Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ski 'n cheese

I slid off the road today on the way to the Nordic Ski Club's wine and cheese tour. Four inches of new snow atop freshly glared ice is a dangerous combination for little cars. It took a half hour of shoveling, eight people pushing and a truck with a tow line to get Geo out of the snow bank. Thank goodness for small-town hospitality.

I was pretty frazzled after the ordeal, but I did promise my editor I'd take photos at the ski 'n cheese. So I drove into the blizzard and hit the trail about 45 minutes late, with most of the pack far ahead and probably already polishing off the Swiss. The photo opportunities don't really get good until after the skiers have had their shiraz, so I didn't sweat it too hard. I skied into the blasting snow, trying to separate the trail from the landscape from the sky from anything else. I thought I was doing OK. But the adult nature of the event must have compelled the ski club to set up the expert course, because about 20 minutes into the run I came to an arrow pointing straight down the longest, steepest hill in the area.

I stood there in disbelief for two or three minutes, trying to imagine exactly how I'd get down that thing. Finally I decided I was going to point my skis in the classic "A" and go for it. It goes without saying that they crossed about 20 feet and 15 mph into my descent. Down I went, knee going one direction, body going the other, everything in a cloud of powder and skis and limbs. I literally stabbed myself in the back with one of my poles, wrenched my left knee and came to a sliding stop about halfway down the hill. So there I lay with my legs twisted around the one ski that didn't pop off, cursing the throbbing pain in my knee. I could feel something wet on my back and thought I was bleeding, but it turned out to be snow coming in where I had torn a hole in my coat. And all I could think was what an idiotic way this was to injure myself one week out from my race. So that was it. I took off my other ski and walked back to my beleaguered car.

My knee felt better later this evening, so Geoff and I went out for more skiing. He was going to show me some moves. What he mostly did was show me up; I could barely keep up. But I did find I could gain a lot of speed "skating" on my classic skis, and felt more comfortable moving that way anyway. Still ... I'm a terrible skier. I guess that's the only point this post has. Also, I wish it would stop snowing. T minus five days, ten hours 27 minutes and counting.