Free skiing! Ah, no!

By schussing emmet

It’s pretty much the story of my life. Now that I can ski free at the Camden Snow Bowl because of my advanced age, I can no longer ski because of my advanced age.
I suppose I could actually ski if I had to avoid a Nazi raid (I watch a lot of WWII television) but the appeal of skiing is letting your body relax as you careen down a mountain slope with the wind whistling in your ears. When it is done just right (rarely) it is like dancing on the snow. It took me forever to get to that point.
Even if I could summon up the energy to find and load boots, poles, gloves, hat-and oh yes-skis in the car for the 1.6 mile drive to the mountain to get my free pass, I would be obsessed with injuring an ankle, wrist, arm, leg, shoulder, knee, you name it. At this stage of the game a serious injury would plague what few days I have left. My good Pal Grady fell on ice in her own driveway and will be semi-crippled for her remaining days, even if they are spent in Hawaii. We are all getting older. Chief Al has another ailment every week and rarely takes wonder his dog Taser (He was the chief) for a walk any longer.
Only Carty, the former state employee and union organizer still hits the slopes. He even hits the perilous black diamond trails at Sunday River. I skied very few diamond trails in my career.
Most people would have learned to ski if they spent a winter at Mount Snow and roomed with Swiss ski instructors. Not me. When my breakfast waiter duties were done, I would slip back to bed and reject their offers for a few lessons. The night life in the valley was far more important. On one of my rare ski outings, I accompanied a fair maiden down the bunny slope. It was all ice, if I remember and she fell in a deep rut. I was unable to do anything but ski directly into her back. That must have hurt. It was like a Three Stooges movie, trying to stand up on sheer ice on these rental skis. It was the story of my life. The low-speed accident occurred, naturally, directly under the ski lift which was carrying those Swiss smartasses up the mountain for their lessons.
“Hey Emmet, how’s it going? They yelled in their disgusting accents. If memory serves, I had to take off my skis (possibly my boots, too) to ever achieve a standing position again. I hope she recovered.
Most people in Camden start their kids skiing at age, like, five. I envy them and their little head-to-toe outfits and their total absence of fear. I started skiing at age 25 and didn’t really learn until I was 40, when I decided to hit the Snow Bowl three or four days in a row, not once a year. Daughter Aran decided to take lessons and I drove her every day, and then decided to ski while I was waiting. She, of course, took to it right away.
The one and only ski lesson I took was at Sugarloaf, where I was placed in the advanced class, for some reason. The lesson was held under the Gondola, the steepest trail on the mountain. I fell and fell and fell. At the end of the lesson, the instructor, who could not have been more than age 12, gave us all tips. “Put more weight on the downhill ski. Stand up straighter. Make your weight transfer more crisply.” When he came to me, battered and snow-covered, the little snot said “Emmet. I don’t know what to tell you.” Some lesson. Even when I (sort of) caught on later, I never skied the Gondola trail again.
Once Blue Eyes suggested we try it. We skied down and looked down that elevator shaft. She was willing. I was not. We had to take off our skis and trudge back up the trail to another, safer venue. Other skiers would slide up and ask if the Gondola trail was closed. “No, she is too afraid to try it,” I lied.
I am pretty sure I know where my skis are, somewhere in the barn.
But I have no idea where those heavy, miserable, painful boots are.
Thank God.