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Something They May Want Us To Know About Them

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

When I was a kid I had a sometime friend named Bobby Sullivan who lived in another neighborhood maybe a half mile away. There was a low spot on the street in front of Bobby's house, and a storm drain that didn't work very well. When a hard cold snap followed right on the heels of a major rain-thaw event - i.e., often - he ended up with a ready-made skating rink of sorts that was maybe eight feet wide and thirty or forty feet long. Moreover, Bobby owned a facsimile of an actual hockey net, with a rusty orange-painted steel frame that was always coming apart at the ferrules. Thus it was that on certain days after school we could be found playing a kind of modified street hockey.

 

Mostly we did not wear skates. For one thing, we didn't like having to worry about overshooting the thinning edges of the ice. Our skating skills were rudimentary at best anyway. And the surface was far from perfect: The ash leaves and hickory nut husks that had accumulated along the curb before the rain were now embedded in the ice where we could see them if we lay on our bellies, like some very cold and disappointing version of Egyptian insects in amber. Where they surfaced they did not improve the skating. We wore plain canvas sneakers or work boots, but we did use a puck instead of a tennis ball. It quickly got rounded edges and a ratty aspect from all its trips beyond the ice onto the rough chip-seal pavement, but there was a great advantage to the puck in that the Sullivans' beagle was not as prone to chasing it. Instead of a goalie's glove we had a baseball mitt.

 

The thing I remember most clearly was that as much as we loved playing hockey, there was something else we loved more. (I'm not counting frozen bagels with godawful margarine. Or Tina B., who lived down at the bottom of the hill and scowled enchantingly while playing a cello that was as tall as she was, blue veins pulsing under the wisps of dark hair on her white forehead). The thing we loved was simply sliding on the ice. After a while we would get bored with the hockey and revert to more simple play. Specifically we would back way down the street, where there was nothing but asphalt. (We called it macadam.) We'd sprint toward the ice patch as fast as we could and leap onto it with both feet, seeing who could slide the farthest. We would do this over and over and over. Perhaps fifty or a hundred times. It was unalloyed - the feeling of speed and slipperiness and mastery we had on those days, in our ignorance and our bliss. 

 

Maybe now you're beginning to see where this is going. Which is that some of us simply love going fast on a slick surface in cold weather. I don't know why. In my case, at least, it certainly didn't have anything to do with being interested in sports or being - so far as anyone was willing to acknowledge - athletic in even the slightest way. Seems pretty clear it was more nature than nurture. And it extended to all variations, notably including sledding. Still does.

 

Meanwhile, it turns out, to my surprise and consternation, there are a LOT of people who actually do NOT LIKE this sort of thing. At all. Not even a little. My wife is one of them. It's a mystery, but it's a fact. And this fact means that we have an important thing to keep in mind whenever we talk about bringing our loved ones along with us in our passion for skiing, which is that some of them are just not going to take to it. They just aren't. Not their fault. Not our fault. Not the instructor's fault. Not the bootfitter's fault. If this happens to you, don't freak out. Dig up an old white pages and dial Bobby Sullivan on the rotary phone. Or check out one of those ski forums I've heard they have on the internet.

post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 Not their fault. Not our fault. Not the instructor's fault. Not the bootfitter's fault. 

 

You are wrong in this blame game. It is actually your fault. We’ll get to that in a minute.

 

The need for speed and other suicidal tendencies. Some of us have it, some don’t. With me, it’s just a couple of loose screws. OK, not just few loose, few are missing too. This nature thing goes real deep. Behavioral mod won’t even put a ding onto it. It’s not a problem. It’s an intrinsic part of us. It’s built into our DNA. Acknowledgement of these tendencies is crucial in the mate selection process.

 

This song sums it up pretty well – If you want to be happy.

 

You have got to know your priorities. Set the priorities in the wrong order years ago, hence …….

But that ship sailed long ago and there is no going back. So you see – It’s your fault.  :nono:

 

I really sympathize with you, I really do. In my house, It’s always my fault. Whatever it is. It is always my fault. Much simpler and peaceful that way. :D 

post #3 of 25

I would say that shared interests make for happier marriages ... but, I have seen many happy marriages where one spouse loved the 1 week ski vacation and the other spouse lived for the 1 week tropical vacation.  I call that compromise.  Me, I prefer collaboration, so I only dated skiers.  I just kept dating skiers until one turned up with the other necessary qualities I was looking for in a life partner.

post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post

In my house, It’s always my fault. Whatever it is. It is always my fault. Much simpler and peaceful that way. biggrin.gif  

I keep wanting to try this. Unfortunately, it is in my DNA to kick hornet nests.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mustski View Post
 

I would say that shared interests make for happier marriages ... but, I have seen many happy marriages where one spouse loved the 1 week ski vacation and the other spouse lived for the 1 week tropical vacation.  I call that compromise.  Me, I prefer collaboration, so I only dated skiers.  I just kept dating skiers until one turned up with the other necessary qualities I was looking for in a life partner.

 

I know what you are talking about. I take a season off to go skiing. She get a season off from me. Win-Win situation. Both of us are happy. :D  

post #6 of 25
Thought provoking post. When I was a little kid I played backyard whiffleball for hours all summer with some of my neighborhood buddies. No girls allowed :-)

If I'm not mistaken there is about a 60/40 split between male and female participation in recreational skiing. If you consider the older demographic at EpicSki, then the ratio may be closer to 70/30, which I believe also approximates the breakout among snowboarders of all ages. I always attributed the preponderance of guys on the slopes to the hunter/gatherer vs. the nest builder thing in male/female DNA (nature), but I'm sure there was some nurture in there too with the proclivity of boys being directed to action sports in our culture. I would expect this to slowly change to more balanced snow sports participation as seen in scholastic sports in recent decades. A nice thing about recreational skiing/boarding is that an entire family can enjoy it together.

My wife has pretty much given up downhill skiing. She first skied back in the 1970s before we met, but it's been three or four years now since she last went. She was always pretty fair-weather about it, but she was a great "enabler" and when our kids got into skiing that kept her engaged because she loved seeing them have fun in a wholesome way. I think I am going to get to spend a good length of time with my wife in a visit to Colorado this winter and she's agreed to do some x-country skiing with me. We've done a little of it together in the distant past. X-country skiing should be an interesting challenge for both of us at 9000' :-)
post #7 of 25

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

 

I know what you are talking about. I take a season off to go skiing. She get a season off from me. Win-Win situation. Both of us are happy. :D  


I've met your wife.  She's as addicted to skiing as you are.  Both of you are happy.  

:D

post #8 of 25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

 

I've met your wife.  She's as addicted to skiing as you are.  Both of you are happy.  

:D

 

Both happy - definitely yes. 

 

BTW, she is much wackier than I am. I provide the grounding in my family.

For people that know me, that is a scary thought. She just do a better job in camouflage with her Bogner jackets.   :eek 

 

Per @Jamesj ,I think she selected me for my nesting instincts.  :D 

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 Not their fault. Not our fault. Not the instructor's fault. Not the bootfitter's fault. 

 

You are wrong in this blame game. It is actually your fault. We’ll get to that in a minute.

 

The need for speed and other suicidal tendencies. Some of us have it, some don’t. With me, it’s just a couple of loose screws. OK, not just few loose, few are missing too. This nature thing goes real deep. Behavioral mod won’t even put a ding onto it. It’s not a problem. It’s an intrinsic part of us. It’s built into our DNA. Acknowledgement of these tendencies is crucial in the mate selection process.

 

This song sums it up pretty well – If you want to be happy.

 

You have got to know your priorities. Set the priorities in the wrong order years ago, hence …….

But that ship sailed long ago and there is no going back. So you see – It’s your fault.  :nono:

 

I really sympathize with you, I really do. In my house, It’s always my fault. Whatever it is. It is always my fault. Much simpler and peaceful that way. :D 

 

This is brilliant. However, I don't think I want to be stuck on a chair between you and our other resident amateur shrink, @deliberate1, who has a similar tendency to describe qcanoe to me in ways that are unsettling for their combination of astute observation and needling so subtle I can't quite tell why I'm fidgeting.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Thought provoking post. When I was a little kid I played backyard whiffleball for hours all summer with some of my neighborhood buddies. No girls allowed :-)

If I'm not mistaken there is about a 60/40 split between male and female participation in recreational skiing. If you consider the older demographic at EpicSki, then the ratio may be closer to 70/30, which I believe also approximates the breakout among snowboarders of all ages. I always attributed the preponderance of guys on the slopes to the hunter/gatherer vs. the nest builder thing in male/female DNA (nature), but I'm sure there was some nurture in there too with the proclivity of boys being directed to action sports in our culture. I would expect this to slowly change to more balanced snow sports participation as seen in scholastic sports in recent decades. A nice thing about recreational skiing/boarding is that an entire family can enjoy it together.

My wife has pretty much given up downhill skiing. She first skied back in the 1970s before we met, but it's been three or four years now since she last went. She was always pretty fair-weather about it, but she was a great "enabler" and when our kids got into skiing that kept her engaged because she loved seeing them have fun in a wholesome way. I think I am going to get to spend a good length of time with my wife in a visit to Colorado this winter and she's agreed to do some x-country skiing with me. We've done a little of it together in the distant past. X-country skiing should be an interesting challenge for both of us at 9000' :-)

 

Jamesj, you may be reading more into my post than I intended, in that I did not mean to invoke differences between the sexes in any way. Having said that, I was reacting to the recent spate of "how do I get my significant other to love skiing?" posts, the great preponderance of which are from males about females. (As usual when attention is drawn to these things, I attribute them to the likelihood that female skiers who might otherwise be asking the same questions about their mates are too busy doing the actual work of the family to be able to fritter away time on EpicSki.) 

 

Anyway, the distinction I was trying to make was between people who are constitutionally inclined - or at least susceptible to being inclined - toward things like going fast down a snowy hill and people who aren't. I do believe that such a distinction exists and that good instruction, etc., only go so far to counteract it. I don't have an observation or opinion about how that inclination breaks out by sex.

 

On the xc at 9,000' thing: I spent a few hours doing this one day in Frisco, and it was exactly as sobering as you might figure. But it was an awesomely scenic workout. :)

 

post #10 of 25
I'm from Texas and my wife's from Wisconsin (see avatar). She talked me into taking skiing up a few years ago and am I glad she did! But we know several guys whose wives refuse to try. Too cold, too fast! I think I'm pretty lucky. But I am always wrong...
post #11 of 25

Martha Coakley is a skier, and she seems to know KG's theory.

The Boston Globe ran a pair of stories this morning about the spouses of our candidates for governor.

 

She was 45 and he was 50 when they met.  From the story, 

Later, she took him skiing in Colorado and Utah.  "I can't marry anybody that's not a skier," he recalled her telling him. "So, at an advanced age in life, I took up skiing and I've gotten to really enjoy it."

 

Hey wait a minute!  What's wrong with Massachusetts ski areas?  I see a scandal brewing!

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
 

Martha Coakley is a skier, and she seems to know KG's theory.

The Boston Globe ran a pair of stories this morning about the spouses of our candidates for governor.

 

She was 45 and he was 50 when they met.  From the story, 

Later, she took him skiing in Colorado and Utah.  "I can't marry anybody that's not a skier," he recalled her telling him. "So, at an advanced age in life, I took up skiing and I've gotten to really enjoy it."

 

Hey wait a minute!  What's wrong with Massachusetts ski areas?  I see a scandal brewing!

 

If you have to ask ...... :rolleyes

 

Like your candidate for governor, Mrs. Grump took me skiing for my first time at a small hill in upstate NY called Scotch Valley. Don't think it's there anymore. I remember on my first chair ride with her after she rescue me from the rope tow. As we were going up the mountain, I was thinking - "This is getting pretty far from home". So you see, I didn't have much of a choice either.

 

It was her selection process, not mine. Us men are stupid like that.  :D

post #13 of 25

IMO, it is more than just a like or dislike for going fast and enjoying the outdoors in cold weather while doing it. When compared to the non skiing public, skiers are greater risk takers (bc skiers and park rats even bigger risk takers) and so to be blunt some folks are just too timid to really enjoy skiing.

 

Some of those timid people still become skiers and they are the ones who are happy being terminal intermediates who genuinely enjoy going slow on groomed runs.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

... happy being terminal intermediates ....

I forgot about them!

 

On the other extreme...

post #15 of 25

Came across this looking for something else.  Seemed directly related . . .

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Lutes View Post
 

Just a short remark: it's not necessarily the end of the world if your GF/possible life partner doesn't end up skiing.  She gets to decide whether she likes skiing, you get to decide if you can live with her decision.  Tried to ski with my wife - didn't work.  I ski, she jumps horses over 5' fences, and we thoroughly enjoy sharing our experiences (yes, both our passions are equally dangerous and expensive!).  We're both better for it.

 

My husband is definitely not a "slider" or into speed or risk of any kind.  That means no ziplines, snow tubing, horseback riding, or rock climbing.  All on the list of things me and my daughter enjoy doing.  He and I talked about skiing while we were dating.  He'd been on skis with college friends in the midwest but clearly never got beyond basic beginner and falling a lot.  It was not a deal breaker.  I've seen him on skis twice, once a few years after we were married and again the day after my daughter went to ski school for the first time at age 4.  She loved it from Day 1.  Given the way he looked on the bunny slope and the fact that by then we'd been married over 10 years, I told him I appreciated the effort, but that probably it was not worth the money for him to ski.  I think he was relieved.  These days we are both retired.  He stays home and takes care of the pets while I go off on ski trips.  Definitely an enabler.  We've been married over 20 years and that sort of compromise works fine for us.  YMMV

post #16 of 25
Perhaps an interest in athletics as a child and teenager is a good predictor, especially if they involved contact and the risk of injury. My wife did gymnastics and I played basketball. We are no strangers to falls and sprains.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

Perhaps an interest in athletics as a child and teenager is a good predictor, especially if they involved contact and the risk of injury. My wife did gymnastics and I played basketball. We are no strangers to falls and sprains.


Not in the case of my husband.  He played football at a big high school.  The flip side story in the family is my niece.  No sports, very good at ballet . . . a natural at skiing and likes to go pretty fast.  Her parents are not sporty at all.  My brother and I are completely different when it comes to sports.  Although he does drive pretty fast and likes  motorcycles.

 

I know several women who were hesitant about learning to ski as adults.  But for some reason they really, really wanted to learn and improve.  Took longer than average, but after a few seasons and help from good instructors, now they can't get wait for ski days.  Some had strong support from an SO, others had little direct support.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.

post #18 of 25
I fall in the same camp as your friends and I'm really still on my learning curve trying to avoid the dreaded "terminal intermediate". But I'd say a ballet dancer has to have strength, coordination, and tolerance to injury from the ones I've known, one a professional. Rethinking this, perhaps my point is more applicable to those willing to take up skiing later in life.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

Perhaps an interest in athletics as a child and teenager is a good predictor, especially if they involved contact and the risk of injury. My wife did gymnastics and I played basketball. We are no strangers to falls and sprains.
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

I fall in the same camp as your friends and I'm really still on my learning curve trying to avoid the dreaded "terminal intermediate". But I'd say a ballet dancer has to have strength, coordination, and tolerance to injury from the ones I've known, one a professional. Rethinking this, perhaps my point is more applicable to those willing to take up skiing later in life.


I agree that if an adult beginner was actively playing certain sports while in school, then they are more likely to think sliding on snow is fun.  But the converse does not seem to be true in my experience.  With a good introduction, there are adults who were not sporty but end up having lots of fun skiing.  That's come as a surprise.  My view changed in recent years only because I've skied with people I've met from online ski forums.  It's very hard to tell someone's background just seeing them on the slopes.

 

Just registered your emphasis on "falls and sprains."  Do you expect a lot of falling to happen when someone is a beginner or intermediate?

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


I agree that if an adult beginner was actively playing certain sports while in school, then they are more likely to think sliding on snow is fun.  But the converse does not seem to be true in my experience.  With a good introduction, there are adults who were not sporty but end up having lots of fun skiing.  That's come as a surprise.  My view changed in recent years only because I've skied with people I've met from online ski forums.  It's very hard to tell someone's background just seeing them on the slopes.

Just registered your emphasis on "falls and sprains."  Do you expect a lot of falling to happen when someone is a beginner or intermediate?

Speaking from my experience, I'd say yes to falls and I have sprained my knee. frown.gif My wife is much more graceful, but has skied since she was a teenager. And I do think the fear of falling and injury puts people off. My daughter tried skiing in middle school and loved it, but has quit for these reasons since she went to college. My son still loves it and has continued to advance despite some spectacular falls. He ran XC, track, and long jump in HS, she played basketball, so I concede that even sports participation is not a sure predictor. rolleyes.gif
post #21 of 25

qcanoe,

 

Great post.

 

Your story sounds a whole like lot mine, and one of my best friend's as well.  We used to joke about the pleasure our wives got from announcing at parties: "I hate the cold" (knife sinks in), then "I hate going fast" (knife sinks a little deeper), followed by "I hate sliding around and losing control" (by now we've reached the aorta), and finally "I really hate going fast on slippery surfaces in the cold!"  By this time my buddy and I are DOA. The tension around skiing was at the root of many rough marital moments over the years. Eventually I stopped trying to get the her out on the slopes and asked my friends to please stop asking her how in the world she couldn't love skiing.

 

Things got a little better when we moved closer to skiing. The above scenario started in NYC, where skiing is so disruptive to non-skiing partners.  After moving to New England, I could disappear for the day, less harm done.  But the tension persisted.

 

Fast forward 10 years and the world's turned upside down.  The turning point was the kids' catching the ski bug.  It took some brainwashing in the beginning, I admit, but now I've got 3 passionate kids on the race team, praying for first flakes to fall.  Most importantly, mom now gets it.  She sees the joy and passion they derive from skiing, and suddenly it's all good.  She even consents to 5 day Western ski trips every other year. Not that it's so rough.

 

Bottom line is happiness can be achieved when only one half of a couple "loves going fast on a slick surface in cold weather."  But it takes a lot of work.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


I agree that if an adult beginner was actively playing certain sports while in school, then they are more likely to think sliding on snow is fun.  But the converse does not seem to be true in my experience.  With a good introduction, there are adults who were not sporty but end up having lots of fun skiing.  That's come as a surprise.  My view changed in recent years only because I've skied with people I've met from online ski forums.  It's very hard to tell someone's background just seeing them on the slopes.

Just registered your emphasis on "falls and sprains."  Do you expect a lot of falling to happen when someone is a beginner or intermediate?

Speaking from my experience, I'd say yes to falls and I have sprained my knee. frown.gif My wife is much more graceful, but has skied since she was a teenager. And I do think the fear of falling and injury puts people off. My daughter tried skiing in middle school and loved it, but has quit for these reasons since she went to college. My son still loves it and has continued to advance despite some spectacular falls. He ran XC, track, and long jump in HS, she played basketball, so I concede that even sports participation is not a sure predictor. rolleyes.gif


I can understand your thinking about falling because I watched how my nephew handled learning to ski as a tween.  Lots of falling involved in spite of having lessons.  Very athletic but that is in some way a negative since he was . . . and is . . . the just go all out and follow his friend and his friend's advanced/expert father on harder terrain.  When he spent a late season weekend with me at Massanutten (tiny hill in northern VA), he had a couple pretty spectacular yardsales because he was going too fast and not really in control on an empty slope.  By then, he was in college.  Doubt he had a lesson after age 12.  His sister (not athlete, very good dancer) paid more attention in lessons and had much better technique.  I didn't see her fall once when I skied with her as a tween.  Their mother has been on skis and can handle greens, but is happy to let the family go skiing without her.

 

That said, there really is little reason to be falling all the time as a beginner or intermediate.  Although many beginners believe that falling goes with being on skis.  I remember riding up a lift at Mnut with a college age couple.  First time ever on skis.  He assumed they would "figure it out" so wasn't interested in the Beginner Package that included lift ticket, rentals, and 2 hours of instruction.  The lessons were essentially free with the package.  The first hour uses a magic carpet and the second hour is riding the chair lift.  He assumed they would be falling a lot.  I managed to tell them enough so that they loaded the lift (conveyor loading) and unloaded without falling.  Even fewer intermediates take advantage of the package available to them that includes a 90-min lesson essentially for free or $35 if don't need rentals.  My daughter or niece would often get a private at less busy times.

 

What is less understandable for me is when parents spend big bucks to put their kids in full day ski school and then head out onto the bunny slope to "figure it out" for themselves.

 

But perhaps that's going a bit off-topic.

post #23 of 25
Even though my wife is a much better skier than I am, she thinks my new found passion is a bit much. She doesn't understand why I need more than one pair of skis! Yet she is very happy to leave the bargain shopping, trip planning, tuning, and waxing to me.

The more I ski the more I realize I should have taken more lessons as a beginner. I'm sure I would have fallen less! But true blue sheets of ice are hard for any beginner to handle.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 

 

Both happy - definitely yes. 

 

BTW, she is much wackier than I am. I provide the grounding in my family.

For people that know me, that is a scary thought. She just do a better job in camouflage with her Bogner jackets.   :eek 

 

Per @Jamesj ,I think she selected me for my nesting instincts.  :D 

 

Yeah, I have fond memories of skiing with her at Squaw and Alpine during the Tahoe Gathering, every run she would should out  "this is wondrous!"   You lucked out there, dude.

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post
You lucked out there, dude.

 

As I said before, I really don't think the choice was mine to make. :rolleyes

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