Skiing: Cold But Happy

The last time I went skiing was in January 2009 with my dad when my parents were still living in Minnesota. I have to say that the weather was not that great. It was Minnesota in January, which means cold. Sunny, but cold. This was at Afton Alps in Hastings, Minnesota. It wasn’t far from where we lived in Eagan (a suburb of St. Paul). We hadn’t gotten that much snow, so the slopes were icy and there was not much powder to be seen at all. I think they had actually resorted to making snow with the snow machines. I seem to remember icicle-hands and feet, plus my frozen butt on the lift.

Nevertheless, my dad and I had a great time together. I have many many many fond memories of skiing with him in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and even New Zealand. My dad hates being cold (hates it as much as I do), but he has always been a skier. Watching him ski is amazing because he is just so darn good at it! My parents took me to Steamboat Springs in Colorado when I was proficient enough at walking and put me in ski school. It is a great skill to have, especially when you are around areas where there are a lot of winter sports.

 

DSC00070(2009) Too cold to smile, but we’ll do it anyway!

 

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My dad skiing in the alps in 1986 (before I was born!)

 

And now we are off to Owani, where I went skiing!

…Owani again? It seems like I am spending quite a bit of time there! I love Hirosaki first and foremost, but Owani is quickly becoming my second-favorite little town.

 

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Every year my office hosts this two-day ski school workshop for teachers. The way it was briefly explained to me, it looked like some of the PE teachers (who teach kids skiing) teach other teachers how to ski. There were about ten participating teachers and four ski instructor/teachers on the first day. All I was required to do was show up, put on my name tag (which acted as a free lift pass, yay!), rent some skis/boots/poles (discounted rate for my office at ¥3,500, score!), wait until after the opening ceremony, and… ski away!

Of course, I was suspicious about this and did not want to use up one of my paid vacation days just to go skiing. I asked my supervisor about this and he said that no, it was “work” in name only. The two days of the ski workshop were kind of like a present to our office members. I was invited both days, but I declined to go a second day because I didn’t want to subject myself to the cold two days in a row.

 

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I skied with a couple of my co-workers in the morning. The snow was perfect. To my surprise, I found that I was pretty delighted over getting to plow through fresh untouched powder. It was even up to my knees in some parts! I probably hadn’t skied through such powder since Alta, Utah.

We did the “rabbit” hill a couple times before going even higher. The sun began to emerge from the clouds. It had snowed pretty fiercely that morning, but I had worried for nothing. By 11am, the clouds were gone and the sun had come out to play! The view from on top of the mountain nearly took my breath away! It was so beautiful.

 

 

I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun skiing. My hands and feet were, of course, cold and numb, but that is nothing new. (They go numb even when I am walking to work.) But I felt confident going down those hills and the snow was fun. There were no blue, green, black, etc, markers for the runs, but we did go down the “Champion Course” a couple times. A few of my co-workers were very good, which of course reminded me of my dad. I thought of him every time I cruised through some powder.

 

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Happy AND cold? Is this even possible?

Oh, and I didn’t fall all day! That is, until I tried a technique called carving. And then I fell over twice, haha. Not huge wipe-outs (thank goodness), but a sign that I need to work on my technique. I had sacrificed control for looser boots (with three pairs of socks) because tighter boots tend to make my feet/toes go numb within minutes. I will work on this some more when I ski again… maybe with Tori and Kyle at Ajigasawa next time! …And I will remember to buy hand/feet warmers.

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3 Responses to “Skiing: Cold But Happy”

  1. Stop, you’re killing me…I’m so envious! I haven’t been skiing in many, many years, but I loved it so (except for the wind chill factor and the frozen toes, of course!). I guess I’ll just have to “ski” vicariously through you! xxx

  2. Looks like you had a great time! And the music on the lift in your video is priceless.

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