When MILK was around seven and I was nine our mom took us skiing! Snow was a rare enough treat that we had to rent our outfits as well as the gear, and then nearly died three times just on the drive up to the mountain. After a brief lesson on the bunny slope where mom taught us to snow plow and go slow and safe we were off. Mom and her friend who’d accompanied us skied with us for the first couple of hours, first a few runs on the bunny slope, then we moved on to the intermediate stuff. After lunch, mom and her friend decided to hang out in the warm lodge and see what a Hot Toddy was all about. MILK and I went back out for more fun. And it was a lot of fun. I quickly discovered that the runs with the little black diamonds were the most fun, if somewhat dangerous. Still, they were a lot safer than skiing in close proximity to MILK.
Immediately after lunch, no longer burdened by adult supervision, the 7 year old MILK stopped stopping. This may have been partially my fault. As soon as mom was out of the picture, I started heading for the more…exciting hills. MILK had the option of staying on the baby hills where that whole snowplow thing actually worked, or tagging along with her brother and not winding up lost on a mountain. As usual, she went with locking onto me. The ride up the first lift, I was half-blind with the single minded pursuit of adrenaline. I figured I’d lose her right away and she’d go find mom.
“You’ll be fine,” I lied. “Just remember the snowplow thing and I’ll meet you at the bottom.”
She was under four feet tall and swaddled in enough pink polyfill to cushion a serious fall, but she wasn’t stupid. The likelihood of my actually waiting for her at the bottom of the hill for more than thirty seconds…well let’s just say the odds weren’t in her favor. So after I left her behind, she did the only reasonable thing. She pointed her skies toward where she figured she wanted to end up, she tucked, took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and just went for it.
She gave up on the snow plow entirely, along with any semblance of control. She flew past me in seconds, showing no regard for turning, style, or the lives of those around her. She probably would have made a capable racer if she stuck with her technique and perhaps added some element of control. MILK definitely infused some extra excitement into the slopes that day by becoming the Pink Kamikaze. Once she survived that first run, she was unstoppable.
Instead of traditional methods, such as carving or plowing, the only thing that caused her to slow or change direction was crashing into other skiers. It was usually her family, but very often unwitting strangers were involved in the dance of inertia she played. In one of her best tricks she would attack at an intercept angle, three and a half feet of pink parka and pig tails on the verge of implosion, then she would cross the front of your skis, panic and grab onto you. This was simply diabolical because now you were no longer able to turn and had a little girl stuck to you like a giant pink tick until, inevitably, you crashed in spectacular fashion. I imagine this was extra awkward for the strangers who would be terrified that they had hurt some poor little girl.
Unfazed, MILK would get up, slap the snow off her goggles, and begin her descent again, tucking into a grim, deadly little ball of speed. Her latest victim would be left shaking his head and trying to find his hat.
You should see her mountain bike sometime.