Upper International

Kathryn Crawford Saxer A Little Kindness

My husband took me down Upper International (a double black diamond, I’ll have you know) on the last day of the ski season this year.
This is important (to me) because my season started on a green circle run as I tried to remember how to ski after 25-some years.

Looks steep! 

My mid-season included a Traverse of Shame after I got myself past the point of no return on a bumpy black diamond run (Triple60) and forgot how to ski.
I was skiing by myself that day and was feeling cocky and confident. It didn’t look too steep from the chair. How hard could it be? I asked myself as I skied over the lip. Once there, the only way I could get myself down was to gingerly ski across the slope, then sit on my ass, turn my skis the other direction, and gingerly ski the other direction. It must have taken me half an hour to get down that slope.
It took me a couple of weeks to try again.
“You don’t have to do Upper International if you don’t want to,” my husband (an expert skier) said on the last day of the ski season. “I think you can do it, but it’s your choice.”
Well, if he thinks I can do it, then of course I can do it. I happily followed him off Chair Two at the top of Alpental and down that crazy chute, occasionally yelling at him to get out of my way. It was awesome and I would never have done it by myself.
I’ve been thinking about how I got some good coaching:
1. It was entirely my choice.
2. My husband believed I could do it even when I didn’t know.
To me, coaching is about identifying choices and having someone else – whose judgment you respect – believe you can do it, even if you’re not so sure yourself.
Next year, maybe I’ll ski it fast. I wonder if I can do it.