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Puffy Blue Snowpants This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My feet dangle. Numb from the cold breeze, I wiggle my toes in an effort to create some warmth. Weighed down by clunky skis and constricting boots, my legs are tired. We are almost at the top. With Matt to my right, I feel secure.

The wind howls through my fleece-lined wool hat. It sways the chair this way and that, making me regret coming on such a windy day. I shiver. Yellow Smith goggles shield my eyes from the bright sun. A green neck warmer envelops my neck and cheeks, preventing them from becoming chunks of frozen skin. The air is cold, and it almost hurts to take a deep breath. Filling my lungs with frigid air, I am liberated, like an angel, floating above the tree tops, appreciating the beauty around me.

The mountains tops jut high above the clouds in the horizon. I pivot in my seat to get the full view. The clouds hang, as if a skirt on the mountain's bulky waist. Their little feet peeking from below, the mountains dance on crooked valley floors. It is like a fairy tale. Never before have I seen such beauty. Speechless, I look with wide eyes and an open mouth.

The ground is a dirty white. Spotted with bare spots and tufts of curious grass, the trail below is tragic. Amid the backdrop of remarkable scenery, it seems to cry, pained by its ugliness. The thin cover barely shields it from the swooshing invasions appearing below.

Matt and I watch. A colorful parade of jackets and snow pants, skiers pass below. I envy their aloofness. I feel confined. Matt chuckles. I know why. Without a word, we exchange a smile and quickly look back to the just-downed skier. Shaking the snow from his waist, and refastening his woolen hat, he blushes. I feel better now, a bit ashamed of laughing at the unathletic skier. The cruel side of us comes out.

We're coming to the top now. "Prepare to unload," reads the sign, crookedly hung on the vertical uprights. We can see the ramp, dressed in clingy snow and mesh safety netting. Matt pushes up the bar. I feel uneasy, like a baby without its blanket. Now nothing stands between me and the ground below. I hold on tightly to the bar on my left.

I wiggle in the seat, unstick my puffy blue snow pants from the plastic chair covering. I move closer to the edge, my left hand gripping the bar, my right hand in the space between Matt and my legs. As many times as I have exited a chair lift, the twinge of anxiety still comes over me about five feet from touchdown. Matt and I quickly discuss the landing procedures. We decide he will make a quick turn to the right, leaving room for me to turn as well. It has happened once or twice that our directionals were not worked out and we made an unexpected rendezvous with a snow-covered patch of ice. The chairs had to be stopped for us until we could regain our balance. A little embarrassed and greatly irritated with each other's gracefulness, the incident was soon forgotten.

Sure not to repeat these adventures, our strategy is confirmed and it is time to exit this box-like mobile. Ski tips up and poles in the left hand, we tense up. Slowly our skis' waxy bottoms glide over the initial rise of snow. Up with left arm. Push with the right. Steady. Turn to the right. Swoosh. Another run, and soon another relaxing ride up the torn, plastic-covered double seater. 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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