Expanding the World, One Ski Pair at a Time

February 16, 2016

Robert loves skiing.  He loves to ski with his father, going fast  from the North Peak of the Sunapee Mountain. He loves skiing with NEHSA instructors from the South Peak of the Mountain. He goes slower, following instructors  as they are taking left and right turns. With his father, Robert doesn’t listen, just skis down in a wedge position.  He feels safer this way and thus becomes more adventurous. With his instructors Robert attends to their directions and by trying to imitate their postures and following their paths he becomes more conscious skier.

When he skis with his father, Robert uses his own slightly outdated equipment. When he skis with NEHSA, Robert uses boots and skis that belong to the organization.  No problem so far.

But when Robert brings his equipment with him, he doesn’t want the one that belongs to NEHSA even when he has the lesson that calls for better and safer  skis.

Let me correct myself.  It is not that he doesn’t want NEHSA boots and skis.  Robert CANNOT have NEHSA stuff.  That would break one of Robert’s unwritten rules.  Not just Robert’s rules, but the rules of the universe.  No wonder that he protests loudly and forcefully. Everybody is wrong trying to break the rule.  Robert knows how it has to work. So, he tries to convince others of his righteousness the only way he can.  He screams, he keeps putting skis back. He protests some more. And more.

We could back off and cancel the lesson.  Robert could ski with dad on his own pair of skis.  Except, that would be a failure.  At least, I would consider that a failure. So I asked Jan, Robert’s father, to put the skis back in our car, parked far away from the lodge.  I gave Robert’s ultimatum. He either skis on NEHSA equipment or he returns home without skiing at all. I was serious.  I was heartbroken, but I was serious.  On one hand I knew that leaving the mountain without skiing would mean that even more important rule had been broken, so I did hope Robert would concede.  On the other hand, I wasn’t sure of that.  Moreover, I knew that given Robert’s determination, the ensuing battle of wills would be difficult and exhausting as Robert would use any sign of hesitation to reinforce his position.

It took another ten minutes before Robert gave up, put on skis from NEHSA and went with his instructors toward the ski lift.

Surprisingly, he had a very good lesson.  He listened, he followed. Although from time to time he reminded his instructors that there was an unsolved ski issue, he didn’t perseverate as much as he was capable of doing.

Moreover, he liked the skis. He liked skiing with instructors who besides being good teachers were also exceptionally patient and understanding.  Under their supervision, Robert practiced turning, improved his posture, and reduced the angle in his wedge aiming at parallel position of his skis.

I wonder if he also learned that some rules have to be broken to assure that other rules are upheld.





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1 Comment

  1. Jean Palmateer

     /  February 22, 2016

    Glad you were able to hold fast, and that Robert enjoyed his lesson – even though the “rules” were broken.


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