Confessions of a former winter curmudgeon
I use to hate winter. I hated it with a passion. I was always cold. It seemed like the days--although short--were always dreary. By the end of February, I was one cranky girl. In fact I despised winter so much that I moved to California for the year-round warmth! (What I didn't count on was the crazy cost of living and how hard it would be to live 2000 miles away from everyone I loved).
I use to like snow. I figured if it was going to be cold outside, we might as well have snow. At least it's pretty. (And there was always the chance they'd close the office and I'd get a free day off). But after awhile, I would even get sick of the snow. I was seriously one of those people who would benefit from a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light. In fact, last year, rather than purchase a SAD light, we purchased tickets to Puerto Rico. Now THAT helped make February a little brighter (although it made March really tough).
But then at the end of last year something happened. I met a new love--and that love's name was skiing.
I was a resistant skier. Ask my husband. He tried to get me to go the first winter we were together. I said, "No thanks. Skiing is not for me!" I had my reasons. I tried it once in my early 20s. A friend talked me into going. I borrowed some skis from my aunt (the old, long straight kind). The boots didn't fit quite right, but I figured they would do, and save me $20 in rental fees. I went to Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield, Ohio with a friend and her boyfriend. She gave me a five minute lesson on the bunny hill, and then left me to my own devices while she went to conquer the bigger hills. I managed the bunny hill for awhile. I wasn't comfortable, but I did it without killing myself. So I decided to try one of the other green runs they had.
During my five minute lesson I learned to snow plow. That's the only way I knew how to slow down or stop. This hill was quite a bit steeper than the bunny hill. I started going too fast and panicked. I then tumbled head over heels down the hill, leaving one ski up near the top somewhere. I twisted my knee and had to stay off of it for six weeks (which knocked me out of karate lessons for six weeks). That was it. I had tried skiing. I hated it. And, I was never going to do it again.
Last winter I relented. I promised Mark (husband) that I would give it a try. He tried to convince me to go before our February trip to Puerto Rico, but I bailed. I wasn't about to break my leg and ruin all of our Puerto Rico adventures. But when we returned, with a good month of winter left, I agreed to go skiing.
It was much better this time. Having long boards attached to my feet still felt very foreign and uncomfortable. But skis had changed a bit in the fifteen years since my last attempt. They weren't as long. I could actually turn myself without falling down. I brought a friend along (another ski virgin) so she could feel awkward with me. Together we learned the basics. Mark was a very patient teacher. He started me on one ski and I learned to push myself around with a ski and a boot. He taught me how to control my speed by turning. He coached me down the bunny hill by skiing from side to side, slowly. By the end of the night, I could conquer that hill that defeated me fifteen years earlier. And by the end of the night I was hooked!
We only managed to get one more ski day in last winter before Spring arrived and melted the snow. But when winter rolled around this year, I was actually excited. I was going to become a skier! Mark (sweet husband that he is) took me to the ski swap at the beginning of the season, and got me all geared up. Now I looked like a skier! I had my own skis, boots that actually fit and poles (and of course, I had to find a jacket, hat and gloves--all color coordinated--to complete the ensemble).
The rest is history! I LOVE skiing. And because of skiing, I LOVE winter. Yes, I said it, "I love winter!" Instead of moping over the fact that we still have over a month of cold and snow to go, I'm moping over the fact that ski season is almost over!
I love skiing through the snow. I love the snow in the trees. I like warming up by the fire with some hot chocolate in a ski lodge. I like winter vacations to cold places! I love having a winter sport that keeps my legs strong and muscular. There's just only so much training you can do on a treadmill. Skiing has been a great supplemental workout for me. And the better I get, the more I like it. I've now conquered all the green slopes I've come across, most of the blues and even a few black diamonds (the more mild black diamonds).
Skiing has changed my entire outlook on winter. So when I hear fellow Ohio friends saying mean things about Winter, I feel the urge to defend her! "Learn to ski!" I want to shout. Or if skiing isn't your thing, try ice skating, ice climbing, sledding, tubing, build a snowman, go on a snow hike, have a snowball fight, build a snow fort. Just do something that allows you to embrace winter. Make your winter fun! Because folks (at least many of you reading this), you live in Ohio (or some other snowy place) and winter isn't going anywhere!
- J.J. Kunkle
- I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.
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