Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second is the Best... Third is Not the Worst

After my first experience of skiing wasn't the most positive, I was very hesitant going back the second time. Luke's dad had recently bought a vacation home in Crested Butte, Colorado so I decided to give skiing another try. All of the Buisson siblings were planning to visit Crested Butte for Christmas 2011. Coincidentally, my family was also planning a Christmas trip to Crested Butte. All of us planned to ski for at least a few days, so I had to get ready. Because I was so sore during the first trip, I wanted to prepare myself for the second trip. I remembered exactly what parts of my body were sore, so I used the trusty interwebs and did a little bit of research. I came up with a variety of exercises, and focused on those parts of my body for a month prior to leaving.
Our first day on the slopes was a nice day, but since it was only December, not all of the lifts and slopes were open. Most of them were, but not all. The first run we did was NOT the best choice. The signs all said green, but it ended up being moguls. Moguls = Difficult. I was soooooo mad at Luke for choosing that run first, even though he had no idea. I ended up falling and both of my skis came off. It's really difficult putting skis back on while on a slope because you end up sliding down the mountain. Anyway, I couldn't get my second one on, and Luke was getting frustrated with me for taking forever. So this resulted in me laughing because the situation was just ridiculous. Anyway, we found a quick cut through to an easy slope and made our way down the mountain. We found a much easier green than any of the others I had been on previously, including Winter Park, and this one got me so much more comfortable with the sport. We used that slope as a starting point each day and worked my way up. By the end of the trip, I was doing pretty well! I was not pushed by others. I created my own pace. I used the Buisson siblings who were learning as well as a time for me to improve my skills. The seven days I skied ended up great! And my exercises worked because I was not sore a single day of that trip!

I enjoyed it so much, that I was super jealous when Luke went on a guy's trip in January back to Crested Butte. He ended up trying snowboarding for the first time since he felt there was no more challenge in skiing. Plus, snowboarding is "super cool" and all the "cool kids" like to snowboard. And since Luke is the coolest kid on earth, he had to prove his cool kidness. Anyway, I enjoyed skiing so much over Christmas that when the Mardi Gras 2012 break came around (which gave me a full week off of work), we decided two weeks before to take another trip to Crested Butte. So right away, I begin my ski leg prep!
For my third ski trip, we went ahead with a 5 day lift pass, and we used all five of those days. My skills improved so much more! Luke continued with the snowboarding with a few major tumbles here and there. But by the end of the trip, the two of us were flying down the blues. We make a pretty good team on the slopes! I don't like to fall, so I stay in the back and make sure that Luke is doing okay. I still don't like to go really fast, but I can if needed. I like to feel in control and just glide along. Any extreme difficulty, like double blues and blacks just isn't fun to me. And I think this is about the extent of it. The important thing is I really do enjoy to ski!
We have a month to go before we leave for Morzine, France. Our group of 11 includes all kinds of skill levels, so I think it will be a great trip! Most of us are renting for 6 days of skiing, and I plan to take advantage of all 6 days. I have heard that the Alps is different than the Rockies. The slopes have 4 colors - green, blue, red, black - rather than the three in the States - green, blue, black. I have heard than the runs are narrower rather than the wide lanes you find in the Rockies. I plan to take it easy at first and just work my way up. But before all of this, I must prepare my body for 6 days of skiing!

Come back later to see what I do to prepare my legs for skiing...

The ski season is generally 5-6 months - around November to April. - but, each mountain and each year is different.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Time Skier

Generally, my blogs are about what is going on in my current life. Well, I've decided to write a little bit of my history in preparation for an exciting future event! In early March, Luke and I will be joining a group of 11 others in the French/Swiss Alps for a week long ski trip. We are super duper excited!
Let's go back in time quite a bit... years in fact... When Luke was young, he went skiing practically every year. He learned when he was itty-bitty and would fly down the mountain. I have been told that he would point his skis straight with no fear in mind. According to him, if he did get nervous, he would just fall with no injury because he was so close to the ground. His last ski adventure was at 7 years old.
Let's move forward in time quite a bit... years in fact... Luke and I got the chance to go on a ski trip in 2011 with a group of friends to Winter Park, Colorado. I had never skied before, and my sister pretty much hated it when she tried it, so I was nervous to spend so much money. Plus, everyone else in our group had skied multiple times previously. I was worried I would be left alone. Luke was excited because he had positive memories of skiing as a child.
On my first day of skiing, our group insisted that I did not need ski lessons. A few of them stayed with Luke and I to show us what to do. Like riding a bike, Luke got back into the groove very quickly. I, on the other hand, was moving like a turtle. Why is it that getting on and off the lifts is the hardest task and must be completed before the easier tasks? Anyway, they stayed with me for a couple of runs down the easiest green we found, and then Luke and I were left alone.
The most exhausting part about skiing is falling. It happens when you learn. You cant fight it. It just happens. And so after falling and getting back up over and over again, my legs were getting exhausted. I remember my thighs burning with pain... to the point where I couldn't pull myself back up one time. And since I was new, I "pizza"-ed my way down the slope. I was scared to let loose and go anywhere near 10mph 1mph. So the pizza-ing is also exhausting on the legs. By mid-day, Luke was bored and somehow convinced me to try other green runs on the mountain. I was getting the hang of it, but still learning. That evening, I was sore! Sore! Sore! My thighs burned, my outer thighs burned, my triceps burned, my shoulders burned. No amount of hot tub or alcohol was going to make me feel better.
The second day of skiing went pretty well. New powder covered the slopes, and for those of you who have skied before know that new powder is heavenly! I started the day with my easy greens, but by mid-day, I upgraded to blues! I joined the rest of our group which were primarily snowboarders. Unfortunately, I was still really sore, and I was still very much new to the game. While they flew down the mountain, I was taking my nervous time catching up with them. By the time I caught with them at their waiting point, they had been resting for a minute or two and were ready to go. This left me with ZERO rest - I was beat! I managed to make it through the day, but again, sore, sore, sore.

I had taken the third day off to rest my legs and get a massage with the girls. We enjoyed sleeping in, sipping hot chocolate, and chatting at the lodge. The guys used that day to try out some black runs, do some jumps, and make their own paths through the trees. Luke was in heaven and reverting back to his childhood days.
(see middle picture... Luke is about to go through the trees.)

Day four of our trip was back to skiing. It was my third and final day to ski, and it was not the greatest. The beautiful powder became icy and chunky which is not a great ski surface. The group and I went back to our blue runs we did on day two. Things were not going the same as my second day. I remember not liking the surface, my boots were digging into my shins, and I could barely feel my feet. After doing those runs multiple times, I remembered (for the most part) what was coming up on the slope. I had learned that if a flat green was coming, I had to "french fry" as much as possible to gain speed for the flat. Toward the end of the day, I misjudged a slope and "french fried" way too early. I ended up going way too fast and was bouncing around on chunks. I was not comfortable, so I did what Luke told me and went down to the ground to stop. My right arm caught somewhere on the ground and my shoulder was in pretty rough pain. Like all other times, I was left behind with the rest of the group in front of my waiting. So I had to suck it up and keep going. As I went, I realized that I completely misjudged the slope because I had another downhill before that flat part. If I hadn't of stopped, I would have been in a major bind. I met up with Luke, told him what happened, and was done!

At that point, I believed that I would never ski again. I wasn't comfortable, and I didn't think I would ever get  the hang of it. I was letting the pain of my boots (which was pretty severe) get the worst of me. When I arrived back home after the trip, my mind had changed. I started to get the itch of "you can do it". I wanted to conquer that challenge, and get it right. I was still nervous about it, but I didn't think that was the end of my journey.

Stay tuned for the rest of my story which is much shorter than this story...

RANDOM FACT: (you may call this an opinion, but it is definitely a fact!)
Little kids skiing is the cutest thing in the world!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Looking Back...

A few weeks ago, all of the bloggers were posting reflections of their life in 2012. We had a big year in 2012 with so many changes that I couldn't even count them up if I wanted to. Rather than a reflection of 2012, I'd like to reflect on the last six months of our lives.
Today marks six months since we left the USA to begin life in the United Kingdom. Luke and I have learned new ways to live individually and as a couple. We have adjusted to the new norm easily and also not-so-easily. Here are a few of the major changes we have made:

1.) Driving - For the most part, we can drive. Driving on the left side of the road and in the right side of the car took getting used to for sure, but now it feels normal. And frankly, I'm terrified to attempt to drive the "correct" way.
2.) Exercise - We have learned to jog on hilly roads, in rain or shine, and in cold or... cold. We have learned a new style of exercise called hiking. It is one of our favorite activities that allows us to see some of the most beautiful places in this country.
3.) From DINK to SINK (aka Single Income, No Kids) - We have adjusted and compromised as to how each of us will contribute to this family. It took some major getting used to, but I think we make a perfect team!
4.) Housewife - This had to be a separate point from above... I have learned to cook. And I think I am a pretty good one too! I try new recipes every week. Luke told me that he cant pin-point a favorite because I don't cook things more than once... and I hope that is the reason why he can't tell me a favorite?? I have learned how to use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit in the oven and also use a gas stove. It is now a habit to clean rather than like pulling teeth. I also have figured out how to speed up the laundry process!
5.) Weather - We have learned that once you "get out there", it isn't as bad as it seems. It may look miserable, but it is all about the clothing. Winter has only begun in Aberdeen and its pretty brutal. The wind is strong, the air is cold, the ground gets icy, and it is really difficult to drive. I have experienced traction problems a few times to where I am almost stuck, and it has got me staying at home until I feel safe.
6.) Boiler - We are still working out the most efficient way to keep our house warm without it costing us an arm and leg. I am not sure it is even possible, we are trying different things to see which is the least costly.

7.) Walking - We are loving the location of our home! It is only a mile from the city center, so we are able to walk to wherever we are going out to on the weekends. We are only a little over a mile from the big grocery stores and our gym. We walk to most of our friends' houses. So easy to be safe!

With all of those changes, we have had some fantastic moments! Here are some of my favorites:

1.) Traveling - We have seen some amazing cities and towns in just six months. We are so thankful and blessed to have been given this opportunity that allows us to see different parts of the world!

2.) Friends - We have made some of the best friends in Aberdeen. Who knew that across the world you could find people that have similar interests as you? They are amazing, and life here definitely would not be the same! So thankful for each and every one of you!!

3.) Hiking - We had only done one hiking adventure before arriving in Scotland, and now it is the thing to do. Would it be the same anywhere else though?

4.) Snow - Although it is a pain after it's done, it still gives me goosebumps each time I watch it come down. It is like Disney World... so magical!

We are doing well over here, but we do miss our family and friends! We cannot wait to come back to Texas and Louisiana in May. Crawfish & Mexican food - we're coming for you!!

Pepper spray is considered a prohibited weapon in the United Kingdom.

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