Friday, January 25, 2013

Perils of the Pomalift

Hi peeps,

How's your subconscious? And how do you know how your subconscious is if it's your subconscious?

Mine is randomly bringing up memories of mortifying experiences from my teenage years. Seeing as I tend to be socially awkward and rather clumsy, I have a lot of those. This one came up at last week's family breakfast. Please, have a laugh on my account ... or shake your head in dismay and feel sorry for the incredible hardships I've faced in life.

It was a rather warm March day, meaning the snow was slushy and there was more than a bit of mud. My dad was taking us skiing for the first time and I was reallllly excited. I was positive I was going to be one of the cool kids who hops on the lift, zips up the mountain, shoots down a double-black diamond and ends it all in a dramatic but amazing stop that sends snow flying nine thousand feet into a crowd of screaming fans.


My dad, my three younger brothers and I got to the slope, rented our skis and headed out. We started out on the bunny slope, which was so small you got pulled to the top with a rope attached to a pulley (technically a pony lift). I only fell five times, which of course gave me an over-inflated sense of confidence. I was all, "Yeah, let's go! Imma master this mountain from top to bottom, yo! Fo shizzle!"

Except I may not have said "Fo shizzle!"

*please be advised my weird gangster alter-ego keeps popping up in the rest of this post*

There was only one thing standing between me and total domination of the mountain (yo) - the pomalift.

For those of you who don't know, a pomalift (or button lift) is a type of ski lift. Instead of sitting on metal (and frigging freezing) benches dangling high in the air, you put a disk (or button or "pom") between your legs and get pulled up the mountain while upright.

Attractive, no?
It didn't look all that hard, so I lined up. The people in front of me made it look quite easy, in fact.

We stood there for what seemed like hours and then it was finally my turn. I got into a very flattering semi-squat, reached out my hand to grab the bar and ...


It's all good, yo. Just needed to get a feel for things, yo.

So I tried again. This time I got it.

I got it so well, in fact, that the force of the pomalift swept me right of my feet and onto my face.


Now people behind me were starting to get a bit annoyed. I was all:

Dumb dumb dumb Courageous human being that I am, I got up (which is not easy with giant sticks strapped to your feet), wiped the snow from my eyes (and various other crevices), and grabbed the next bar. I somehow managed to swing myself around, get the disc under my butt, and we were off!

I made it exactly 15 feet up the hill before disaster struck. Dad had told me to keep my knees soft so my skis would glide over the bumps and I wouldn't fall. I over-softened. The evil pomalift saw my weakness, laughed maniacally, and dumped me onto the side of the run. I heard shouts of "GET OUT OF THE WAY!" from the other skiers zipping up the mountain behind me, so I frantically dragged myself over a few feet and collapsed in a heap.

People started going by. If this happened to me now, I would probably sit there and wave ... or maybe play dead. But since I was a teenager, this was DEFCON ONE. I needed to get out of there as quickly as possible before my reputation (with all these people I didn't know and would probably never see again) WAS RUINED.

A smart person would have removed their skis and tromped down the hill while humming a happy tune and enjoying the beautiful blue of the Colorado sky.

Not I, said the fly. In my addlepated adolescent state, I was quite sure it would be much less embarrassing to ski back down.

Savin' face, yo. Or possibly breaking it, yo.

Mad skillz with computer drawing, yo.
Unfortunately, the pomalift was located right next to a double black diamond ... okay, maybe it was a blue (intermediate). But it sure LOOKED like a double black diamond. On the other side was a forest of big-ants trees. I contemplated .. and heard the voice of my mother telling me about the friend she had in high school who tried to ski through the trees and ended up with spinal fluid dripping out her nose.

So I picked the tree-free side.

All I had to do was stand up. Check.

Locate my ski poles. Check.

Start sliding really fast toward the bright orange snow fence separating the pomalift track and the ski run. Check.

Slam into the orange snow fence and get snow fence burn ON MY FACE while simultaneously tangling skis and poles together. Check.


Just add snow fence (and take away the Olympic suit).
Now I was in an even worse predicament than before. So I did what any sensible person would do.

You took your skis off and started walking?

Nopey, nope, nope.

I disentangled myself, lifted the snow fence with a ski pole and slid under it. I was now officially on my first-ever ski run.


Someone official-looking came up to survey the mangled snow fence. I was pretty sure snow fence mangling was a serious offense, so I acted nonchalant and whistled a little. The guy looked at me suspiciously (little wonder ... whistling? Really? I would make a TERRIBLE criminal). I panicked, popped up, and prepared to ski for my life, yo.

I promptly fell back down. Of course, the run was steep enough that I gained momentum and started sliding down on my butt, shrieking like ... someone who shrieks. REALLY LOUD.

I was sure I was going to die.

But then I slammed into an padded post and I WAS SAVED!

The end.

Not really. I slid the rest of the way down on my butt, shook myself off and decided to do it again.

And I totally nailed it the second time.

Not really. I ended up falling off the pom doodad again. But this time, I was all, "YOU AIN'T GOIN' NOWHERE, YOU EVIL THANG!". I grabbed the disc with one hand and got pulled all the way to the top on my belly with my skis splayed out behind me. It worked really well, actually.

If I ever encounter a pomalift again, I may use this strategy.

So, I made it to the top, took one run (without much trouble), and it was time to go home.

The end.

Of course, it could have been worse ...

Good thing they didn't let me take the regular ski lift.

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