and then was surprised when it was a complete stranger. I told him that I hadn't made the last turn and that I hadn't fallen at all. We convinced everyone to go down for the second time and it was cool to all be on the same part of the hill. After going down the big hill twice, we decided to take a break for drinks and food.

We went into the ski lodge and hardly anyone else was there. We realized it was probably because most of the people there were under 21 - there were lots of snowboarder kids. We ordered some overpriced greasy food and drank hot chocolate and beer (not together). Then it was back out to the big hill.

The Scientist and I got separated from everyone else (we got through the chair lift line faster) and went down together a bunch of times. The line for the chair lift was a lot shorter as all the young kids were taken home by their parents. I think we went down four more times before calling it a night at 9:45 (the whole place closed at 10). We turned in our gear and drove back home. I kept exclaiming, "I had the best time!" in the car the entire way back. When we got home my mom had left a message so I called her back and told her all about it. She was amazed because even though I grew up in the Far North, I never had any interest in downhill skiing. Now The Scientist and I have vowed that the next time we visit my parents in the winter we'll go to one of the ski resorts near Anchorage.

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