I do. I was twelve years old. The local church had a teen group and the pastor decided to take us all on a trip to Mammoth. Suddenly, attendance skyrocketed. I had only watched skiing on television. Think the epic crash on the intro to Wide World of Sports and the Olympics. I was game to try anything so I signed up. Wasn't much worried about learning the sport, so basically completely overconfident; I played all the major sports at school, and started on most of the teams.
We stayed in the basement of this church in Bishop, California and drove up to the slope in a van. Then, suddenly it hits me: this is a mountain; the thing is fricken' huge! But, like I say I was completely overconfident. The two guys who I actually knew on the trip had both skied a few times with their families, older brothers and such, but none of us lived anywhere near a mountain where we could ski everyday, so on further reflection, they were obviously bulshitting me about their abilities too. I think they actually owned their own skis. The rest of us all had rental gear.
So I'm looking out at this huge mountain trying to do the math on how I'm going to make these skinny sticks of plastic travel down the hill with me on them and arrive at the bottom and make it back to my family at the end of this trip. The idea of having fun completely wiped from my conscious. I start asking the usual questions. How do I ski? Taking a lesson was completely out of the question. I had no money and that just wasn't done in jr. high land back in 1982. To even suggest that you might need a lesson was somehow an admission of weakness. And, my friends are telling me the same thing that someone probably told them, "you need to snow-plow". So, there I am in line, an incredibly long one if memory serves me correctly (or, maybe a typical one I've only been to Mammoth once since), running over the backs of people's skis looking like a dumb ass, in my scotch-guarded levis.
We start to ride this lift up and again the terror of just how high I am and the forces of nature that are involved begin to dawn on my young mind. So, I ask the next obvious stupid question: "where am I going to get off?". I guess I assumed that there were more than one destination and I would be taking the first stop, like a bus or something. No, they were taking me to the top. There were no easy outs like a theme park either.
Needless to say I was completely terrified. We get to the top and not only was I at the top of the mountain but my "friends" were going to take me down an expert run because "I could make it". At least they were leading me to an expert run. We spent all of about three turns and ten minutes of it together before they completely lost patience with me and left. I literally could not make two turns in succession. And the snow, was not like the soft stuff around the parking lot, it was rock hard, diamond plate, double-overhead moguls. The kind you literally cannot even see over from within the trough. I must have fallen fifty or sixty times before I removed my skis and proceeded to walk what seemed like miles to the base lodge, swearing the whole way in my mind that I would never do this retarded sport again.
With my sore and aching ass and feet I went to sleep at like 7:30 that night with total moral clarity on the question. There wasn't any force on earth that would put me back on those plastic sticks and make me travel back up that death stair the next morning. Well I don't know if it was peer pressure or what but I got myself out of bed the next morning and there I was back in the lift line with those same inane assurances that if I only "snowplowed" I would be fine. And, the truly amazing thing to me was that the next day I was skiing and not just skiing and staying alive but actually having a blast. Stranger still, it seemed easy. I was skiing the stuff I was falling on the previous day, not well, not with any sort of form or beauty, but skiing it and not even afraid of falling. I think I fell three times the next day. And that started the strange love affair I have with this sport. Just curious to know how some of you got started.