Cliff Jumping

May 14, 2008
By Sammie Schmidt, Hinsdale, IL

Our chair lift lurched forward, sending our ski class of four inching up the mountain. I hid my face burrowing into my neck warmer, now damp from the my breath in the below-zero weather. At the top of the mountain, we slid off the lift and tried to warm ourselves against the wind rushing by us at increasingly quick speeds. The four of us talked and laughed with our ski instructor while we pulled on our gloves and adjusted our goggles. We poled our way over the flat, snowy expanse of land and came to a small forest of short, snow-covered bushes.

Our instructor hopped between two bushes and sped off down the mountainside. One by one, the rest of us dropped in, excited to be starting our day of fun in trees- no matter how short they were. Little did we know that this was no ordinary tree trail. After zigzagging down the slope for only a short while, we came to an area that from the top of the hill, appeared to lead to another trail. Through the bushes' branches, we could tell that was not the case. Our ski instructor pushed through these bushes and stepped to the side, allowing us to pass through. The four of us pushed the branches to one side and climbed into the opening. We were surprised to find ourselves just one foot away from a vertical drop-off twelve feet high. Our ski instructor turned to us and told us that we had to jump off the cliff to stay in the elite level we were in. He said it was just a small, easy example of what we would be doing for the rest of the day. My brother volunteered to go first. He poled over to the edge and hopped off, bracing himself for the hard landing that was to come. I heard a thump and peered down at my brother, collapsed on his back, lying over his skis. He popped up, grinning and yelling up to us about how awesome it had been and how he wanted to do it again.

After one more person went, it was my turn. I wasn't scared or uneasy about jumping off the cliff, since I knew our ski instructor would never put any of us in danger. I pushed myself over to the edge and hesitated, looking back over my shoulder. Our ski instructor urged me on with a nod. I took a deep breath and poled myself over the edge. Leaving my stomach behind, I fell. I was concentrating so hard that I didn't even notice the cold, wintry air rushing by me. I was just focusing on trying to stick my landing when I hit the ground, hard. For a split second, I zoomed ahead, crouched low on my skis. Then, my skis slid out from under me on the hard-packed snow and I landed flat on my back, giggling with excitement.

I was overly aware of my surroundings, the rush of wintry air brushing my flushed cheeks. The trees, heavy with snow, towered above my small form below the cliff. I was unaware of my senses, only an overwhelmingly calm as I took a deep breath and sat up. I turned and watched the final person in our ski class come down the cliff. Once we were all assembled, with the snow brushed off of us, we set off for our next adventure. That first cliff was just the beginning. Throughout the rest of the day, we jumped off bigger and better rocks and cliffs. We zinged down the mountain and got back up as quickly as possible and jumped off everything we could on the way, letting nothing stop us. That is, except for lunch.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 14 2008 at 2:12 am
Fabulous!!!!!! I want more more more! Keepy up the great work.


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