I got back late last night from the annual SBA ski trip. It was at Sugarloaf in Maine. I'd never skied in Maine before, but other than being annoyingly far away and suffering from typical East Coast terrain conditions (read: icy) it was pretty nice. Much nicer than Killington in Vermont, for instance, where the SBA used to go. When I was growing up in New Jersey it was THE THING to do, to go ski in Vermont, and lots of my classmates from well-heeled families went all the time. My family normally contented ourselves with the Catskills instead (about a two-hour drive away), except once in high school my mom decided to take us all the way to Vermont. But only my sister ended up going because I had to stay home for a swim team obligation. So it wasn't until just two years ago when I finally got to go and discovered it to be vastly overrated. And incredibly snobby with an indifferent staff who seemed to comport themselves with an air of "we-don't-need-to-be-nice-because-we're-this-famous-ski-resort-
you-all-want-to-come-to-no-matter-how-rude-we-are." Whereas in Maine there was a more genuinely friendly New England hospitality. (Unfortunately, however, the prices in the cafeteria were more like Vermont…) Maine was also distinctive from any other place I'd skied (which, according to the lift tickets on my jacket includes California and Oregon) in that a lot of people telemarked. In other places I'd see maybe one or two telemark skiers on the whole slope, but here there were dozens and they even ran clinics for it.
One of the other nice features of the Maine trip was that our package prices included one free lesson a day. So the first day I did an intermediate class to work on my skiing, and then yesterday I did a beginning snowboard class. I liked snowboarding much more than I thought I would, and I was able to do it much better than I expected. Though I like sports, I'm not the most physically coordinated person. And I can also be extremely timid. But somehow I got past that and within a two-hour lesson was able to figure out how to get myself down the hill.
I'm not THAT great at it, of course. I'm much better heel-side than toe-side, and my cowardice has prevented me from really learning how to turn. But I did figure out how to get on and off the lift without crashing (most of the time), and I only sprained one hand in the process…