You’ve Gotta Get Up from that First Fall

vailmapThe first time I skied on a real mountain, I was ten. Prior to that, I’d skied only on the smooth, glacier-carved hills of the Midwest. The purple peaks of the Rockies were a different story.

Before we get all philosophical, let me tell you about my outfit that day. I wore black stirrup pants tucked into neon orange boots. My jacket was hot pink, with hot pink Smith goggles to match. We didn’t wear helmets in those days, so my permed hair stuck out from beneath my fleece ski band in a mushroom of pouffy wonder. I looked rad and I knew it, as one does at the wondrous age of ten, before the teenage angst and self-doubt sets in. I couldn’t wait to race down the mountain in all my neon glory.

After I got off the chairlift with my dad, though, I froze. The run was long and twisty. I couldn’t see the bottom. I attempted to make my way down the mountain by skiing only sideways, traversing my way without picking up any speed.

I remember my dad saying, “You’ve got to point your skis downhill.”

I did, and I flew. I fell. I got bruised and shaken and full of snow. But I got up and kept going. And I had the time of my life (those were the days of Patrick Swayze and Dirty Dancing, after all).

I feel much the same way now, on the precipice of publication of my first book, VINTAGE. I can’t see what the path is like after I push off the lip of the safe, flat surface at the top of the run. I might fall. I might break a limb, like our Monday deb Lori did last week. But I can’t stay up here on the edge forever. I’ve got to point my skis downhill. All I can do is use the skills I’ve learned and remember not to be too terrified to enjoy the ride and the views.

If I can find a photo of myself in my hot pink ensemble circa 1989, I promise to post it on the Deb Facebook page. Head on over there and “like” the page so you don’t miss it! And if you happen to have donned some fabulous winter fashions of your own in seasons past, whether you’re a ski bunny or a more of an apres-ski and hot cocoa type, please share a description of your own fabulosity below.

Photo credit: Vail Resort, via

Author: Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

7 Replies to “You’ve Gotta Get Up from that First Fall”

  1. I confess I’ve never been skiing before. I grew up in tropical climates, and the idea of basically sliding down a mountain covered in the most slippery substance I can think of kind of terrifies me. BUT I want to try it. And when I do, I’ll think of you in all your neon glory and try to be just as fearless! And I’ll get up when I inevitably do fall 😉

  2. I love the mental image of you, neon and poofy-headed, flying down that hill – it’s EXACTLY what my debut launch felt like (complete with the “yard sale” at the bottom) so I know where you’re coming from.

    I learned to ski on a tiny hill in Massachusetts (but I was in college at the time – this California girl grew up without learning to ski), so I know the terrifying feeling of stepping off the lift onto my first “real” mountain, too. (And yes, the day I moved from the little mountain to a real one is the day I learned the meaning of “yard sale.”) Publishing is really similar, but I’m sure when VINTAGE releases you’ll fly down the expert slope with the wind in your hair and not a stumble in sight. You’re ready for this – enjoy the ride!

  3. I’ve never skied either. In fact, at the few ski resorts I’ve been to, I’ve sat with my cocoa near the fire, book in hand, watching the skiiers in their cool outfits. I like the outfits. I’d go neon too. I’ll bet you were too cute!

  4. I had this astounding knit and polar fleece hat that went all the way down my back for my first Rockies ski trip. It was powerfully ugly and got caught in trees and was secured on by velcro. I cannot understand for the life of me how I was not killed by that hat.

    I think Rad You and Tubular Me would have gotten along just fine on the slopes…

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