South Louisiana's break from the cold is about to be over. If I ever doubt I am a Southerner, the cold air quickly reminds me exactly where my cold fearing butt belongs. If the temp goes under 50 degrees most Southerners question their existence and how the world could go against them in such a cruel manner. A prime example is my one and only skiing trip.
When I was about 21 I got invited to a ski trip with my boyfriend's family. I got all the equipment and the cutest snowsuits you ever did see. On the first day in our perfect Colorado cabin, I had dreams of hitting the slopes then ending my day at the bar sipping spiked hot chocolate while visiting with my fellow rosy-cheeked skiers. Nice, right? So I head to my ski lesson with all the high hopes of being a natural. It seems I am not a natural or a good listener.
One hour later and everyone is flying down the slopes and I am now on the kiddie slope where tiny people whose perfectly round helmets make them look like roll-on deodorants are flying by me at what seemed a breakneck speed. Once I couldn’t take the shame of 5-year-olds laughing at the old lady who keeps falling over and yelling “Watch out! Slow down! What kind of hell is this?” I decide I don’t need lessons. I can figure this out and jumped onto the death trap they call a ski lift.
Lesson one happens very quickly. If you hesitate and don’t get off the lift at the right time, they do not like it when you leap off as it starts to head down. Since I refuse to do things the way they are designed I, of course, end up on some crazy hard slope where everyone looks like they are about to compete in the Winter Olympics. Well, I am not a quitter so I assume the snow plow position and head to the far right side and start my painfully slow descent. After a fellow skier had lapped me a few times he kindly stops and informs me that I may want to get on the road that skier use between slopes, a nice almost flat, slow path down to the bottom of the mountain which I had thought I would never see again. My light at the end of the tunnel was right there just calling my name!
I find my road to salvation and start heading down. After a couple minutes of not falling, I feel confident to put my skis in the non-slow plow position. I pick up speed and as the cold air blows through my hair I start to think “See I got this, I am skiing champion, eat my snow roll-ons”! Then who showed up? The Jolie that can’t focus for a damn minute. Five minutes of not hurting myself and I feel free to stare at all the pretty things. Ooh look at the pretty tree, why is it getting so close? Why? Because I had started going too fast and skied right off the road right into the nice soft snow. I Immediately sink down.
I tell myself to stay calm and that, of course, I am a grown woman I can get myself out a soft pile of snow. Apparently, this is not as easy as seems when you have skis on and super precious snowsuit that is so tight you can’t reach your knees much less your feet. I struggled for awhile then finally accepted my fate - I was not getting out on my own. As skiers whiz by I start yelling for help, to no avail. I was too far down for them to see me and for once in my life my loud obnoxious voice could not be heard. Then there he was - this tiny little roll-on deodorant that could see me. He saw me because he was on the ground. He was throwing a toddler fit and fighting his mother down the slopes. I had been saved! My embarrassment was finally over- wrong. I was so stuck that they got the ski patrol to get me out.
Seems I had I got my skis lodged under something. Here they came with there shovels and medic bags in their bright orange rescue sled. I went from a peaceful, lonely existence to an entire audience watching them “not save” the lady who skied off the road that toddlers can get down by themselves. To add insult to injury they had to put me in that brightly colored rescue sled and slowly sled me down to the safety of bottom of the mountain. After I get my check up proving I am not hurt in the least bit but just an accident-prone with the ‘Oh look squirrel” syndrome Louisiana girl that should never be allowed to play in reindeer games, I finally head to the bar.
There I sat without rosy cheeks but cracked bleeding lips instead and windburn so bad I resembled an old tomato.It seems if you ski off a road and get the full emergency rescue treatment word travels fast among your fellow skiers and you become quite the center of attention. Once the twentieth person asked me about it I took my adult hot chocolate and headed to the cabin determined to never return to that evil snow torture again. I did what I was best at for the rest of the trip - cooking, drinking wine and spending my days on the flat ground. Except for the last day when I found out about their version of tubing. Sliding down a mountain on a giant black inner tube, I got this. If there is one thing a Louisiana girl can understand its how to ride in an inner tube.
From my chosen path of avoiding the giant scary mountain covered in speeding roll-on deodorants was the tradition of Baked Potato soup born. It is now a cold weather tradition and only Gumbo beats it as a winter favorite.