Summit Men This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Lastwinter my parents and I set out for Dillon, Colorado, a little ski town 90 mileswest of Denver. I had to jam myself into the crowded back seat. The amount ofluggage packed by three people was enough to make an elephant claustrophobic. Aswe pulled onto the highway, two falling bags thumped me on my head. I welcomedthem as a sign of an adventurous journey, as I was on my way to deprive CopperMountain Resort of a local skiing hero. Two hundred and fifty miles later, wearrived in Denver.

I have frequently heard how neat Denver is and havebeen there many times, but this trip won the cheese. Construction flooded thecity as if it had been destroyed by a smog-hungry Godzilla creature. Our six-footwide van was driving in a seven-foot wide lane. To complicate matters, it wasdark, we didn't know where we were going, and our supply of Mike & Ike hadbeen depleted. There I was, 16 years old and still learning newwords.

Thirty minutes later we were still alive to see the end of theorange barricades and the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. Another hour from theshady canyon, and we arrived at our grand destination, the DaysInn.

The next day was pure business. Undisturbed mountain snow needed tobe ripped, and I had to do it. I met my arch rival and nemesis, John Miller, atthe base of a high-speed quad. It was 8:30 in the morning. The intensity of thesun reflected off my Okleys and into John's funny-looking goggles. The lift rideup was delightful. Below us, a snowboarder scraped his board on a rock andscreamed obscenities.

Then we headed to the summit via a tow-rope, which,essentially, is a pipe with a Frisbee on the end that goes between your legs. Thecable then pulls the pipe up the mountain, ready or not. Needless to say, it wasthe weirdest thing I've ever felt. Once the pain subsided, John and I got towork.

The first order of business was to conquer a mogul-infested rundown the backside of the mountain. The bumps were steep and long. The snow wasiced over and harder than rock. The sun had not yet kissed that side of themountain, and small dips and rocks were hard to see. If hell ever freezes over,it'll look like this run looked. Each mogul brought my knees up to my waist. Thevertical drop was so fast that planting my poles was pointless. The ice was slickenough to eliminate the option of stopping. Everything was wonderful and I washaving a blast.

Being self-confident and arrogant, I naturally assumed noski run would be victorious over me. That's when my world fell apart. Ahead ofme, John was dodging moguls when he slipped and bought the farm. I saw a faintball of snow rise, a ski tumbling down the mountain, and John riding the bumps asif he were on a sled. His body flopped around like a tennis ball going down thestairs. While watching this brutal beating, I also slipped and fell. Headfirsthas always been my motto, so down I went.

The first thing I felt was amound of ice punch my chest. I heard two snapping sounds and saw two skis fly indifferent directions. A few somersaults put me on my back, and the next thing Iknew I was catching more air than I ever had before.

Once I met the earthagain, my face scraped against the icy playground. It felt like I was beingjabbed in the cheek with a knife made of hot coals. The huge bumps tossed mearound like a hacky-sack. The only reason I stopped sliding was because I hit thebottom of the run. I looked up and saw good news: John was alive too! I gave hima thumbs up and thanked God I didn't screw up six years oforthodontics.

After getting our butts kicked by a bunch of snow, it wouldonly be sensible to say we learned our lesson. Well, we didn't. The next day,after much muscle-related agony, we returned with a vengeance. In skiing terms,what we did then was the equivalent to restaurant-quality lemonade. Havingsuccessfully dominated the slopes, we went home. I learned two valuable lessonsthat trip: if you don't succeed at first, get a little crazy and do it again, andwhatever you do while riding a towrope, don't sit down.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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