My first time skiing -- or, How not to end up in traction

Ok, so there weren't any four-part harmonies or 'agony of defeat' moments when I skied for the first time this past weekend. But there was plenty of good, clean, terrifying fun.

Allow me to present you with choice photos and carefully researched facts about this strange culture of people who willingly strap planks to their feet and hurtle down mountainsides on them.

FACT: Wear one pair of light wool socks with your 50-lb. boots. Why? Because 1) you won't get angry red blisters, and 2) you won't add extra weight to your did-I-mention-they're-50-pounds ski boots. You'll also be more comfortable later when you manage to fall over while standing still.

FACT: They have to remind you to have fun and enjoy yourself, because otherwise you might burst into tears at the sight of the ski lift alone.

FACT: Some people look adorable in ski goggles.

FACT: Others look like mosquitoes.

FACT: Even if your instructor says you're ready for Green Circle hills after your 1.5 hr beginner lesson, indulge yourself anyway in an hour or two of practice on the bunny slope. This will help avoid irreparable heart and spinal trauma later.

FACT: Surround yourself with people who have at least a vague idea of what they're doing. Bonus points if they know how to summon a MedEvac.

FACT: You're golden if you bring someone who has skied since they were six (see woman on left). People like these are brave and patient and helpful and able to stay upright for longer than 35 seconds.

FACT: Use ski lift time to rest. Having the bar down for the foot rest helps. Or, if you're a seasoned skier, don't bother with the bars, light up a cig, whip out your cell phone, and multitask all the way to the top. (This was witnessed on our trip.)

FACT: When the instructor yells "WEDGE!", really ... wedge. Don't cross your skies. (I may have learned this the hard, painful, and crashing way. Multiple times.)

FACT: And if all else fails, throw your bra into a tree.