We spent the last few days of our trip in the Black Forest. I briefly mentioned in the last post that we hiked up the mountain to our hostel, but I don't feel like that explanation did it justice. Let's be clear here...it is 5 km from the train station (in the valley) to the hostel (at the tippity top of the ice covered mountain). And we both had two bags at this point because of all the Christmas goodies we had purchased. By the time we reached the hostel, my quads were screaming for mercy! But that's enough of that...
We set out on Tuesday to see the sights in the Black Forest. It had snowed overnight, so now we had snow/ice/snow layers which makes walking fun. :-) Triberg has a little bit of a Gatlinburg feel, which is unfortunate, because Gatlinburg is home to lots of mullets and tacky stores. It was a little more touristy than we thought it would be, but we had lots of laughs! You get this great Konas card when you stay at a hostel in the Schwarzwald which allows you to use all local transportation for free AND get free tickets to two different ski lifts. This sounded like a great idea, since it costs an arm and a leg to get lift tickets in the states (and you can't ski very well with one arm and one leg!). So we hopped on the bus and headed to Schonwald.
I have never been skiing. I water ski and wakeboard, but I've never snow skiied. My dad grew up skiing, Charlie skis, Kevin is a ski patrol, Adam and Sarah ski...of course, I'm thinking, "How hard can this be?" Oh boy. First, in the Schwarzwald, kids learn to ski before they walk. We go into the ski store to rent skis, and the girl helping us is about 9 years old. The look on her face when Charlie told her I had never skied before was PRICELESS!!! I was the laughing stock of the store as I tried to figure out how to put the boots on and then how to walk in them! I really wanted to snowboard because I knew that trying to make two skis operate together was going to be a little much for my coordination. But I was stuck with skis.
Skis - check. Poles - check. Boots - check. Confidence - check. Time to hit the slopes! The lift is little and takes you to the top of the hill, then you ski down either side. Not too high or complicated or difficult. Plus there's tons of little kids skiing and snowboarding. Piece of cake. Charlie gives me a brief lesson on balancing and stopping, and then I suggest that we ride the lift to the top and I will learn as I go. I mean, all I have to do is point my skis towards the bottom of the hill, swivel by hips back and forth, not run into anything, and look totally awesome doing it. The picture of me skiing in my mind looked great!
The lift is a t-bar, or so they tell me, and it zipped us right to the top. This is the point when I wished most that we still had the digital camera. The view was so pretty! And have I mentioned that it was raining? Because it was. So the snow was a little melty and the rain was slushy and the slopes were, um, icy? Whatever. I can do this.
Charlie starts by teaching me how to turn so that I don't run into trees, small children, and the poles supporting the lift. But I can only kinda sorta turn to the left, and stopping is a disaster, so I feel like Zoolander. And then the drama. I'll go right, back towards the middle of the slope. Except I start speeding down the slope towards all the people coming up on the lift. And I can't turn. Or stop. Oops. So I'm desperately trying to fall so that at least I can tumble slowly into the poor people. Next thing I know, I'm face down in the snow with my skis spread out behind me. I'm laughing because A) I didn't die, B) I didn't hurt anyone, and C) I know I look absolutely ridiculous!!!
I don't care about falling, or about people laughing at me, but I tremendously cared about blowing out my knees in a foreign country. Bless my heart. Charlie rescued me, and I picked up my skis and walked down the rest of the way, laughing at the irony of the situation. I'm incredibly sad I was not able to document with pictures because I'm pretty sure I could have won some money from America's Funniest Home Videos. Or at least become a YouTube star.
Lessons learned from skiing:
1. Take lessons.
2. Start on the bunny hill.