Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Giant

The letter "D" is bad news when describing ski hills. Drop of Doom, Devil's Dive, Descent of Danger . . . if you see any of those names when you get off the lift, find a different slope. Names that start with the letter "G" indicate a less radical ride, but are still crazy. Like Giant and Gargantual. If I were permitted to stay in my comfort zone, I would choose hills that start with the kinder, gentler letter "S" - like Sunbowl and Sissies Slide - but skiing with young people keeps a guy from getting entrenched in mediocrity.

The "D's" and "G's" hold an irresistible attraction to young skiers. Take the Giant for example. The first time I skied it, I felt like I was falling out of an airplane. I quickly learned not to hesitate at the top . . . there are times when it is expedient to act without thinking. Once I conquered it, I was all "been there, done that, don't need to do it again" . . . and started easing my way back into mediocrity. Until my 11 year-old daughter arrived on the ski hill.

No young skier can be satisfied unless they have done the Giant. On Friday, I knew I could stall no longer, and being the semi-courageous dad that I am, I told Vanessa we'd do it together. In the back of my mind there was a faint and vain hope that one shot would cure her, but when I caught up at the bottom, she greeted me with an exuberant "C'mon Dad! Lets do it again!"

It doesn't help that those ski patrol guys with the cool jackets and backpacks do the Giant all calm and slick and smooth. I think they have an unfair psychological advantage contained in those backpacks. You probably thought they carried brandy or hot chocolate or first aid supplies. I say they've got a parachute hiding in there.

The ski patrol thing intrigues me, and I've thought of signing up. On top of getting a cool jacket, it would put my first aid skills to good use, with a bonus of giving quality ski time as well. Of course, that would mean eventually facing the Devil's Dive. Maybe once I've had my parachute training . . .

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