It’s gotten a little chilly in the last week; just enough to send me gleefully scrambling to the basement to retrieve my snow skis. I may have jumped the gun a bit; especially for a mediocre skier.
I get it, I get it; Most people hate the cold and loathe the snow. But every time I go skiing I witness a rare camaraderie between complete strangers that isn’t always easy to find in the world.
Hear me out.
It happens to everyone. You’re lying in the middle of the slope like you’ve been hit by a truck; your poles are way up the hill, one ski is way over in left field, and the other is still miraculously attached to your boot. Your sunglasses and hat are missing in action and you’re praying your phone was in a zipped pocket.
You can’t figure out how to get your one ski off without one of your poles, but you can’t go up and get your poles without taking off the ski. And even if you were willing to ski without poles, you can’t ski on one ski – Essentially you’re trapped.
And then in a matter of seconds people see you and slow down. Maybe, depending on where you landed, a few people will act as human safety cones to make sure you don’t get run over. Then someone slides up and asks if you’re okay. The second you say you are they take off back down the hill. (Most of the time it’s your dignity that’s broke.) Before you can get your bearing, some complete stranger is taking the time to pick up your poles and drop them off to you. And another stranger is over in left field grabbing your lone ski. (Props to that person; carrying a ski while skiing is a bit of a trick.)
I’ve done my fair share of fetching poles and skis for people. I’ve comforted sobbing toddlers who took a tumble. And I’ve been the “garage sale”: slope slang for the person who took a spill and their gear is scattered up and down the slope.
This is why I’m so eager to get my skis out and one of the reasons why I miss ski season; not the crashes, but the unwritten code on the slopes – You help the guy that’s down. Because we’ve all been there.