Those of you who have been reading this for a while certainly know my passion for riding my Trikke. But do you know how I became interested in it in the first place? I’ll forgive you if you think it was simply something I discovered out of my desire to become fit. It certainly fulfills me in that sense, but most people don’t know that I initially discovered it out of my desire to learn to ski.
Please bear with me as I take a detour down memory lane here. I’ve wanted to ski since I was a young girl watching the downhill races during the Winter Olympics and on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The excitement of it fueled my adrenaline, and the athletes made it look so fun and effortless. I wanted to become one of them.
I did not get my first chance to ski until the winter of 1996-97, when I joined some co-workers on a trip to Blue Mountain Ski Area
. From where I lived at the time, this was a 3 hour journey, and I couldn’t wait to make the most of the opportunity.
I may have weighed 80 pounds less back then, but I was a bona fide couch potato. It was an icy day on the slopes, and I was poorly dressed for the occasion. Despite taking a lesson and practicing on the bunny slope, I quickly learned that skiing was far from effortless. And when you’re wet, cold, and your out-of-shape legs are about to collapse, it’s anything but fun. My first run down the full beginner’s trail would be my last. I fell more times than I could count, and was shivering from being quickly soaked to the skin. I lost my nerve, opting to walk down the last few segments of the trail rather than risk hurting myself on skis I could not control.
And that was the end of my dream to ski. I put it behind me and moved onto safer ventures, like racing cars (on my Playstation), and slaying vicious dragons (also on my Playstation). I was glad I had tried to ski, for I would’ve never known what might have been otherwise, but my feet were thrilled to be back on flat and non-slippery ground.
So I thought I’d put skiing behind me . . . until I moved to the Lehigh Valley in 2007. Once I was living where I could reach Blue Mountain and Bear Creek within 20 minutes, and the Pocono ski resorts within an hour, I discovered that my childhood dream stubbornly refused to die. But I had a problem, I was even more unfit and overweight than I was when I first tried to ski. If it was difficult to do then, it surely would be impossible now.
Or would it? I also had many fond childhood memories of sledding and tobogganing on local hills, and knew that by now someone clever must have invented another way down ski slopes that required less physical ability than skis and snowboards. After a few seconds on Google, I had the answer to my lifelong dream. It was called the Trikke Skki
. And boy did it look fun!!
I watched videos of people riding it, read people’s reviews of riding it, and concluded that it really was a viable way for lesser fit people like me to ski. There was only one problem; none of the ski resorts in my area allow it. Although that slammed the door shut on one dream, it opened another. It was through this search that I learned about the 3-wheeled Trikkes that we’re more familiar with. And boy did they look fun too!!
So I bought one a little over a year ago, and with it my journey to fitness began. You know the story from here. I’ve lost over 40 pounds, and gained a lot of strength and confidence. And if you haven’t already guessed where I’m going with this, my newfound strength and confidence brought me back to Blue Mountain last Monday to have another go at my dream of learning to ski.
And I’d have to learn the old fashioned way, with two skis strapped to bulky ski boots and metal poles in my hands. I would have felt a lot more confident on a Trikke Skki, but I also needed to overcome the old fears that have kept me off the mountain for 16 years.
This time, things went much better. I picked a warmer day (yes, 39 degrees counts as “warmer” here in the northeast), dressed in layered and somewhat waterproof clothing, and got myself a great instructor. Because I went early on a Monday, I had his undivided attention as he took me through the basics, then out onto the beginner slope where I’d lost my nerve a decade and a half earlier.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid as I started to careen down that big hill. But with his skillful mentoring and my better fitness, I found myself enjoying a controlled carve down the trail. I didn’t even fall! By the time he took me back up the lift and down another short trail, I was breathing heavily but had a huge smile on my face. I no longer had to wait for the resorts here to allow the Trikke Skki to get out there and have a fun time.
I took a short break, and did 9 more runs down Vista and Easy Out before calling it a day. If there’s any question as to whether downhill skiing is legitimate exercise, I can tell you that my muscles ached well into Thursday morning. Riding the Trikke and lifting kettlebells certainly helped prepare me for this, but skiing itself is even more demanding.
This has been a much-needed breakthrough for me, and I am already considering buying a season pass for next winter. This has been one of those winters that I’ve only gotten outdoors to Trikke on one semi-warm weekend, so there is a legitimate need for me to find something to enjoy outside during the colder months. I still have a lot of room to improve my skiing, but it is empowering to know that I am now able to work on it.
In the meantime, I confess that my heart still yearns for a Trikke Skki, and I still wish the resorts here would start to allow them. No doubt snowboarders once faced this same challenge and overcame it, but I worry that there’s not enough people clamoring for the Trikke Skki to get the same results. For now I’ll enjoy the heck out of my three-wheeled Trikke most of the year, but will have to embrace skiing with two blades and one ‘k’ if I want to make the most out of my winters.