Friday, December 28, 2007

Learn to Ski

Many of us are off for a week's vacation. Maybe Tasty will be around to post, but I thought I read somewhere that Texas banned the internet. In the meantime, here's an old post on skiing.

Welcome to the wonderful world of skiing, an outdoor activity that combines being very cold with the potential for great physical harm.

You may want to know what to wear first.

What should I wear?

Since it's cold out there, you have to remember to layer. More layers means better insulation and that the sweat that comes from hurtling down a mountain with no clear idea how to stop will be wicked away from your skin, keeping you warm, dry, and padded for impact. I would recommend a minimum of fifteen layers.

Your outer layer has to be the best, so buy a good quality name brand ski jacket. At a ski store, these cost upwards of a thousand dollars, but in end of season sales you can get them for about ten bucks, so plan ahead. The most important article of clothing are the sunglasses. They are selected primarily for aesthetic reasons. Ask yourself: Which pair would look best after being broken in half and embedded in my face?

How do I select equipment for downhill skiing?

Luckily, you don't really have too much of a choice when it comes to renting skis. You fill out a short form for the employees to select the proper sizing for your equipment. This form includes your height, weight, skiing experience, hat size, shoe size, inseam, mother's maiden name, and the middle two digits in your social security number.

Be careful when they select how tight to set the bindings on your skis. As a beginner they should set them loose, because if the skis are bound too tightly they won't pop off when you do your Agony of Defeat fall down the mountainside, popping your legs off at the knees instead. Because of this I recommend you not even use the bindings, instead just stick the skis to your boots with a piece of chewing gum.

Now that I have the gear, how do I get up the slope?

If you're afraid of heights, you walk. If not, you take the chairlift. The chairlift is a rickety porch swing dangling precariously from a cable that scoots up the mountain. This may seem dangerous, but statistics show that on average, only two or three people will fall off the chairlift at the average resort per day. In order to distract you from your irrational fears the ski resort places trails directly below the lifts so you can point and laugh when people fall below you.

How do I select a trail?

Avoid trails named after Germans or Scandinavians, trails boasting rocks and/or trees, and trail names that include the word Express, Drop, Revenge, Plummet, Crash, or Burn.
Von Ryan's Express
Thor's Revenge
Craggy Death
If the ski map has a small picture of a mountain goat at the top of a trail, don't go down it. Likewise avoid trails your friends suggest to you while snickering. Try to stick to trails that have names involving words like Meadow, Stroll, Happy Bunny, or Pansy Ass.

Okay, I'm standing at the top of Happy Bunny Slope. What now?

Beginners should employ the snowplow technique. Please do not be concerned that the method is named after a big clumsy oafish machine that barrels headfirst into giant snowbanks.

  • Angle your skis slightly to form a wedge pointing down the slope.
  • Bend your knees and lean awkwardly forward.
  • Tense up all your muscles, whimper softly, and then push yourself down the bunny slope with your poles.
  • To turn, lean your weight away from the direction you want to go.
  • As you are turning, catch the outside edge of your ski in the snow and fall over.
  • While ignoring the laughter coming from the chairlift above, get up, find your equipment, put it back on and go.
  • Repeat the above steps until you make it all the way down the bunny slope.
  • To stop, push your skis further apart, widening the wedge. Almost fall over backwards, recover yourself by spinning your arms in a windmill fashion, and then fall.

My son or daughter would like to learn to ski. What options are there for him or her?

Most ski lodges have group programs for young children, with appropriately cute little names. The child is equipped with short trick skis and a helmet, then encouraged to careen down the slopes, becoming a potent missile ready to strike any unprepared skier at crotch height.

Isn't that dangerous?

Well, most skiers are immobilized when struck helmet first in the crotch region by a toddler traveling at upwards of 30 mph (48 kph), so usually your child can scamper off without so much as being whacked with the injured party's ski poles.

What if the snow is coming down so hard I can't see?

In "whiteout" conditions, you don't need to worry. You can't avoid things you can see, so what's the difference when you can't see?

What if there are people are all over the trail? Won't I hit them?

Once again, you seem to think you can do something about that. Just signal to the other people that you are a beginner skier by wobbling slightly at the knees, wildly flailing your arms around to recover your balance, and screaming obscenities. They'll avoid you. And if they can't, they are as inept as you are and they'll understand when you two collide.

In conclusion, with skiing you can go out and enjoy the fresh air, get plenty of great exercise, and build character. In other words, while your friends are making asses of themselves on the slopes, you should be in the lodge sipping hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.


TastyMcJ said...

Fortunately, I've managed to hop on a pirate broadband signal, so I should be able to make the internet-type post from here in Texas.

But I am also lazy.

And actually, I'll be in Pennsylvania next week anyway.

B.E. Earl said...

Or you can choose not to ski.

Like I do.

Seriously undermines my budding alcoholism.

slappy said...

Ah good, Tasty is still alive.

Earl: Do one thing and do it well.