The Day of Fear…
It all began as a regular morning… I woke up, ate breakfast with Lorraine and the girls, then put on all of my snow gear so we could drive 45 minutes deeper into the mountains to go skiing while Line had her lesson. It didn’t completely hit me that it had been over 9 years since the last time I skied. I had been a few times in Japan and enjoyed it, but really wasn’t the greatest at it. Lorraine told me it would all come back to me. Like riding a bike, you can’t ever forget how it works. I felt fairly confident that I would do okay. I mean, how back could I really be?
As we slid onto a conveyer belt in our skis, the lift scooped us up (literally… it scared me), and we were off. There was no turning back… As I gazed down below me at the Red Diamond hill that many people were skiing down. Some took their time, while others were crazy and practically did the whole thing without ever turning side to side to slow down. I thought to myself, “Okay…I can do this. We’re just going to go slow and steady and we’ll be fine.” As we reached the end of the ski lift, my skis hit the snow and I slid forward….and kept going forward… By the time I finally figured out how to slow down and stop, I was almost in a huge mound of snow before me. I steadied myself, looked behind me and smiled at Lorraine, her Aunt, Cousin, and Cousin’s friend. “D’accord… D’accord…” I said. (“Okay…Okay…”)
The first few hills went pretty well. I felt fairly confident. Little did I know that I didn’t exactly know the proper way to ski to the left, and to the right, crossing the front of your skis, making a triangle to slow down and stop. As we descended a hill and rounded to the left, I felt myself rapidly going faster… I did what I thought was right and tried to cross my skis. If I was slowing down, I never would have known it. I continued moving at a fast pace in a straight direction…watching the curve begin to pass behind me. I knew if I didn’t act in that moment, I was headed for disaster. I remembered what my dad had always taught me in Japan, that whenever you feel like you are about to hit something, flip over and fall on your side, immediately stopping you. So, I followed his advice and did so… However, even after thrusting myself onto the white ground beneath me, my entire body continued sailing forward. I remember screaming for a split second and grabbing at the snow before everything beneath me dropped a few feet. I went soaring into the air, now flying off the side of the track, hitting a wooden barrier, and landing very hard in a pile of snow.
I don’t really remember what my first thought was. Probably something along the lines of “holy crap, what just happened?…” And then “I really hope my body isn’t even more screwed up from this.” After I regained composure and thought about what had just occurred, I gripped my side, realizing I had a very hot, burning, penetrating pain coming from what I thought was my ribcage. I arched my back, trying not to be collapsed on where the pain was coming from and to figure out a way to get out of the snow that I was now molded into. My skis still attached to my feet and half sticking out of the snow, pulled my legs up, loosening the skis out of the snow. I managed to get one of them off when finally, Lorraine’s Aunt was by my side helping me with the other and asking me if I was okay. I looked down at my hands that were still clutching my side. She asked if it was my stomach. I told her ribs and thankfully she understood. She managed to get me up. My legs almost gave out from underneath me because of how bad I was shaking.
After a few minutes of gathering myself, we climbed back up the snow bank to where the rest of the group was. They all made sure I was okay to continue before Lorrain helped me put my skis back on so I would sail down the hill. The pain in my side was much less and I felt confident I could continue. Lorraine and her Aunt stayed with me the rest of the way, guiding me on how to turn, where to turn, when to slow down, and not to go too fast. When we reached the bottom, I was purely exhausted. Lorraine asked me if I wanted to go again. I said no, but if she wanted to go, I would wait for her. She gladly accepted and left. I sat down on a chair outside so I could see when she returned. My body ached, but it wasn’t in pain. I thanked God for hearing my prayer of protection earlier that morning.
Lorraine went to take Line to her lesson the next day and asked me if I wanted to go skiing with her again. I declined to give my body a rest. Two days later, today, March 5, we woke up to try it again. It was a beautifully, clear day and Lorraine didn’t want my first time to be a bad experience. We went up the mountain and after seeing what was in front of me, I immediately decided there was no way on Earth I was skiing today… What had started out as the most clear, sunny, beautiful day, was now Mother Nature’s revenge. It was lightly snowing, but instead of cute, white snowflakes, it was more like little pellets of ice hitting you in the face at 90 miles an hour. The wind was stronger than I have ever experienced. Lorraine and I had to take Line’s hand to guide her to where her class was meeting so she would fall over from the wind’s strength. Although it was a bit painful, very cold, and incredibly difficult to walk in…it was a very fun experience.
The worst thing about it was that I was an idiot and decided to wear one pair of socks. I thought, “ehh…my snowboots are fur lined. I’ll stay warm.” No… I am pretty sure I was starting to get frostbite in my toes…
I will say… the thing that made it all worth it was the view after the storm broke.