It’s All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

December 14, 2005

The Guide to Winter Activities

Filed under: Uncategorized — by redhead @ 6:31 pm

They say if you must endure months and months of snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures and frostbite, you might as well embrace this time somehow and find a way to enjoy it all. “They?, of course, refers to people who live in Hawaii, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic. They, who shall from here on out be referred to as “they?, have never been within five hundred miles of a snowflake.

 These kinds of ridiculous, hairbrained statements, like the first one in this paragraph, are always spoken by people who’s entire wardrobes consist of teensy-weensy bathing suits and flip flops. Yes, you can always be sure that somewhere where it is hotter than Hell’s kitchen on a summer day, there is a sunbather slathering on the baby oil so as to achieve that nice brown deep-fried wrinkly look, and saying, “Those people must like the winter . Why else would they live there?? Trust me, Flipflopper, most of us don’t like it very much. (winter that is, and the deep-fried wrinkly look).

 However, when life hands you lemons, (or snowflakes) make lemonade (or snowmen, if you can still feel your fingers). With this in mind, I shall attempt to outline some of the more popular winter activities, such as sledding, skating, and skiing. (Or other words that start with “S? and end with you saying, “ I am never doing that again?).

Sledding                          

People like to go fast. They like fast cars, fast planes, fast horses. You get the idea. Coasting down an ice covered hill with a greased sliding apparatus between you and the snow is pretty appealing to a lot of folks, especially children. When you are putting your boots on and gearing up to hit the slopes, it always seems like a good idea. You are pumped, primed, and the adrenaline is rushing through you. You imagine this will be the most fun you had in a long time. Please note that this venture almost always ends with someone crying, injured, or dead. Never in the history of Snowdom, has any person bounced happily off the hill at the end of the day proclaiming that it actually was the most fun they ever had and they can’t wait to do it again.

What To Wear:

 No matter what you wear, you will be cold. It is winter. Polar bear fur and bison hair hip wader boots can’t keep you warm under these conditions. Dress as warmly as you can, but remember that no matter what you put on, you will still be cold. If you are a child, your parents will wrap you in layer upon layer of wool sweaters, Gortex coats, NASA approved snowpants, mohair socks, and waterproof gloves and hats with earmuffs until you are so constricted that you aren’t even able to bend to sit on the sled. Then they will pat you on the head, smile, and mumble, “Hab a wood ime,? which means “Have a good time.? You will never hear what anyone says now because you are so bundled up in protective clothing. You can’t move, you can’t hear and you are sweating like a pig on the fourth of July. Boy, the fun is starting and you aren’t even out the door yet.

Equipment:

Essentially, you can slide down a hill on pretty much anything that will slide. I have heard of people using cardboard boxes and abandoned car hoods. Most regular everyday people use sleds, or the various assortment of coasting-type products now available. Crazy carpets (suitably named) and inflatable inner tubes are popular.

 The Rules:

Begin at the very top of the hill, hold on for dear life, and scream the entire way down. The steeper the hill, the faster you will go and the wilder the ride will be. However, it is important to note that you have to climb that steep hill if you want to coast down it more than one time. So choose your hill accordingly. For even more insanity, ride on your sled backwards. And you might as well pick a popular run. Look for a nice ninety degree slope called “Death Wish,? or something comparable. Now, here is where the crying, injuries, and perhaps, ultimately your demise come in. If you don’t uncontrollably crash into some other unfortunate sole on your terror filled ride, you will either hit something at the bottom of the hill, or wipe out once you have reached the peak speed of eighty-five miles per hour. Remember that the slightest thing can make you wipe out: a small pebble, a dog hair, a miniscule bird feather which happened to be in your path. And the last rule: There are no brakes on most sleds.

                                  Okay, so maybe sledding isn’t for you.

There are other options that are equally dangerous and just as wind-chilled. Let’s have a look at ice skating.

Ice Skating                                

I have often heard other parents speak about how ungodly expensive ice hockey is for their children to take part in. They have wept as they regaled stories of second mortgages, foreclosures and other extreme measures they have had to take to keep their children in hockey equipment and to pay team fees.

 Enter the oh so simple sport of ice skating. No parent has ever had to get a second job in order to buy ice skates. Skates are everywhere. Wherever there is a house ( except for the previously mentioned warmer climates) that has at least one child in it, there is a pile of too-small ice skates just waiting to get laced up. In fact, I believe the ratio of old skates to children is 20 :1. If you have children, you know what I am talking about.

 If you don’t have children but will someday, that is one pair of skates per child for every year since they could walk and eventually your attic or basement will look the same as everyone else’s, skate-wise.

What to wear:

 Let’s assume for a moment that the skating will take place in a backyard pond. Let’s also assume the pond is situated not far from an ocean so that frozen wind comes whipping at you every chance it gets. Wear everything you own. Dress very similar to the outfit you wore when you were sledding. Again, the rule that states ‘no matter what you wear, you will get cold’ applies. Perhaps the thing to ask is what to wear on your feet.

The feet, during ice skating, are always the first thing to freeze. I have heard all kinds of theories on keeping feet warm during skating: some people say put a hot potato in each skate until you put them on at the pond and the heat will stay in there when your foot goes in and it will be just wonderful. This is not true. When you push your foot into the skate, the hot air gets pushed out. Others say wear at least two pairs of socks. It doesn’t help. Some say go barefoot. How about a great big NO on that one?

I now have battery powered socks to keep my toes warm. I recommend that.

Equipment:

None. (If you are under twelve years of age, or you are a grownup who is incredibly bad at skating, then you should wear a sports helmet.)

The Rules:

The point of ice skating is to not fall down. This is the only rule. It makes you wonder who ever came up with the idea of strapping extremely thin, sharp blades to their boots so as to be able to careen across slippery ice in the dead of winter.

Skiing                                         

One would think skiing is going to be easier than ice skating. After all, in this slick sport, you have two poles to help keep your butt out of the snowbank. So, it sounds much much easier. You would think that…but again, it is not true.

In fact, I believe the ski poles only add to the danger factor as you are hurtling down a greasy slope and could impale yourself with the aforementioned poles at any moment.

What To Wear:

See “what to wear? for sledding and skating. Equipment: Ski boots, skiis and poles. You may want protective eyewear. People seem cooler and look like they are having more fun when they have ski goggles on their faces. You may look slightly less stupid when you crash into a tree wearing neon blue goggles.

 “Look! That man hit that tree head on and he has a ski pole lodged in his chest! Call 911!?

“But he looks so cool….look at his goggles!!?

The Rules:

I think there are only three rules.

Try not to collide into anything. Most people die when this happens.

Try to get from the top of the ski slope to the bottom without crashing or dying. ( see Rule 1).

The moment you begin to ski, you must frantically try to figure out a way to stop at the bottom of the hill once you get there. If you get there.

 

 

 ©rc2005 .

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November 22, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by redhead @ 6:09 pm

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