The lesson was at Windblown in New Ipswich. I followed 101 West past Bedford and up into the hills, where the Souhegan River ran black and cold beside the road, and the snowy pines clung to the hillside beyond. There were a few villages like Wilton and Greenville; steep streets of old wooden houses, empty brick mills, and green steel truss bridges.
It was lovely and mysterious and I didn't get to enjoy any of it, because I was running late, and didn't actually know where New Ipswich was. Also, I was still in my pajamas, and awkwardly trying to change into my ski clothes as I drove. It's amazing that I got there at all, and only 20 minutes late.
The parking lots at Windblown were all full. I had to park in the top lot, where the road was so steep that my truck stopped cold and would go no further. I stomped and slid back down to the lodge at the bottom of the hill, where the girl at the desk told me that my class had already left.
"They're at the teaching hill," she said, "but you can probably still catch up with them."
"I really can't," I said. "I don't know how to ski yet. Thanks anyway."
I was putting on my coat, feeling dejected, when one of the owners found me. She had overheard the conversation, and called one of the instructors to come back for me. The boy behind the desk brought me some boots, poles, and special beginner skis.
My instructor was one of those spry older women whose age is impossible to tell. She worked with the poor skiers in the class, myself and some woman who was afraid to go downhill.
Apparently, I frequently forget to use my poles. I also fell down a lot, once on my backside. That killed. Still, after landing on your tailbone, no other pain even registers. At one point, I actually did a full belly-flop in the snow, and as I was going down, I remember only feeling grateful that I was falling forward.
With some more practice, I might not do so badly as a skier. The moves are a lot like roller-skating. Roller-skating on big clown feet.
The polyester mittens I wore were a dumb, sweaty mistake. So was the puffy goose down jacket, which I left somewhere on a bench. The bamboo-fiber socks, however, might be the best $4.95 I've ever spent.
On the drive home, the road felt wrong. First my ears started to pop, which was odd. I passed the entrance to Pack Monadnock Mountain, which I didn't remember passing on my way in. Then I saw a sign which said PETERBOUROGH 7 MILES, which didn't seem right at all. Finally, I found a sign which confirmed my suspicion - I had been traveling further west for almost half an hour. Crap.
This morning, I feel fine. As long as I don't try to move. Think I'll stay in bed and blog all afternoon.