After my preliminary lesson was complete, I was ready to meet my maker. Adriana and Melody promised to help me through my first couple of runs before they headed to the “big people hills.” They led me to the base of the bunny hill, where a small line of mostly children and their parents waited in front of a conveyor belt that ran alongside the hill at a slight angle.
“Where’s the skil lift?,” I naively asked.
“There is no ski lift on a bunny hill,” Adriana explained. This discovery was my first (of many) disappointments that day. In fact, the ski lift was one of the things I was most looking for. It had always seemed fun and interesting to me, not to mention the safest part of skiing.
“You need to try the next hill to ride one of those,” Melody explained,
“Would that be the rabbit hill?,” I asked.
Adriana and Melody both looked at me, confused.
“That what?,” Adriana asked.
“The rabbit hill. I just assumed that the next logical progression from a bunny hill was a rabbit hill.”
“You’re an odd duck,” Melody said in reply. Adriana simply rolled her eyes again. I was beginning to wonder whether she had some sort of strange nervous tick. There was no doubting that. More importantly, I now had motivation to master the bunny hill as quickly as possible so I could move onto the ski lift. It would be my trophy.
Our turn to climb aboard the conveyor belt finally arrived. Adriana climbed on first, followed by me, then Melody. This way, I would have protection on both sides of me – protection that was needed from the moment I climbed on board. I momentarily lost my balance, nearly stumbling to the ground, but Melody was there to catch me.
“Just make sure you keep your feet parallel so you don’t trip over your own skis,” she instructed. Mentally, this made perfect sense. Physically, it was a much more difficult task.
“Maybe he isn’t ready for this,” Adriana said.
“He is,” Melody said, coming to my defense. He’ll be fine.” I sort of agreed more with Adriana on this matter.
As we approached the top of the hill, I felt my anxiety growing – not so much about the hill itself, but rather stepping off the conveyor belt. I didn’t really know what to do. I have the same issue with escalators – but at least with escalators, my feet are not attached to long, slippery sticks. This was worse. Much worse. Escalators don’t usually have slippery snow on them.
At the risk of sounding like a fool, I asked “What do I do once I get to the top?”
“Go down,” Adriana said.
“No, I mean from the conveyor belt.”
“Just keep your skis parallel. It’s fool proof.”
“Well, that’s good,” I said, realizing how much she was probably directing “fool proof” at me.
Of course, nothing is ever as easy as advertised. At least, not for me. When we finally reached the top, Adriana effortlessly and somewhat gracefully stepped off. I watched her every move. In fact, I was watching her so carefully, I didn’t take into account that due to the skis, the process of getting off the conveyor belt actually begins a few feet in front of you. I was completely thrown off guard and panicked, crossing my skis and falling over, which led to Melody falling on top of me, as did a couple of small children after her. I was face down in the snow, struggling to breathe. Suddenly, an alarm sounded and the conveyor belt jerked to a complete stop, allowing ski patrol to clear the human debris had collected at the top of the conveyor belt. Most people out of view probably assumed that it was some poor, scared little child that caused this pile of human wreckage – not a fully-grown man. But for everyone who knew me, however, this was not a surprise in any way.