With the kids off from school Friday, I took the day off and Clare and I decided to get some skiing in at Tyrol Basin in Mount Horeb. We’ve never been there, they have cheap weekday lift tickets, and the conditions were right. Twelve bucks for a lift ticket? Bargain. Near 32 degrees? Count me in.
I grabbed my boots, skis, and poles, appropriate snow attire for the both of us, and we headed off. We were going to take a friend of hers, but it didn’t work out. On the way there, Clare commented how a bunch of her friends were going skiing at Cascade. Since it was just us, it was easy to make the switch and head north to Portage. They have a “kids ski free” deal with a paid adult, so the outlay would be about the same. No problem. (If anyone asks, Clare is 12.)
As a premonition to how often we would be heading back to car, we luckily scored a sweet parking spot close to the lodge. I walked on in to get the tickets while Clare got dressed. “One adult and one child, please,” I say. “Is the child with you?” “She’s in the car.” “I need to see her.” “Really?” “Yup.”
Fine. I walk back to the car to get Clare and tell her to look young. Unfortunately for me, she’s tall and looks like she’s in high school. I tell her to slouch and don’t look directly at the guy. Disgusted, we go back to the counter and get the same dude. “There she is.” He nods. Guess he just wanted to make sure it wasn’t some 40-year-old who was going to score the free ticket.
After getting Clare’s rental equipment, we hit the slopes. It was still relatively early, there weren’t too many people on the hills, and we were flying down and back up. Around noon things picked up a quite a bit and we ended up waiting longer and longer to get back up. Time for a break so we headed in for lunch.
Coming out from the lodge, I snapped into my skis and proceeded to walk right out of my right binding. Uh oh. Looking down I see broken plastic. It wasn’t the binding, it was my boot. Walking over to the repair center, the ski mechanic also shakes his head. “Hmmm, boot exploded, huh?” “I guess so,” I respond. He explains that older equipment was made craptastically and it’s really a surprise they lasted this long. Thanks for the support. I guess after 25 years I could spring for a new set of boots. Not wanting to make a snap decision right there, I opted to rent for the rest of the day. Props to Cascade – they offer 1/2 price rentals for broken equipment.
Since I’m renting, why not try snowboarding? I’ve always wanted to try and I know I can switch to skis later if I don’t like it. How hard can this be? The kids can all do it – and I’m at least as good as they are – so I should be a natural, right? In a word, no.
Oh boy. After struggling to get to the chair lift with one foot in a binding and one foot out, we make it to the top and I manage to get off the lift without running into anyone. So far, so good. I strap my other foot in and head down the bunny hill. How do you turn these things? I lean, I tilt the board, I catch an edge and fall on my face. Or butt. Or both.
Thinking a slightly bigger hill will be be better, we move over one lift. We both get off and Clare whips down to the bottom. And I go about 20 feet before, um, adjusting my stance. Speed is not a problem – point down the hill and keep your balance. Stopping – now that’s a little more challenging. And steering. Still don’t have feel for that. One more trip down and I’ve had enough. Sweating my arse off after working way too hard, I gladly unbind my feet, hoof it over to the rental shop and get a much more simple pair of skis. The rest of the day was thankfully much less eventful.
Luckily, there is no video of my lame attempt at snowboarding.
It must have been Marshall day at Cascade. Throughout the day, we saw no fewer than a dozen folks from school (mostly kids) who had the same idea to enjoy our seasonal snow.