Last Sunday, I was in Thunder Bay for a very random 6-hour layover. (This is what happens when you fly from Montreal to Winnipeg on Airmiles.)
Thankfully, Ellie lives there, and we decided we’d hang out and she’d show me the sights. After picking me up from the airport, she asked me the all-important question, “Anything specific you’d like to see while you’re here?”
I paused. “Well hey, is there a ski hill around here? Loch Lamond or something?”
Ellie confirmed that there was.
“That’s where I had one of the stupidest, worst days of my life as a kid,” I told her. “I wanna go back.”
That’s all I needed to say. Ellie, too, wanted me to revisit the site of my childhood embarrassment.
So, what happened?
I must’ve been about 13 or 14 years old. Our family hung out with two other families that were very very sportsy, and they decided to head out to Thunder Bay for a little ski trip during spring break. Now, the uncomfortable thing for me was that I didn’t go to the same school as these kids, so I really didn’t get any of their references and also I was extremely socially awkward anyway. But I really wanted to be friends with those girls… but just wasn’t. I think we probably kinda tried, but there was a disconnect. Not unusual for me at this age. It sucked and I was fairly preoccupied with trying to figure out why I was such a major social failure.
So, we arrived at Loch Candy Mountain (why two names? I don’t know, I’m not looking it up) and everyone went to get their gear on and left the chalet. It was a warm spring day and the place was empty except for us. I was left alone, trying to figure out how to wedge my glasses under my ski goggles. When I finally emerged, the hill was deserted and all I could see was a ski lift going up up up. I figured everyone must be at the top, so I hopped on the lift.
It seemed to go on forever. I began to think I should’ve stayed in the chalet and wrestled with my glasses/goggles situation for the rest of the day instead. At the top, I looked for a) other humans, and b) the bunny hill. I found neither. Suddenly all I wanted was to get to the bottom of the hill and call it a day. I took the first ski run I saw.
It was a Black Diamond.
Soon I was tumbling down the hill like a disconcerted starfish. When I stopped tumbling, I rested for a bit, figured I was okay, then stood up, collected my poles, put my skis back on, and pushed off AGAIN.
I assumed I’d simply make my way down the entire slope in this manner.
I did not.
This next time I flipped and flopped and flew around the top of the ski hill (because alas, in spite of all my effort, I was still most certainly only at the very top of this surprisingly large mountain) and this time when I came to rest, my knee was definitely bent at a painful angle and rendered useless.
I was at the side of the ski run and decided this was where I was remain for the duration of my life.
Then a stranger skied up to me, declared, “Oh my god!” and that they’d get me help.
I waited some more. And to my horror, they sent a MEDIC.
And this medic… put me in a body bag.
A BODY BAG.
LIKE A DEAD PERSON.
And in this manner, they skied me down the mountain, back to the chalet.
My mom thought two wrong things about this:
a) That I was dead.
b) That I did this to get the medic’s attention. (WTF, mom. What kind of little idiot do you think you raised? Also, I had not seen the medic until I was hurt at the top of the stupid mountain.)
Also, all this time, I was wondering where the heck the bunny hill was. Well, when I visited with Ellie on Sunday, I found it. It’s on the OTHER SIDE OF THE CHALET!
Ellie and I stood looking, and I told her, “I never, NEVER realized the bunny hill was back there. I had NO idea.”
I was a spacey unsocial kid struggling with her glasses. It hadn’t occurred to me to READ THE SIGNS. Or, like, LOOK AROUND. Gosh. HA.
Something else at Loch Lamond — when we were there, we found these guys:
They do this hilarious thing where they make ’em tumble down the Black Diamond. Ellie and I considered the hilarity, and she said, “You know… that’s probably how you looked when you skied here.”
And then we laughed and she drove me back to the airport.