The cheerful holidays are upon us as the fresh, soft snow builds the most perfect winter atmosphere. The season’s first snowfall is always one of my favorite events and I can’t help but let out a small chuckle when the first snowflake lands upon my cheek. As it quickly melts against my rosy skin, my memory is jogged to the time my face was buried in the fluffy substance during a family ski trip gone awry. Subconsciously, I always start to hum “My Grandma got Ran Over by a Reindeer”, only, my version has a few different words.
It was Spring Break 2007 and my Mom, Dad, younger sister and I were all excited for an escape to the mighty hilltops of Granite Peak, Wisconsin. After unloading the ever faithful family van, better known to me as “The Golden Bullet”, it was time to hit the slopes and pretend to know exactly what we were doing. The first few runs went smoothly; my sister, Karisa and I, took to racing down the easy, green paths in order to get the hang of skis again, as it was only our second time in the big leagues of snow sporting. Mom and Dad are super athletes, of course, and decided to tackle one of them runs with the funny looking moguls. We all met at the bottom of the mountain with sailing egos and adrenaline that had us ready to conquer more. So back in line for the chairlift we got, but this time, things went a little differently.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, nonchalantly we skied towards the lines to the lift, separated by long, looping ropes. Here’s the thing about skis: they are long, slippery and very hard to control for those of us who struggle with that whole hand-eye-coordination thing. Nonetheless, the four of us made it to the front without any problems and readied as the gates opened simultaneously. From here in the story, my memory is continuously stuck on the slo-mo setting.
Together, as a group, no, as a family, we (attempted) to glide towards a blood red line drawn in the ice. The line signaled where we were supposed to perform a controlled stop and wait for the chair to swing from behind and take us up to the mountain, to the blue skies of glory. Finally, we reached the line. Grasping two poles in one hand, we each turned our heads around to seek the chair swiftly approaching. Slightly swaying with the wind, the chair came closer and closer until, finally, the rugged, black leather was mere seconds from hitting us each in the behind. We all began to bend at the knees, systematically planning to sit down on the chair with the utmost grace and perfect timing.
While preforming the “sitting” maneuver, an obviously challenging task for any two-legged creature, Mom’s right ski turned outward and hooked onto Dad’s left ski. With gravity never in favor of an embarrassing scene, Mom was pulled to the cold ground while Dad attempted to pull his ski closer to him. Just like dominos, Dad managed to fall forward and take me, on his right, down with him from another hooked ski situation. Karisa, the youngest at age ten, is the only one who had conquered the task of finding the chair with her butt. As she promptly fastened herself on the still moving chair, Mom, Dad, and I tasted the dirty snow face down. Our skies were sticking out every which way creating a massive knot. A laughing crowd seemed to form, their eyes filled with pity as we repeatedly tried to get up, but to no avail.
The man working the machine did not seem to notice the flailing family on the ground, clearly in need of some assistance. I vaguely remember calling out for help…the chair continued to move toward me like the Great White Shark in Jaws (1975). Before I knew it, Mom, Dad, and I had our hands over our head as the chair swept completely over us. Just when I thought the worst part was over, I realized the lift was still moving. Is anyone even working this thing? The next chair was almost upon us and all I could do was stay low to ground and hope that soon, I would be able to get up and walk away from this traumatizing event.
The lift had stopped. Praise the Lord! It took five solid minutes to actually stand up, get the skis situated once more and sit on a new chair, one behind Karisa who was already ten feet in the air. The lift started to move again and we were back on track to the top of the mountain with our cheeks full of rosy red embarrassment. The chairlift took us higher, but behind me I could still hear the crowd’s hushed laughter and feel their eyes focused on the family who fell of the chair.
It’s safe to say that this moment in time was one of my most humiliating yet. But the fact that it happened alongside my crazy family, makes it one memory worth remembering. I will never look at snow the same and every holiday season must include one round of:
“My Mom got ran over by a chairlift…”
Related to: Memories of Holidays Past