Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My new happy place

I have recently discovered a love for something I NEVER knew I had-- skiing. 
It all started when my current roommate Lucy and my new roommate Carles started talking about how there are mountains to go skiing in here in Barcelona only 2 hours away.  Lucy was elated because she is a huge snowboarder and has even done a season working at a ski resort in France; spending every day on the slopes.  On top of that she has skied in various other countries; Switzerland, Norway, England, etc.  Carles  (being from Barcelona) has spent lots of time in the mountains as well.  
"Jamie, you have to come with us you will love it! Have you ever been?" 
Have I ever been? Yeah! One time.. On fake snow... In the middle of Missouri... I'm a pro! 
Obviously I am kidding and I hope you can catch my sarcasm here. I went skiing one time on the artificial snow in 8th grade (over 9 years ago). But as always, I am down for anything and happily agreed I would join them for a nice, peaceful day in the mountains. 
The first time we went (a few months ago now, time is seriously FLYING BY) it was myself, Carles and his 2 guy friends who are born and raised here in Barcelona.  All of them which are very skilled skiers/snowboarders.  
I still giggle when I think about this day and when I think about what was going through my head on the first few mountains I skied down.
Keep in mind I told Carles I had only been skiing once on fake snow when I was in 8th grade but also keep in mind the language barrier between us that sometimes stands in our way.
After a 2 hour drive from Barcelona to 'La Molina' we finally arrive to the resort where I have to rent boots and skis so we can get on our way up the mountain.  
The first thing I remember thinking when seeing the slopes were wow this is way bigger than Hidden Valley! I hope there is some small hills I will be able to practice on before heading down.  
When you are with 3 Catalan twenty something semi pro snowboarders and ex ski coaches... They are not going to wait around for a silly blonde American to go down the baby slopes.  Needless to say the first hill we went down was not a green or blue but a RED run.  (For those of you uneducated skiers like me, the easiest slopes are green then it advances to blue then red then finally black being the hardest)
Because I had no time to stand at the top and think or worry or even say anything with the boys already whizzing to the bottom I just went for it.  
I still don't know if this was better that I did it this way or worse because I literally could have seriously hurt myself or anyone else on that slope but for those 5-7 seconds as I was literally FLYING down the mountain-- I thought I might be saying my goodbyes.  It was a very stressful and scary first few minutes on those slopes with the boys trying to tell me in very broken English what I needed to be doing to stop, turn, slow down, etc but after about an hour I was loving it.
The second time we went, it was Carles, myself, Lucy, one of Carles' friends we went with the first time and his girlfriend.  I had filled Lucy in on my experience the first time and she was more than excited to help me and to see (and probably laugh at me) as well. 
Our second trip to the mountains was to a smaller resort much more quiet than the first and it was actually in France.  Everything about this resort was peaceful and perfect and I couldn't wait to get on that ski lift and begin the day.  The first few slopes we went down were nice and easy and Lucy was commenting on how natural I looked and that she thought I was going to be way worse! (Hey that's a compliment! I think?) anyways, it was a very peaceful and delightful day on the slopes with some of my favorite people! *Pictures below!*
The third and final time I went was to kick off my Spring break (or Semana Santa as they call it here) with Carles, his friend Nil and another one of Nil's friends.  We finally made it to Andorra! (Another country checked off my "to see" list!) Carles's parents had rented a condo type thing at a quaint rustic little resort on the way to Andorra and had it for an extra night before they were due to arrive so they graciously offered it to us. It was such a cute little place literally IN the mountains. 
 We drove down on Friday stayed at the resort Friday night and got up early Saturday to head to the mountains. It was the biggest resort we had been to so far and I can't even describe how beautiful it was! Because it was the last weekend that the ski resorts were going to be open due to spring time arriving, Carles and I made sure we got every single minute we could on the mountain. 
Needless to say-- I am very VERY thankful for Carles as this new experience for me would have been impossible without him. Him arranging the trips, his friends driving us 2, 3, or 4 hours away to reach the mountain, him asking and borrowing his friends skis for me that way I do not have to rent them, him giving me lessons on how to ski, the list goes on and on. He is so very generous and because of that I am now in love with skiing and will make sure to teach my children when they are young in the future that way they do not have my similar near death experiences when they are 24 :) 

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