Was first exposed to skiing back in the winter of 84/85 when I had just turned 6 years old. My family had just moved to Mass from North Carolina and my father decided my brother and I were going to learn how to ski since we were living in New England now (since he had learned in college taking trips to Mt Snow). Needless to say, my brother and I got new equiptment, brandie new Olins (I forget the bindings and boots) but because it was new and out parents didn't know if we'de like it, they cheaped out. Didn't get us a lesson, didn't get us a lift ticket, just dragged us up the hill on foot. Needless to say, it was a traumatising experience, I ended up falling, couldn't get up, and balled my little eyes out. Needless to say, I hated it.
I've been hooked ever since. I started lessons that year (THANK GOD), and they only lasted a couple seasons until the rebel in me popped its head, and I took off. I started exploring on my own, teaching myself, learning from others, pushing my limits. I started teaching at 16 (with protests from the Ski Patrol had very dearly liked ripping my tickets) and I've been teaching ever since.
I still have a tendency to fall more often standing still than moving, and needless to say I didn't learn to get up when I fell (without taking off equiptment on the flats) until I was 19, and fell in a teaching beginers clinic (and boy was my face red when here I was, a fairly respected younger instructor, on the ground, stuck). Thankfully, a new way to get up was pointed out, and its still the only way I teach people to get up. I finally got serious about teaching at 19, and got PSIA level I cert. Attained my level II at 23 (I waited and let my pre-requesite expire because I had an Examiner PISS ME OFF - BTW I still have a few pins to throw at her), and at level II I also attained my reputation as a wise-ass jokster, but yet someone who can ski very well technically when needed (one of my examiners didn't know how to react when I skied by her in a backwards tuck, before twin-tips were the rage, on the traverse atop Jiminy Peak or when I assed out a wedge tuck, poles straight up in the air, straighlining a Blue/Black pitch screaming "Power Wedge Tuck"). Thankfully got my Level III cert last year, at 25 with 2 memorable experiences, getting an applause from an examiner after ripping a free run down Avalanche at Cannon (I knew he was gonna pass me after that), and having an examiner (at the teaching exam) tell me he had never had so much fun skiing with anyone while in an exam setting.
I still think that one of my funniest memories from early stages of learning though, I was about 8, came ripping down the bunny hill, and swerved to avoid a crowd, but couldn't stop. Needless to say they used to park cars right at the end of the trail, well, up the snowbank I went, bellyflop right onto the hood - not losing any equiptment. Well, I found the one car with someone sitting in it, the lady, horrified by the shock of the sound and then seing a face down 8 year old on her hood, as I was squirming off her hood, she got out (most likely to see if I was ok), and getting back to my feet, I turned to her, still looking horrified, and simply said "Sorry, shouldn't park there".