Facing My Fears: Skiing at Lutsen Mountains

I can’t remember the last time my entire body was this sore. My quads, calves, triceps, biceps, back. Sore. Getting out of bed this morning was a chore.

But it was so worth it. This weekend Dana and I headed up north to Lutsen, MN with our friends Adam and Stacy.

To those of you who aren’t from Minnesota, Lutsen is a popular ski area in Northern Minnesota. It is absolutely gorgeous. Adam and Stacy got married at the top of one of their mountains!

We made the five-hour trek up on Friday afternoon and on Saturday we hit the slopes.

I haven’t skied in ten years. To say that I was terrified would be an understatement. I was afraid of falling, of getting stuck on the chair lift, of not being able to stop at the bottom of the hill, of going too fast and running into someone on the hill. I’m a big ol’ worrier if you haven’t noticed.

To those who told me it’ll come back to me and it’s like riding a bike…it’s not. First, I don’t know if I ever had proper lessons when I skied when I was younger. Second, I was much more fearless when I was younger. Intermediate hils? Sure. I didn’t care. I was closer to the ground and more resilient then, so it wouldn’t hurt as bad if and when I fell. Plus, I had to keep up with my skier friends. 😉

But now, I’m wiser and a much bigger baby.

Luckily, I was skiing with two very seasoned skiers (Dana and Stacy), who walked me through the basics to insure I didn’t crash into anybody at the bottom of the hill, break my legs, or get stuck on the chair lift.

We started on the bunny hills. I did a whole lot of pizza’ing (“wedging”) the skis. Slow and steady wins the race. Once I felt a bit more confident, we headed to the real hills.

Lutsen Lutsen melanie dana


lutsen adam


lutsen melanie


lutsen stacy


I was taught to use the entire hill; doing large zig-zags all the way down and to wedge my skis when I felt I was going too fast. I got real nervous when other snowboarders and skiers were heading my way. This is when I would panic and surrender and usually fall on my rear or faceplant. But I was lucky to have remembered the practice I had with wakeboards.

I felt pretty good though as I skied down the green hills; they were slow and involved some cross country skiing.

I even did okay on a couple of the blue hills but some of the blue ones gave me terrible anxiety. Standing at the top of the hill and looking down and seeing a steep slope gave me the heebee-jeebees. Going down the hill was the only option though if I ever wanted to get back to the lodge. I wasn’t really into the idea of camping out on the hill for the rest of the weekend being as it was absolutely freezing on Saturday and I didn’t have any food or drink. 😉

My support group guided me down the hill and I made it to the bottom after a few tears of doubt. Seriously when did I turn into such a big baby?

Come 3:30 pm, I was completely spent. The emotional and physical demands of the day had finally gotten the best of me. I cozied myself in the chalet as the rest of the group finished out their last runs before the hills closed.

We stayed in a lodge that was located right in the middle of all of the hills; a ski-in, ski-out lodge. This was SO nice because we could take breaks throughout the day as needed to warm up and thaw out. Chili and a fireplace at lunch time was a lifesaver!

After our day of skiing, we relaxed in our warm lodge, fire blazin’, showered, and grabbed some grub. Then we made our way over to Papa Charlie’s Grill for some live music. Has anyone heard of The Honeydogs? Their band started in St. Paul and they are a lot of fun! The only song I recognized was called “I Miss You.” Stace- thanks for forcing me out on the dance floor. I should have said yes a lot earlier because I had a blast dancing!

lutsen papa charlie's honey dogs

I was ready to crash by about 9:30 pm but managed to stay up and enjoy the band for a couple more hours before heading to bed.

Sunday morning we packed up our stuff, admired the fluffy fresh snow that was coming down, and headed home.


I’m thinking that I probably need to start skiing more often than once every ten years. I think that with confidence, I could really enjoy skiing. Confidence and warmer weather. This negative fahrenheit business is getting kind of old.

Thanks to my support group for the ski lessons and helping me out this weekend (that includes you too, Adam). Without you I would have been down in the chalet all day! The only way to get better is to practice.

Fun fact: I learned about the spelling suffix of the word “ski.” I was skiing in the mountain. I skied this weekend. Confusing, but I guess it makes sense if you think about it.

Happy day my friends! xoxo

Have you ever skied? If so, did you like it?

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Jackie

    You go girl. I’m horrible at skiing!

  2. Good for you!! I feel the same way about skiing – totally scared and apprehensive about all of it. . . I basically snow plow (pizza) the ENTIRE way down any hill, hyperventilating the entire time!
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…Weekend Update: 1/26/14My Profile

    1. Melanie

      K, you make me feel much better and normal! 🙂

  3. Katie

    Jealous! I was hoping to go to Duluth one day and see if I could still ski, but I refuse to go when the weather isn’t cooperating, I will be rusty enough without polar vortex temps, but it seems like you got good weather!
    Katie recently posted…Peace Perspective III: HomeMy Profile

    1. Melanie

      The weather was terrible actually! Gusting winds and negative temperatures. I know I would have enjoyed it more if it were warmer!

  4. I am terrified of skiing. Like I get panic attacks thinking about getting in a ski lift… I went in Utah last year and let me tell you about the blue hills there – OMG nightmare! My MIL took me down one before I had my lesson and I literally started crying, took my skis off and walked down the mountain. It was awful, haha! Needless to say, I’m proud of you – skiing is NOT easy!
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted…Peanut Butter Cup CakeMy Profile

    1. Melanie

      Oh I so feel you’re terror as I cried too. It’s the body’s defense system when it knows it’s in danger.

  5. Beautiful pictures! I used to love skiing and snowboarding as a kid–we had season passes growing up. Now I would rather be in the lodge sipping on hot cocoa!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted…Puppies=HappinessMy Profile

  6. Caroline

    Now I get it!! Next winter let’s plan a ski trip together! I say VT or NH 🙂

    1. Melanie

      Hahaha! Yup! I would have to do some practicing before hitting VT or NH!

  7. Congrats on overcoming your fears and getting out there and skiing — especially after 10 years! I didn’t learn how to ski until after college…and I had to do so with a group of college buddies who had grown up skiing, so I can totally relate to your story. Glad to hear you had a lot of support. And the photos look beautiful! I had no idea what skiing in Minnesota was like. Very cool!

  8. anna

    I cry every time I have to go skiing! I think getting off the lift is terrifying 🙁 I usually fall forward off of it

    1. Melanie

      I bit it getting off the lift! My ski fell off and I was terrified I was going to get plowed by the next set of chairs. Luckily Dana helped me get out of the way in time!

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