Falling

May 21, 2010
By , Holland, MI
A black diamond, I sighed, nervous. The 25-degree Colorado mountain air ticked my exposed nose as I contemplated taking a black diamond as the last run of the day. It was groomed, It had my favorite kind of snow, perfect packed powder. But most importantly there weren’t any moguls. Moguls were and are the bane of my existence; the snowy lumps caught on your skis and sent you tumbling if you didn’t turn at exactly the right moment, a skill I have not yet acquired.
Taking the leap, I angled my ski tips over the edge of run, pushing my body weight forward and sliding onto the steep mountainside. My decision did not have to be announced, because there was no one to announce it to, I was alone, and suddenly adventurous.
All went well. I skied down the slope, my skis carving into the wonderful corduroy as I turned, creating a smooth, long, repeating s-curve. I weaved between clumps of aspens and evergreens, occasionally sliding right into the small groves. Yes, all was well.
But that changed when my new favorite run forked into two different paths. My dangerous combination of confidence and spontaneity drove me to the path on the right. There was a slight steep part before fork; I skied over it to my decision. That was when I was overwhelmed with dread.
Moguls I thought. This part of the run was smothered with them. My mind raced for alternatives, but I came up with only two: I could either hike back up the steepest part of the run, or do it; and so, with a tiny voice inside my head saying “if you don’t do it now you’ll never learn” I did.
For a while everything was fine. I bounced over the moguls like I had been doing it all my life. I smiled to myself and thought about how I had been so scared before. But halfway down the run, my worst fear was put into reality.
I was going to fall, and I knew it. I knew it because every time I fall it’s as if my adrenaline knows. It gathers in the very joint, the very muscle that has betrayed me, the muscle that has led to this face plant or this yard sale. Making it tingle like electricity has just been shot into it. I was going to fall.
My ski became embedded in a mogul as I turned, the binding released and my ski stayed stationary but I continued to tumble down the run. My head was blank, there was nothing but the roar of the wind in my ears and the silent scream of fear and surprise. My helmeted head skipped across the snowy mountain. My pole caught on something, causing me to spin to a head first position. I felt the sharp metal edge of my ski slit open the side of my snow pants just before I somersaulted over to the feet first position.
It wasn’t until then that I skidded to a stop. And it wasn’t until then that I realized that I was grinning, pure exhilaration flooding my body.
I feel... I thought Alive





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