Well, friends… I am alive after a day of skiing in the German mountains!
… But barely Today I learned that German “easy” slopes = triple black diamond slopes back home.
The day started innocently enough. After getting our equipment (including awesome helmets lined with fur — safety first, kids!), we headed off to the gondola to take us way up into the clouds.
The view along the way:
It sure was beautiful up there! We were VERY high, but after the gondola, we headed off to another area to take us even higher up the mountain! This time we took these lifts:
Sidenote — the first time I rode up on this and got off I totally took out a girl with my ski pole… lol. Oops! This is what happens when I’m not allowed to practice skiing on the bunny slopes first before heading up the mountain.
And then it was time to ski! I’ve only been skiing 3 or 4 times before (a couple times with friends in Maryland/Pennsylvania and once in the Czech Republic in 2009 when I was living in Prague teaching English), so I’m still pretty much a beginner. It was scary at first, especially since even though this was an “easy” slope it was still pretty steep!
But after a couple runs I started getting a bit more confident and was able to go down more quickly and with nice turning vs. flailing ;)
Three successful hours of skiing later, we all decided to call it quits and head back to our hotel for some lunch. This is when things got really dicey. Apparently to get down to the very bottom of the mountain… you have to go down the really hard scary slopes?! Wtf, right? How the heck does anyone learn to ski here??
And so began my 1 hour long journey to make it down the mountain. Yes, it took me a whole hour. (Allegedly the lower slopes were “medium” hardness, but we’ve all learned by now that in Europe this means quadruple black diamond. Plus, they were seriously miles long.)
Gah — steeper than it looks:
Here’s about how things went:
- Skid maniacally one way down the insanely steep slope, trying not to take out any small children.
- Come to a screeching stop and/or fall down.
- Stand still sideways for about 10 minutes, staring down the scary steep slope and contemplating whether I will make it off this mountain alive.
- Decide I might not make it off this mountain alive.
- Utter some profanities.
- Watch a 12 year old whizz past me.
- Dammit, I’m not letting a 12 year old beat me.
- Commence skidding the other way, flailing around again and going approximately 389 kilometers (we are in Europe, after all) per hour.
- Nearly fall off the cliff on the other side of the slope.
- Fall down instead so I don’t fall off the cliff.
- Wait another 10 minutes to try to get up the nerve to careen down the mountain again going the other direction.
- More profanity.
- Another small child passes, this time doing back-flips on his skis. (Okay fine, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.)
- Fall down.
- A German man feels sorry for me and helps me up.
- Stand for another few minutes thinking about how maybe I should have written my will before going skiing in Europe.
- Take a deep breath and skid the other way again. This slope has to be a 90 degree angle. Wtf?
And so on. At one point, I may or may not have taken off my skis and slid down a couple of the really crazy insanely steep slopes. (It was actually really fun.)
And then — finally — SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!! I had made it down alive.
And then, when I finally rejoined our group, one of my dad’s friends said: “You know, you could have just taken the Gondola back down. That’s what I did.”
We’ll meet again, mountain. But next time, I’m ending my day on the Gondola.