Zermatt is one of the world’s top ski resorts, so it was a no-brainer for us to visit. Did my brother and I know how to ski? Nope. Did we try anyways? Yeah. Did we eat snow? Most definitely yes.
Our skiing escapades started approximately a month before the trip, where I went to a ski resort near Los Angeles. Now you might be thinking, “a ski resort in Los Angeles? That’s weird.” Well when it comes to quality it sure is weird, but it was close and, more importantly, I was desperate. After signing up for classes and renting a pair of skis, I made my way to the bunny hill. I wanted to get in some practice before the class started so I found an empty stretch of snow to go down on. First time I went down, it was okay. Second time I went down, I fell into the bales of hay they put for safety on the side. I was developing an aching pain in my knee, but I figured that it was just a cramp and I came too far to chicken out now. The lesson was great and it even started to snow a bit. My knee was still stiff, but I figured I would just stretch it out later. Now it was time for the big hill.
As I rode the ski lift up I couldn’t help but clutch onto the bench and will myself to look forward and make sure I didn’t fall off. That drop did not look pleasant. I was riding high after managing to go down without any incidents. But it was all downhill from there.
My third run down I was building up speed, without any sign of stopping anytime soon. In front of me stood two choices: a steel beam or a line of rope tied off to the side. I opted for the rope. Clotheslining myself and flipping completely head over heels, I flung myself over the rope and into a pile of snow. My skis were sticking out of the snow 10 feet away from me and a dull pain started to bloom on my right arm. The ski lift operator asked if I was okay, and I responded saying that I was okay so long as there was no blood. With the okay that I wasn’t bleeding from my face from the ski lift operator, I valiantly got back on. The height of the lift no longer scared me; I was in too much pain to even care. I ended up sliding down while sitting on my skis for that last run, because the pain in my knee had made it nearly impossible for me to stand.
I’d go home that day with a bruise covering the entire underside of my right arm, and a dislocated knee. A specialist put the knee back into place in a procedure that he informed me would, “hurt a lot.” I believed him. Now a month later, I was back to test my luck again at a ski resort that was infinitely harder and more dangerous.
The view of the Matterhorn is visible from nearly every place in Zermatt, so my brother and I weren’t too concerned about making sure our ski run allowed us to see it. We started off the day at the kiddie park, just to get our bearings right and avoid skiing down an insanely large hill. A couple of runs down the kiddie hill and we decided we were ready to go. After all, if 7 year olds could do it, why couldn’t we? We would soon come to learn many reasons why.
I’d like to point out that while my brother is usually more adept at picking these sorts of things up, this wasn’t the case that day. Nearly losing his GoPro and having to trek three hills up to find it in the snow, he repeatedly fell into the snow again…and again…and again…
We decided to treat ourselves and eat at one of the restaurants on the ski run, which was pricey but, hey we deserved it. There was no way to go back up so we had to finish the run. It was painful and looking back on the footage we took definitely confirmed my suspicions that I was not the coolest looking skier that day. With the day still young, we headed back to the kiddie park we had previously thought we were too good for.
My brother, depressed and tired, took a seat by the benches, while I powered through. Despite the many falls I took, nothing would be worse than that first day with a dislocated knee and bruised arm. So as the sun set down, I finally learned how to turn on these monstrosities attached to my legs. With the promise of brie, salami, and french bread, I gathered up my skis with a smile on my face despite my brother’s sour expression. After a long hike up my brother and I managed to find a place to watch the sunset behind the Matterhorn. The place may or may not have been on private property, but we made sure to stay quiet and just enjoy the scene either way. It was a trying day at Zermatt. We fell. We picked ourselves up again, and then promptly fell again. But hey at least that brie was good.( Stacey Irawan / IM )