The Beast Of The East This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I had read the simple brochure nearly a hundred times, and never once did I tire of studying the way the trails wrapped around this ski area's famous peaks. Most of my winter vacations were spent at resorts with fancy hotels, and high-speed lifts. But this mountain had a charisma, a certain quality that had beckoned me ever since I was a child. The single peak that stood tall against its tiny parking lot was the oasis in a desert. While other ski areas developed and developed, working to beat competitors with more trails, or better lifts, this ski area attracted the best skiers around the world with its "SKI IT IF YOU CAN" slogan, and its famous tag line, "THE BEAST OF THE EAST." I was destined to ski Mad River Glen.

These thoughts raced through my mind as I stood at the base of this untamed lion. A short walk led me to the only summit lift, a single chair (the last in the country). My body tingled with fear as I boarded. This mountain would be the closest thing to wilderness I would ever ski.

Alone on the single chair, I was left to contemplate whether my decision was a smart one. Staring below at such an awesome mountain, thoughts raced through my mind. Hundreds of vague ideas whizzing inside of me all came down to my inner most emotion, fear.

Clouds suddenly engulfed the sky as I neared the top. A light mist of snow filled the air, and danced through the sky. My toes trembled with excitement, my feet shivered with terror, my legs ached to ski through the powder, and my stomach twisted and turned as my gut told me to go for it. My fingers clutched the two poles, and my shoulders curled into each other as they shook. My mouth worked heavily in conjunction with my nose, breathing and smelling the sweet aroma of nature.

The snow picked up, and my body trembled. I was within minutes of my dream, and I couldn't wait to seize the day. Light fluffy flakes filled the sky and I had to take off my heavy goggles to see this amazing wonder. My ears listened intently as the sound of my thoughts and my heart beating quickly played its song. Snowflakes gently landed on the tip of my nose and I stuck out my tongue to taste the beauty around me.

My awe quickly turned to fear as the top of the mountain came into view through the field of white. I raised the safety bar with uncertainty, and glided off the chair that whipped around, heading in the other direction without me. My eyes peered over the cliff below, staring into a tiny but perfect path leading down into the woods. A cold shiver ran through my spine, and I realized this was my time.

My skis eased their way through the fresh powder, and into the uncertain path. My speed picked up, and the trail became increasingly narrow. The falling snow brushed by my body, as I shot through the tiny chute. The palms of my hands were wet with sweat, yet I clutched my poles tightly. Turn after turn, a smooth rhythmic flow developed as I danced my way through the tight fall line. Skiing had never felt so good.

Nearing the end of my trail, I felt a certain sense of relief rush through me. The rugged nature of Mad River is no small feat to tame, but I managed. Arriving at my home once again, I decided to take out the brochure I had studied so often. The trail map now held new meaning. It was one day I would recall forever. l


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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