Today’s subject was inspired by a 2 year old who began learning to ski during the recent New Year’s holiday. I’ve been watching videos of my great-grandson, Lennox, as he skis merrily down a hill in the California mountains. His Grandpa Glen devised a harness with a leash and can be seen skiing behind the little guy, who is clearly loving every minute.
I grew up wanting to be an accomplished skier, but in flat old Nebraska there is a scarcity of mountains. In fact, there aren’t any. Every winter my brothers and I made the best of what we had — cheap skis, pimple size hills and a lot of enthusiasm.
One Thanksgiving, when I was 17 and visiting relatives in Seattle, my male cousins took me up to Snoqualmie Pass to teach me the fine art of skiing on a real mountain. They spent about 10 minutes on “lessons,” pointed me toward the Bunny Slope and disappeared toward a ski lift. The weather was bright and sunny. To my Midwest amazement, there were skiers wearing shorts, including a few women in halter tops. I couldn’t get over it.
There I stood on borrowed skis, dressed like the Pillsbury Doughboy, watching so-called beginners like me use the rope tow, which hauled them to the top of the Bunny Slope. Just when I was about to try it myself, I spotted a rather hefty, well-endowed woman in a halter top and ski pants. She was about halfway up the Bunny Slope, clutching the rope tow, when suddenly the strings of her halter top got tangled up in the rope. My eyeballs got bigger as I saw this women let go of the rope and tumble down into the snow — while her halter top went up the hill without her.
I clearly remember seeing at least half a dozen guys skiing to her rescue. I never learned much about the art of skiing, but I certainly found out that beginners should never try it in a halter top.
And now for a supposedly true story that has been in my files for years.
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A Ski Story (author unknown)
Conditions were perfect — 12 below, no feeling in the toes, basic numbness all over, the “Tell me when we’re having fun” kind of day.
One of the women in the group complained to her husband that she was in dire need of a restroom. He told her not to worry, that he was sure there was relief waiting at the top of the lift for female skiers in distress. He was wrong, of course. If you’ve ever had nature hit its panic button, then you know that a temperature of 12 below doesn’t help matters.
With time running out, the woman weighed her options. Her husband, picking up on the intensity of the pain, suggested that since she was wearing an all-white ski outfit, she should go off in the woods and no one would even notice. He assured her, “The white will provide more than adequate camouflage.”
So she headed for the tree line, lowered her ski pants and proceeded to do her thing. If you’ve ever parked on the side of a slope, then you know there is a right way and wrong way to set your skis so you don’t move. Yup, you got it! She had them positioned the wrong way.
Steep slopes are not forgiving — even during the most embarrassing moments. Without warning, the woman found herself skiing backward, out of control, racing through the trees — somehow missing all of them and going onto another slope. Her derriere was bare, her pants down around her knees, and she was picking up speed all the while. She continued backward, totally out of control, creating an unusual vista for the other skiers.
The woman skied back under the lift and finally collided with a pylon. The bad news was that she broke her arm and was unable to pull up her ski pants. At long last her husband arrived, putting an end to her nudie show and then summoning the ski patrol, who transported her to a hospital.
While in the emergency room, a man with an obviously broken leg was put in the bed next to hers. “So, how’d you break your leg?” she asked, making small talk. “It was the dumbest thing you ever saw,” he said. “I was riding up this ski lift and suddenly I couldn’t believe my eyes! There was this crazy woman skiing backward, out of control, down the mountain, with her bare bottom hanging out of her pants. I leaned over to get a better look and fell out of the lift. So, how’d you break your arm?”
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I doubt if Lennox has learned to read yet, which is a good thing. I don’t want him reading this column until he’s 30!
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor” (Dancing Moon Press). The book (with all proceeds going to Rotary International) is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]