I like to think that between ten years of ski racing and five years teaching other people how to ski, my form is passable. But I’ve spent the last six or seven years pretending that skiing ten or twenty days a season – as opposed to the sixty or so I averaged before then – hasn’t changed my style much. When my brother showed up at Whistler, I realized just how much of a hack I’ve become. He skis pretty.
On our last day, I asked him for a ski lesson. Grudgingly.
“Pretend you’re holding a fish,” said Josh. I rolled my eyes behind my goggles. Is that how it is? I thought. He thinks I’m so obsessed with food that the only way I might pick up a few skiing tips is through a fish analogy? But I kept listening, leaning on my poles near the top of Blackcomb’s Seventh Heaven lift.
He grasped his poles out in front of him, about shoulder width apart, baskets back. “You have to hold the fish tight enough so that it doesn’t get away, but you can’t hold it so tight that it shits on you. And you have to hold one that looks realistic, or no one will believe your story.”
“So what am I doing?” I asked. Truth is, I didn’t really want to ask Josh anything, but the guy has an eye for skiing. And he also happens to be a decent fisherman.
“Your fish story keeps changing on the left turn,” he said. “Halfway through the turn, you’re telling fish tales.” He stretched his arms out so they made a ninety degree angle, like someone telling war stories about catching a fish this big. “You wash out the end of your turn that way. But don’t sell yourself short, either.” His hands measured a little lake trout, then relaxed back to a medium-sized striped bass. “Make sure your fish is the same size around every turn.”
It totally worked.
More soon. I’m in post-vacation hibernation.