Sunday, March 30, 2014

#22 - Ski a Bowl

Item #3 crossed off the 30 before 30 list!

And to be honest, this is the one that scared me the most.

My brother and I headed to Crested Butte for a day of skiing.  This is my first ski day in a little over a year, and my brother's first time ever skiing in Colorado.  After a run that included a couple solid blues, we hopped on the lift for our second run - straight for the double black diamonds.

"You ready for it?" I asked.
"Yea. Let's do it!" my brother replied.

We made our way over to the North Face lift where nothing but double blacks between us and the bottom.  Before this run, I would have told you that I'm a pretty solid skier, and Michael would have said he's really good, but that attitude changed over the next half hour.

We had to make our way through some trees to get to the run we wanted, which included some hiking.  Even before we got to the end, we were regretting this decision a little.

The trees finally waned and we made it to the top.  Our legs were already tired and we were exhausted from the hike, so we just sat and chilled for a bit before we would take on the run.  We watched a handful of people come and head down the slope - so we came up with a game plan, mostly trying to avoid the rocks and cliffs.

Spellbound Bowl

We started down the steepest ski run I have ever seen.  We slowly... and I mean SLOWLY meandered back and forth as the run turned into small moguls.  The powder made it impossible for us to maneuver, and we quickly realized we got in over our heads.  The highlight of this run came about halfway through.  Michael led the way, and as he turned, he had a little bit of a spill.  As he was getting back on his feet, it was my turn - I made my way around a mogul, and my ski stuck in the powder.  My body turned so I was facing backwards and instantly my skis stopped.  But my body kept going.  I wish I could describe how huge this wipeout was.  I literally launched about 15 feet straight down the mountain... backwards... and landed square on my back/neck.  As Joe Dirt would say, "luckily, my neck broke my fall."  The powder made for a soft landing, and after I brushed off my jacket and my ego, and I continued down.  We made our way to the bottom, where Michael let me lead the way, where I proceeded to ski into (and get stuck in) a giant dip in between a few of the runs.  As I saw the banks around me crawl way over my head, I yelled back to Michael to make sure he didn't follow me into this trench.  So after I got super warn out from the first bowl, I had to march 150' in thigh-high powder.  With every step I was getting more and more tired... and we were only half way done.

Phoenix Bowl

Now we knew what we were in for, but it didn't get much easier.  More of the hardest skiing we have ever done.  We slowly but surely made our way down, taking a few spills along the way, and the REAL expert skiers bounding by us, putting us to shame.  The last part of Phoenix turns into the steepest part of the entire run, and by this point, our legs were gone.  Finally, Michael finished the final stretch and waited for me at the bottom.  I made my move to make the final descent.  But this journey would not be complete without one last graceful wipeout.  As I headed down, my ski caught an edge and just popped off.  Sweet.  With only one ski on, the inevitable happened - I fell to the ground.  My body turned sideways and I thought I was going to stop.  But I didn't.  I kept turning and the steep incline pulled me down.  So I slid on my back head first.  And slid.  And slid.  Not very quickly, but I kept going.  It was like I was moving in slow motion but I couldn't do anything to stop it.  I finished the last 100-150 feet of the run slowly sliding backwards on my back.  I even had enough time to look around and yell to my brother (and some other guy who was waiting at the bottom) when I was about 3/4 of the way done sliding "Well... I guess THAT'S one way to get down..."

If I can't ski it well, the least I can do is provide a little entertainment.


But after a grueling ordeal, we made it.  Michael actually did a decent job, considering this was his second run ever in Colorado, and he was able to keep his street cred.  But me... not so much.  Not one of my finest showings, but I'm glad we did it, and I'm glad I put it on the list.

Because now I know to never do that again!

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