Well, I'm back from Montana in one piece and that in my mind constitutes a successful trip! I want to thank everyone for their helpful advice!!! Bumps, bruises, aches, and pains, but no serious injuries! Here is the full, entertaining Montana experience:
We left bright and early Wednesday morning to try to catch and early flight out there. Our regular flight didn't get us in until about 7pm, but we thought we would try to head out on the 6am to catch an earlier flight from Salt Lake City into Kalispell and then get there around 12:30. Well, we got on the flight to Salt Lake City fine, but then we got there and everything to Kalispell was book...damn!!!! So, we spent 6 hours hanging out in the Salt Lake City airport. Let's just say that is a really small airport with not a whole lot to do for 6 hours! The only upside was that I got a ton of work done while hanging out in Dick Clark's restaurant and bar and therefore didn't have to do as much over the weekend! Oh and about Dick Clark's restaurant...awful food, basically soaking in grease, and the worst service in the world!!! So, we finally get to Kalispell at around 7pm. One of Webber's uncles has a house in Whitefish (right by the mountain we were going) and was out there and offered to pick us up from the airport which was great. As we are walking out to his car, I start laughing...the car he drives is a 1984 VW bus!!! I learned very quickly that Webber's uncle is quite the hippie, but one of the greatest guys in the world!!! Anyway, the first night was rather uneventful...grabbed some drinks and dinner and called it a night.
Thursday morning, wake up and get a look at this mountain we are staying on in daylight...holy crap!! Beautiful and scary at the thought that I'm supposed to ski down this!!! Here is a photo of part of the mountain from our hotel. So, I go and meet my instructor...Ridie. She was awesome and so patient and really cool. Ended up spending the entire first day with the instructor in a lesson...figured I would be better off that way. Webber and his uncle went off skiing together and did the black diamonds and some tree skiing. I was doing well and only fell a couple of times. I was thinking, this isn't so hard..this is actually a lot of fun and I must be doing well because I'm not falling that much. Well, at the end of the lesson the instructor tells me not to let Webber and his uncle push me and that I should just stay on the greens the whole time and don't let them convince me to do otherwise.
Well, the second day, we get out there bright and early, do one or two green runs and then Webber's uncle decides that I can handle a blue run. I told him that I wasn't sure, but next thing I know I'm on a chair lift going up and up and up and up! Here is me, thinking oh shit, what have I gotten myself into and do you think the lift operators will let me ride this thing down?!!! So, I get to the top and I decide, oh well, I'll suck it up and go for it and if I kill myself, at least I wasn't wimping out. So, it went down scared shitless and falling a bit on my way. I had fun, but wasn't exactly comfortable on the run. So, we get to the bottom and they are like, see, no big deal, you can handle it, now lets go to the top! I was hesitant, but realized I was out numbered. So, next thing I know, i'm on the lift going to the top of the mountain. I get up to the top and realize what i have gotten myself into and start to freak out a little. I call my dad and inform him that i'm at the top of the mountain and apparently am going to ski down, so wish me luck!! He decides I'm nuts, but tells me to call him when i get to the bottom so that he knows i didn't kill myself. Well, we start and i fall right away, pick myself up, go a little further, fall again, repeat cycle. Here is one of my lovely falls and you can all thank my lovely husband for taking a photo of my stuck in the snow rather than helping me up!!! Finally, the falling was less and less and i was starting to enjoy this a bit. We were having a lot of fun and doing some of the easier blue runs. Then they decided that tree skiing would be fun. I told them I didn't think I was up for it, but they said just to follow. I thought that they would have my best interest in mind, so i followed and then had another moment where i was thinking, what the hell am i doing?!!! So, i survived that part and thankfully didn't hit any trees! Then they decided it would be fun for me to try a jump or two...well, I had to remind them that this was my second day skiing in my life!!! Yeah, that didn't get me far and I did a couple of little jumps, only fell once or twice, but i think i aged about ten years because i was so damn scared!!! All in all i survived the second day of skiing and was actually quite proud that i made it to the blue runs and lived!!! Here is a photo of us on a run day 2.
Day 3 rolls around. We had looked at the ski map the night before over many beers and decided to try some new runs the next day. So, Webber decided he wanted to try the longest run on the mountain called Hell's Fire! I should have known when something is called Hell's Fire that you should not go! I was very hesitant and kept saying, i don't think this is a good idea. Webber kept reassuring me that it was fine, but i wasn't sold. So, i decided, against my gut feeling, to just go with it. We get to the top of the mountain and start making out way over to Hell's Fire. I realize that everyone else is going to other runs and no one at all is going this way...no joke, we were the only idiots going in this direction. I informed webber of this and he said it was no big deal. Then i saw this sign..."Hell's Basin is a professional basin. There is only one intermediate run on this basin...Hell's Fire. This area is for experts only." I show Webber the sign and say, no way am I going on this...he tells me not to worry because he is taking me on the intermediate run. I say, ok, but still wasn't sold. I was trusting my husband on this one, but I honestly should have gone with my gut feeling. So, Hell's Fire was hell. I thought i was going to die on numerous occasions. I took a couple of nasty spills and in fact, i thought i majorly screwed up my shoulder at one point in time, but it seems to be working fine, despite a large amount of pain i am still in. halfway through the run, i stopped, sat down and had a mini-meltdown and decided i hated this and wasn't having fun. after that, i got up and got really pissed and decided i was going to conquer the run, well the run pretty much conquered me. i have never been so happy to see the end of a run. it was cool to push myself, but definitely was in over my head. the rest of the day was pretty uneventful after that. went on some more runs, but never thought i was going to die again.
so, all in all, the trip was a ton of fun. i didn't get really hurt, didn't get on the wrong ski lift, and made it home in one piece. i must say, the apres ski was great and i really enjoyed the cocktails and beers in the afternoon after skiing!! thanks for all the advice from everyone! now, back to this thing called triathlons and training for some crazy race called Alcatraz!!!