I have been to Utah exactly once. I went skiing there with my ex-boyfriend, Kent. Dating Kent was like dating a walking advertisement for the winter Olympics.
Kent's family had taken Kent skiing many times as a child and plus he was just naturally athletic.
Kent had lived in Salt Lake City for one year when I went to visit him, and in that time, he had spent approximately 364 of those days skiing. For 15 hours a day. Yep, he was pretty good.
I, on the other hand, had only been skiing a few times in my life, so I was at nowhere near the level Kent was. But this trip was not about me improving, this trip was about me looking cute in a ski suit.
Now, Kent was a great guy. He never had any intention of ditching me and skiing the quadruple black diamond slopes. He was happy to ski the cubic zirconia slopes with me.
I suggested cross-country skiing, because I knew one thing about it: it was flat. That was good enough for me. If I was going to fall, I certainly did not want to add velocity to the cruel gravity equation.
I also had noticed in my extensive 5 minutes on the slopes that the cross country people seem to cheat: they ski in grooves already made by someone else. It is sort of like visiting Disneyland and going on a ride that is on a nice secure track.
I was loving the idea of swishing down the flat path in an expert ski-like fashion and impressing polar bears with my inimitable ski skills. Whoever said skiing was hard? It's not! It's easy!
I imagined that Kent and I would look like this while cross country skiing ...
... and then he would be so blown away by my latent ski abilities that he would drop down on one knee and propose. I would say "No" as I had no intention of marrying Kent, but it's always nice to be asked. And in my fantasy, no one ever has hard feelings or gets sad.
This is not how the cross country ski trip went down. There were no proposals, no rings, and no impressing of native wildlife.
Instead, there was gravity, and lots of it.
I fell approximately 200 more times. Then I stopped counting.
But I was a good sport. I didn't cry.
Finally, after the 237th fall (I guess I did keep counting), I did start to cry.
I got down one on knee and asked Kent something, something that had been on my mind all day:
"Kent, will you buy me a hot chocolate at the ski lodge?"
Kent said yes.