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Tangled up on blue

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

I had heard the warning many times before: never allow a husband and wife together in the same lesson. But being a new instructor, I was sure that the rule applied to everyone but me.I was assigned a husband and wife for a private lesson. The woman was nice enough, but the husband was a rather large, high-powered “Type A” executive from the East Coast – the type of guy who was used to giving directions and having people follow them. Every time I would offer direction to the couple, the husband would repeat it back to the wife: “See honey, that’s what I told you to do.” Or, “Did you hear what she said, Doris? She said to put all of your weight on your downhill ski.”Nonetheless, they both seemed to be progressing quite well. After lunch, we decided to try an easy blue run. Before pushing off for Hunky Dory, I asked the husband to ski directly behind me with his wife following him. “Did you hear that, honey?” he asked. “She wants you to ski right behind me. Stay right behind me.”Things were going well until the wife lost control of her speed and slammed into the back of her husband, taking him down to the snow. During the collision, one of the wife’s skis slid inside the husband’s jacket, straight up the back until the ski tip became lodged in the collar of his turtleneck. The more the couple struggled, the more her ski moved up.With the two looking like a game of pick up sticks, I made the mistake of offering some verbal assistance: “Doris, try sliding your right ski out of Leo’s jacket.” The husband echoed my instruction by yelling, “Doris! Did you hear her? Slide your (expletive deleted) ski out of my (expletive deleted) jacket!”By this time, I had completely lost all of my professional composure and fell to the snow in laughter alongside the floundering couple. This, of course, made Leo even angrier: “Doris! Get your (expletive deleted) ski out of my (expletive deleted) jacket!”After a few minutes, I managed to crawl over to Doris’ right ski and popped her foot out of the binding long enough to slide her ski out of Leo’s jacket. I told the two that they could stand up.That’s when Doris chimed in, “Did you hear her, Leo? She said that you can stand up now and put your (expletive deleted) skis back on!”- Katie Gaylord, VailVail, Colorado


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