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Ski bum

The Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) has come and gone. I won my first Spadie and it was great to become the first female player to win an open ACOP Title Event. But that wasn't enough to boost me to the top of the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard. Still a great finish to the 2013 season and there's always next year!

Until then, I'm taking it easy. In fact, I'm headed to Canada. I'm going to visit some friends in Toronto and then go skiing in Whistler.

Here's the thing: I'm terrified of skiing.

celina_lin_ski_bum.jpg

I'm much more comfortable at the table

I've only been skiing once before in my life. When I was 19 I went with some mates to Falls Creek, a ski resort about a 5-hour drive from Melbourne. I was the only one in the group who'd never been skiing before. They all hit the trails while I took a quick lesson. The instructor taught me the basics and then sent me off to Wombat's Ramble - the resort's equivalent of a bunny slope.

I'm not sure how but instead of making it to Wombat's Ramble, I took a wrong turn and wound up at the top of a black diamond trail. I was standing at the top of the trail looking down a steep drop-off, the kind that can make your palms sweat.

I took a deep breath and pushed off.

Within seconds I felt like I was out of control. The world kept getting faster and faster. Trees were whizzing by because I had no idea how to slow myself down. I was afraid I was going to fly off a cliff or something, so finally I angled for the edge of the trail, sort of fell backwards on my butt and tried to lift my skis up in the air. It can't have been pretty but it did bring me to a stop.

Coincidentally, where I stopped wasn't far from the top of Wombat's Ramble. By carefully picking my way a little farther, I made it to where I was originally supposed to be without any injuries.

All good, right?

Not really. My experience on the black diamond trail was so scarring that I refused to go more than a few feet on Wombat's Ramble without slowing down or stopping. It took hours for me to get about halfway down the slope, long enough for the sun to set.

My mates were all waiting for me at the bottom of the mountain and getting worried that I hadn't turned up. They alerted the ski patrol, which sent a guy out on a snowmobile to look for me.

Imagine my embarrassment! First I went halfway down the wrong trail, then I was so terrified I couldn't even make it down the bunny slope. The ski patrol guy was nice about it when he found me and told me to get on his snowmobile, but my mates couldn't stop laughing and teasing when we got to the bottom of the mountain. My face was as red as it's ever been in my life.

I've never gone skiing since that day. When I got this year's invitation to go to Whistler, my first instinct was to say, "No thanks." But then I asked myself, "What are you afraid of?"
I realized that skiing is a lot like the bungee jump in Macau. Nobody's watching you or judging you when you're on that platform, strapped into the bungee. All you have to do is master your own fear, drum up the determination, and jump.

If I can't do that, what am I doing playing poker for a living?

Celina Lin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

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