There is another important test that engaged couples should go through, and it is called Ski for Free Day in Park City.
Dave grew up on the west coast, and had to drive several hours to get to the nearest ski resort, but it was something he grew up doing. He knew how to ski, and he liked it. I, on the other hand, grew up within a couple hours of many world-class ski resorts, and had never put one foot on a slope in the winter time. My only experience with skiing was in a backyard, 10 years old, my dad standing over me in utter frustration saying "Just stand UP!" as my skis and the boots attached to them began to go downhill without me. It was not the most positive father-daughter experience and, thankfully, my dad gave up after that.
But now I was an engaged woman and the thought of "hitting the slopes" with my fiance seemed romantic and appealing. So, we rented equipment, I put on my best cute "snow bunny" outfit, and we headed to Park City with my younger brother and his date.
It all started out alright. I mean, the boots fit, and my little snow hat with tassels was super cute. But that's about where the fun ended. To say that I am not athletic is like saying that water is wet--it is just a fact of nature and there is no changing it. I don't run, throw, or catch. I certainly don't make friends with an icy slope at any sort of speed.
We're on the bunny hill. Three year olds, with their bodies tucked down for maximum aerodynamics, are flying past me. I am trying to perfect "the pizza" formation of my skis. They keep going different directions, and the formation they like the best is called "x." I am going so slowly, the snow is probably going to melt before I get to the bottom of the hill. Dave is being patient--slowly going through the motions with me, giving me pointers. I fall and can't get back up. I slide over to the fence, and pull myself up. We try again. More patience. More pointers. I fall again. Dave is just down the hill from me. He's looking at me. I try to get up. The skis slide. I try again. The skis slide. "Just get UP!" I hear him say. I give him a look as I reach toward my boot. "Don't you DARE take off that ski." Click. I glare at him triumphantly, taking off my skis and standing up proudly. He gives me a look, and, without a word, skis down the hill while I reattach the boots to the skis from a vertical position.
The evening is long. It is cold. Dave is as patient as he could be under the circumstance of trying to teach the most uncoordinated, scaredy-cat woman on the planet how to ski. It's a good thing this date was free, or there might have been serious consequences. We decide to do one small run. We get on the ski lift. I realize, as it starts ascending, that I'm going to have to get OFF this thing with skis on my feet. I feel kind of nauseous. Dave is prepping me. He is assuring. He is trying to pretend to be confident that I'm not going to utterly wipe out.
He slides off easily and, mustering any and all confidence I had left after such a date, I remembered the wise "Fake it til you make it" mantra and propelled myself off the seat. To my astonishment,I skied smoothly down the slight slope, stopping perfectly in front of Dave. He was impressed. I was relieved. Now we just needed to get down the rest of the hill.
That night we decided two things: Dave would be the one to teach our future kids to ski, and my purpose at ski resorts is to wear a sweater, look charming, and drink hot chocolate in the lodge.