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I Learned to Ski at 18! It’s Never Too Late

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Growing up in New England, there is not much to do in the winter. You can drive around your small hometown, go shopping, sit in a friend’s basement and watch TV, or… ski. Every winter, as soon as ski season started, all of my friends and their families would go up to their ski house up north and hit the slopes for a good time.

My first time skiing I was only three years old. I attended a ski trip with my parents and our close family friends. Starting so young I was bound to be an expert, right? Wrong. My mom and dad dropped me off at ski school and I immediately cried. My family never went back.

Throughout my adolescence, I always regretted not asking my parents to go skiing more. Once I reached middle school, I started to realize I was missing out on something great. My friends would go on ski trips for school break and I was always left behind for my lack of skiing ability and nerves surrounding trying new things. 

My friends and I would fantasize about teaching me to ski quite often but when it came down to it, none of us acted on these ambitions. 

This year, my best friend Franci and I (check out my last article!) finally decided we had enough. We drove up together to her boyfriend’s house in Maine and put our anxieties surrounding skiing to the ultimate test. Her boyfriend, Lloyd, told us he had a great spot. We got in his bright green jeep, rented skis, a helmet and boots, and got ready to go. 

As we pulled into the parking lot we were instantly overwhelmed by the number of people under 3 ft tall. It seemed as if only little kids were there to learn. My discomfort with learning new things turned to embarrassment and also a little bit of laughter. I squeezed my feet into the ski boots, barely made it across the flat area to the bunny slope, and laughed at myself all the way up the magic carpet. 

The first two runs on the bunny slope went smoothly for me. I felt like a natural, and after learning how to stop and turn I felt ready to take to the chair lift and try a green circle (the easiest) slope. My confidence got the best of me, and in hindsight I probably should have taken two or more runs on the bunny slope. 

I nearly failed to get on the chairlift, and then immediately after getting off, I fell into a ditch and had to take my skis off to get out. Luckily the people I was with were supportive and everyone helped me laugh it off. Franci and I would fall at least 20 more times on the way down the slope, forcing our friends to race after us and help us get up many, many times (they told us afterward it was actually quite entertaining).

Admittedly, learning how to do something and not being instantly good at it is not all laughter. My body hurt, and I felt discouraged, but I stayed determined and got back up. As the day went on I got more and more confident and made my last run with no falls. I was so proud! 

I woke up the next morning, muscles aching, barely able to move but so happy that I had finally conquered my first ski trip. The next week I went back (this time without a fellow novice) and had so much fun. The two friends I went with helped me learn even more about skiing, and even took me a few blue square runs! It was so much fun and I was so glad I finally was able to participate in the popular winter sport.

Learning new things can be terrifying, especially late in life, but ultimately is so worth it. Embarrassment is temporary! Memories last forever!

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Marin Mercer

U Mass Amherst '26

Hi! I'm Marin Mercer, a freshman at Umass Amherst in the college of education! I love listening to music, reading, writing, and laughing with friends!