Saturday, March 27, 2010

16. Go downhill skiing

I started this week feeling pretty good about the winter sports I've tried since the beginning of 2010. Since early January I've: gone ice climbing; done two winter hikes up Camel's Hump (one with snow shoes, one with hiking boots and crampons); gone snowshoeing through Nebraska Notch; ice skated (at Rockefeller Center and in Burlington); gone both classic cross country skiing and skate skiing (twice); and tried snow boarding. In fact, I did every winter sport on my list except downhill skiing, an observation I made to my friend and former student Drisk when we met up for a long-delayed beer at the Vermont Pub and Brewery on Wednesday night. And that's all I needed to say. One of the many things I love about Drisk is that he's got a very can-do attitude, whether it's figuring out how to get lots of fellow students excited about being political or getting his former teacher on skis before the week is over. The next day I was at the Alpine Shop where Drisk works getting fitted with rental skis, and on Friday afternoon I was back on a chair lift for the first time in almost twenty years.

It didn't feel like late March at all. The temperature was in the twenties, and the snow was a little icy, but still plenty deep for skiing, and the sky was a brilliant clear blue without a cloud in sight. Like so many of my student/alumni teachers, Drisk is a master of his sport, and it was almost as much fun to watch him ski backwards on the first two runs (he was watching out for me) and take jumps on the others as it was to be on skis myself. I was pleasantly surprised that the little bit I had known from before came back really quickly -- in fact the biggest things that I thought were different were the equipment (much simpler now than 20 years ago) and the fact that the sport itself is way more fun than I remember it.

My only complaint about the entire experience is that it's put me in a new quandary. In a previous post I had noted that I'm quite certain I'm going to keep going (and actually have) with a number of the things on my list. I want rock climbing and ice skating to be regular parts of my life, and of the winter sports I had tried, the two I was definitely going to stay with are skate skiing and snow boarding. But now I just don't know. It might have to be downhill skiing instead of snow boarding. Way easier, and oh, so much fun! It's a good problem to have. Sometimes too much of a good thing is still a good thing.

52 Ways to Say I Love You
Josh comes through again. The guy has taught me snow shoeing and rock climbing, made sure I didn't chicken out of the Penguin Plunge as part of the SMC team, and gave me the Danish translation for my 52 language phrases. He spent our recent spring break volunteering with migrant workers in Immokalee, Florida on a school MOVE-sponsored service trip, and while he was there, got me yet another translation -- Creole -- from a Haitian family he was chatting with. As far as I'm concerned, students like Josh are the reason that we SMC professors have the best job in the world.

hello komoye
thank you mercie beaukou (Josh got this one instead of good by)
I love you Meulu remen (-m)
May I have two beers, please? Eske ou ka ban muleu de bierre s'il vouz plait?

Coming Attractions

Wednesday, March 31 at 2 pm. Camp Johnson Veterans Museum -- Kristin and I will be doing our field trip this week and see what our own backyard has to teach us.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday, March 29 (8:30 am), March 31 and April 2 (both 11:30 am). Ice skating, and lots of it! This is one of my more ambitious goals, and is going to take some ice time to get where I'm trying to go. Let me know if anyone wants to go, or find another time to skate at Leddy, Cairns, or the Waterbury rink next week, or in the weeks that follow.


  1. You can bet one of my goals for Ghana is to translate 52 ways to say I love you in Twi!

  2. Soo many things we love about Drisk!

    Wow Trish, I think you might have done all winter sports know to mankind this winter, congratulation!

    Let the summer activities begin!