Do You have the Necessary (Ski)lls?

Credits: SkiHoodoo via Wikimedia // Creative Commons

Credits: SkiHoodoo via Wikimedia // Creative Commons

Brazil is not a country that sees snowfall, but since Graded students are quite the travelers, most of us have been to snowy places. Building snowmen, going skiing, and admiring the gorgeous scenery are only a few of the many reasons to enjoy ski stations around the world. However, there is a little known, very particular set of skills that are necessary to enjoy these activities.

First, the gift of packing. Enormous jackets, snow pants, boots, underskins, socks, gloves, goggles, and other necessary equipment–it seems no bag in the world can hold all the necessary garments. You must have the great ability of somehow finding a way of making all that compact. It may involve applying great force against clothes or jumping on top of the poor bag while attempting to make the zipper close. Some kind words of motivation to the bag, perhaps saying that you believe in it and it can definitely hold all of your precious attire.

If you manage to manipulate your bag to fit your cargo, congratulations, you are ready for the snowy mountains; at least until another challenge arises. Most ski stations are not near the airport, meaning you will most likely have to drive to the top of the mountain. That may sound easy, but trust me: it is not. Half of your brain may be admiring the wonderful scenery, but the other half will be scared stiff, hoping the driver won’t slide off the road. After all, tumbling down the cliffs to your ultimate death was not the point of the trip. Do try to relax, most people tend to pull through the hazardous journey. The rest? We don’t talk about them.

After arriving at your ski lodge without any fatalities, you may move on to challenge number three: renting skis. You walk into the rental shop thinking it will be a simple task, but the pressure mounts when you are posed with the question: “Are your ski boots comfortable?” You walk around in them, wiggle your toes, and you even jump a few times, but the answer will undoubtedly be, “Eh, I guess so.” Fret not because no matter what you do, you will always choose a pair that, no matter how much adjusting, will feel like you are stepping on a thousand legos.

Once you have all your equipment it is time to head outside. But don’t get ahead of yourself, you still have to face the fourth challenge: getting dressed. To walk out on the snow, you can’t wear what you do in Brazil. There are a series of never ending layers that must be added. You will start by putting on an underskin for extra warmth, followed by a fleece shirt. Of course, the underskin will be completely wrinkled under the fleece shirt and should take you about five minutes to get comfortable–if you have the necessary skills, that is. After this first battle comes the ski pants. You will wrestle with them for a few minutes only to realize after a hard-earned victory you forgot to put on socks. You may try rolling up your already skin tight underskin pants and putting on your socks. If you don’t manage that, have fun undressing and dressing all over again, only this time, don’t forget the socks. For the final touch before heading out, you struggle with your five-holed poofball excuse for a glove. You try as hard as you can, but no matter what you do, it seems your jacket can never quite go over your glove–leaving a small gap, revealing your now-frozen wrist. After all is said and done, you can now struggle with putting on sunscreen because unlike beach-tans, there is something unattractive about having a reverse-panda goggle tan.

Finally, you will manage to go outside to do all the fun things that you can do on a ski station. You can start by appreciating the gorgeous view, that is, if you manage to prevent your goggles from fogging up. You may try leaving a larger gap between them and your helmet, however that also means more cold air against your forehead. You thought that all those layers of clothing would protect you from the bitter cold? Think again. Once skiing you may find yourself wondering if you even have toes or fingers as you won’t be able to feel them. You may try to move them around hoping it will produce some warmth, but they will remain as red as a tomato.

After all is said and done comes the final challenge. Following a long day of skiing there always seems to be an array of delicacies awaiting in the lobby: hot chocolate, cookies, crepes, and other irresistible pastries. You may have the skills to breeze through all the other challenges, but no one has the ability of resisting these foods–at least to the point where you can still get up from your chair.

Ski stations are always fun, but require some work to enjoy. In the end, do you believe you have the necessary skills to spend your vacation there, or does a week at a beach sound more appealing?