A healthy dose of fear (and why I quit downhill skiing)

It’s official. I am not a downhill skier.

Snow capped treesAfter my fourth lesson this past Sunday, I finally decided that downhill skiing is not for me.  I understand the physics of it and I’m physically fit enough to actually do it, but I simply cannot get over the fear of going fast (and falling down and breaking my leg).  I felt fearful after my very first lesson years ago, and my husband told me it’s something I would simply have to get over if I wanted to get better.

Intellectually, I understood.  A healthy dose of fear can be a good thing.  And this past weekend, as I stared down the little bunny slope, I had this thought, “You don’t have to do this.” As we mastered the snowplow down the little practice hill, I thought to myself, “I would rather be dissertating than skiing right now.”

Now, THAT’S saying something.

When I got to the bottom of the bunny hill, I didn’t even want to walk down the rest of the hill.  With the lesson was over, I marched right into the rental shop and turned in my skis.  I strained my shoulders sliding my feet out of the boots.

It bothered me for days.  I am not a fearful person, so why couldn’t I just get over it?  I’ve been in plenty of fear-inducing situations in the past.  After the fated ski lesson, I took on several crazy water slides at an indoor water park.  I love roller coasters.  I have even jumped out of a plane.  I like a good adrenaline rush, but this fear was different.

Giving in to the fear meant quitting something.  And I am not a quitter.

I think that’s why I remain disappointed.  I was reminded of what it’s like to quit something, and because I can’t even remember the last time I quit anything, I can’t shake this feeling of disappointment.  I have overcome this healthy dose of fear in my professional life lots of times.  I do it almost daily as I work on my dissertation.  So I know it can be done.

I needed to find a skiing alternative. Sure, my dreams of family ski vacations faded on my only run down the bunny hill that day.  But in their wake, a new outdoor winter passion was born: snowshoeing.

BlissSnowshoeing is a revelation! It’s like walking, but with ridiculous footwear.  And when you snowshoe, you get the peace of season with less risk of bodily harm.

I have found my new happy place.

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About rglw

Sociologist mom writes for work and for pleasure.
This entry was posted in family, personal, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A healthy dose of fear (and why I quit downhill skiing)

  1. Chris McGrath says:

    It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. My wife didn’t even get through her first lesson. We pulled her out because we feared for the safety of the instructor if she managed to get her hands on him. However, she loves cross-country skiing. Not all resorts offer it but it could also bean option for you. As far as fitness goes, it is fantastic.

    • rglw says:

      Funny–my husband never feared for the instructor. For once, I wasn’t the klutziest in the group. I felt like a hypocrite because my preschooler was taking her first downhill lesson at the same. I did try cross-country skiing (this past weekend and once before). It is hard work but I could not get the rhythm of it. Hence snowshoeing, the simplest of the winter sports. I’m okay with it. Great suggestion–thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you for some back up on the downhill skiing or snowboarding is just not for me! Husband is convinced that if I “just try it again” I would love it! I completely disagree- I don’t like it from the ski lift to the bottom of the hill! I’m going to try xc skiing and snowshoeing because snow activities are a must in Northern Cali 🙂 I’m more excited about those things than the “thrill” of going downhill!

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