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Free-riding on the slopes best option for goofy skier


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When poet Robert Frost penned his famed verse about coming upon two roads that diverged in a woods and taking the road less traveled — I’m pretty sure he wasn’t cruising 40 mph down a mountain on skis.

In fact since Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken” in 1915 and would have been about 41 years old, he probably stopped and pondered for a moment before taking one prong of the fork in the road. I can attest that of the people who were propelling themselves down the sides of the snow-covered mountain that I was on, only 2 percent were the 16-year-old boys on snow-boards that made their own way through the unplowed tree-filled less- traveled path — and none were writing poetry.

I realized that day that there are two types of people in the world — those that ski 80 mph like a bullet down a mountain and then there are those who ski like me. Seventeen-year-old daughter Phoebe gets in a seated position, tucks her poles under her arms and doesn’t slow down until she sees a chairlift at the bottom of the mountain. I prefer another method — I nonchalantly and in no hurry what-so-ever, ski from one side of the mountain slope to the other, making a slow bric-brac pattern.

I’m like the little kid in the outfield picking flowers. I like to take my time. Green circle and blue square ski runs were made for people like me — diamonds, particularly the black kind, are not this girl’s best friend.

During the first few runs, I usually just follow a family member down a slope — if they hit a hole or unforeseen pop-up mogul, I can then easily maneuver around it. I’m not ashamed to admit that on ski slopes I use my family like a canary in a mine — serving to warn me of upcoming danger.

However, on the second run of the day, Steve led us down a new slope while I casually followed he and the three daughters. It took me three times down the same run to realize he had told them to “stay to the right” — which was a nice sweet blue run — I, however was not privy to this conversation and went to the left side — which was a black diamond.

My heart pounded as my head communicated to my legs to try to stay in the upright position and avoid the expert skier terrain park.

I sheepishly noted on the chairlift back up, “wow, that was a rugged blue!” For you smarter-than-me nonskiers, a black diamond is a thrill-seeker’s dream — yet to skiers like me, black diamonds are like accidentally picking up a poisonous copperhead instead of your pet garter snake.

For future reference green and blue mean “go” to me and black means “stop” or just “sit down on your behind now and slide down.”

Hanging out with some new ski peeps warming my hands around the fire-pit, I picked up some new ski slang.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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