Flying On Land

July 3, 2010
As I glide gently up the chairlift, I am both fearful and excited. I know I will be fine, I have been skiing for years, but I still dread the chance of biting it. I am a whole new person on the slopes. I seek out thrills and accelerate over the jumps. I am a snow skier.

This isn’t my first time traveling to Colorado, but it is the first time I get to ski here. I can taste the thrill of the mile-long slopes, down real mountains. I anticipate the stark white elegance of the Rocky Mountains in the winter-time. My younger brother, whom had never seen mountains before this trip, had his nose passed to the grimy window of our Amtrak train the entire way here, squealing over the foothills, and gazing at the beauty and awe-inspiring greatness of the Rockies.

We traveled to Steamboat Springs, which boasts to be the ski capitol of America. As we entered the town late at night, we view seven foot mounds of snow on either side of the road glowing in the soft orange light of the street lamps. Once I step out of our rental car I am swamped with the bitter chill of the frigid air. I take a deep breath, which is enough to sting my lungs, and rush inside our condo.

The next morning we wake, groggily, at six o’clock. We gorge ourselves on cereal for breakfast, knowing that we will not stop for lunch. With the taste of sleep and toothpaste in our mouths, and what feels like twenty layers of clothes under our coats, we determine ourselves prepared to tackle the slopes. We stomp through the snow packed sidewalks to the bus stop and wait anxiously to clamber awkwardly aboard.

Finally, we arrive at the slopes. At first, all I see is white. Gleaming, blinding, frigid white snow. It covers everything and seems almost unnatural, like an alternate universe. The snow is fluttering down soft as a butterfly’s wings, and we lift our faces slowly to the sky in hopes of taking in every single detail. We are then bombarded with the aroma of clean, fresh, breath taking winter pine needles. I feel at home.

Once you complete the long trek of the chairlift, hearing the creaking and moaning of the ancient beast, you are atop a mile long mountain run. You are looking down at the colorful overcoats of your fellow skiers, and you grin. With a whoop, you push yourself off. To begin with, all I see is the fog built up in my goggles and I begin to panic. After a second, the fog separates and I view the astounding elegance of pine needles surrounding me. You are consumed by the gracious sound of wind whipping past your ears as you soar down the hill, taken by the thrill, and condemned to never want to leave.

When you have flown down the slopes twice, you begin to glance around and take in your surroundings. You see the fleeting red streaks of the ski patrol, and the yellow tips of the skis beneath you. I can take in the mustiness of old muffs and hats, which have been in your family forever. The sound of couples giggling on the chairlift and the songs of the birds in the trees floats down to you.

While swinging on the chairlift, which makes the occasional halt due to the greenhorns taking a less-than-graceful dismount, I chug my PowerAde and wolf down my granola bar to avoid dehydration and dizzy spells. I stick out my tongue for the crisp watery sensation of a snowflake shimmying down to me. I know by heart the rough, gritty insides of my mitts and the playful sting of frost on my face.

In order to exit a chairlift, you must bend and turn swiftly and gently. I do so, and run smack into a tree. The metallic sensation of blood nips at my senses and I know I have bitten my tongue. I push myself back and carry on. My ankles are sending shooting pain to my mind and I am sure I have been on the slopes for hours. I swipe another stick of sickly sweet Extra bubble gum from the pack hidden in my pocket to mask the blood. Then I glide to the bottom of the hill one last time.

I absolutely adore skiing. It is my passion, and I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this exciting sport. The soft, warm light of the snow is my home, and every winter I look forward to returning. I can hardly wait to strap on my set of skis, grasp my poles and layer up for another round of skiing!





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Jmyer said...
Jul. 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm
Ah, this article makes me want to wrap up and jump down a snowy mountain beside you. Oh I wish for winter in this heat.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback