Vail Daily column: Amateur’s guide to skiing | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Amateur’s guide to skiing

Benjamin A. Gochberg
Valley Voices

I once heard Warren Miller say that there was no such thing as an amateur skier. With all due respect, Miller (and much, my friends, is due), I would like to invite you out for a ski day. For you readers, please know that I am not suggesting that Miller and I will be commenting on all of you. No, I’m talking about myself. It’ll be the best ski film ever. From personal experience, please allow me to now delineate how you can know that you are clearly an amateur.

First of all, you ensure that when you park your car that you lean your skis as precariously as possible on your vehicle. This way, when you sit back down in the car to put on your boots, your skis will slide sideways, appropriately scratching your car, and quite possibly breaking the window of the car next to you. Further, the noise of skis falling on concrete in the parking lot will let everyone else know that you are coming.

Once you identify the right bus by reading the blatantly obvious flashing signs, make sure to get confused about whether or not to carry your skis onto the bus. Double check that the stupor occurs while you are standing halfway inside the bus. Then, rather than asking a more-than-willing stranger for clarification, just wait there.

On the bus, don’t hang onto anything. Rather, try and balance yourself in the middle of the aisle while standing near elders and small children. Losing your balance and grip on your skis will provide for maximum collateral damage.

Proceed to the lift ticket office. Lean your skis on the racks provided, but don’t pay attention to exactly where you are, or where you set your skis.

Get lift pass. Tell yourself you won’t stop skiing until you’ve made your experience worth every penny of that lift pass regardless of pain, injury, weather and/or certain death.

After you find your way back to the rack where you left your skis, and after realizing that the rental skis you brought are the exact same brand and color as 10 other pairs of skis on the rack, and after getting yelled at for trying to abscond with the wrong skis, head to the lift.

In the lift line, be sure to let the tips of your skis repeatedly bang into the back of the boots of the person standing in front of you as you slide unapologetically in their direction. Flail your arms around to keep your balance, assaulting anyone nearby. Essentially, do as much damage as humanly possible.

Once at the front of the line, drop your poles, get a piece of clothing hung up on something, or just fall down.

On the chair, offer without solicitation your favorite black diamond, all of your life history, that you are a local, that you aren’t a local, that the lift lines suck, that you hate Democrats, Republicans, God, atheists, Arabs, immigrants, free speech, that you like making the yellow jackets mad and anything else you deem relevant. If you’re feeling ambitious, then drop a glove or pole. As another option, offer to sell or buy pot from someone. Finally, put your earbuds in and play hip hop or hard rock loud enough for all to hear.

If you successfully disembark the chair, then this may be your first success of the day. Keep yourself together, and after taking an overly self-indulgent EpicMix photo, head downhill.

In your run selection, it is important that you choose a run clearly beyond your skill level. You may find yourself drawn to a run with lots of beautiful trees. Trust your instincts.

As you head downhill, make sure all of your turns are of grossly varying size and frequency. Try to confuse everyone coming up behind you. If in a wide area, then cut across the entire run. Cross in front of as many other skiers as often as prudent. When you reach the tree line, you have several options. If you continue into the trees at high enough speed, then a tree will slow you down. If you choose to stop at the trees, then you may find yourself now start to slide backwards until you hit another skier or catch an edge. If you are feeling more aggressive, then just point downhill and pray to God that there are no kids on the catwalks.

All this said, at the end of the day you’ll start to catch on. Just remember, if you survive, to laugh at yourself and thank the nice people that kept you and everyone else alive. Don’t get too frustrated with being an amateur … we were all there at some point. Beyond that, everyone else is sincerely glad you are here (no sarcasm). We were all amateurs sometime. To all you pros out there, and to Miller, just watch out for us … please.

Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.