Soaring Down the Mountain

November 12, 2008
By Ursula Casey, W.Dover, VT

The gears slowly turn on the rusty wheels of the chair lift. It’s moving so slowly, that it seems as if the old chair will never reach the top of the hill. I carefully get off, watching the tips of my skis. Although I’ve been getting on and off lifts for almost ten years, I’ll always be a klutz, and I fall very often. There’s nothing to stop my clumsiness.
As I set off down the beginning of the slope, I think about my first time coming up to the top of the mountain. I was only five or six, and it took a lot of guts for me to ski down from the very top. I start down the first part of the trail, which by now is a long swooping slope with big twists and turns. I speed through it with wide carving turns like a racer running a slalom course. Nothing can stop me now. I love turning like this. It’s fast and smooth, and sometimes the speed makes me feel like I’m flying.
I decide to cut into the woods, where I’m all alone; no others are around me. I take short parallel turns now, avoiding many trees that seem to pop out of nowhere and maneuvering around large unpredictable moguls. There are many obstacles that I need to avoid: logs and little dips and turns. There are dozens of places where I could go crashing down, but I never take any of those opportunities. I go through the forest flawlessly.
I come out the other side of the woods into a terrain park, filled with many freestyle geniuses who think they own the mountain. Ignoring the rails, boxes and jumps, I speed through, eager to get out of this jumble of spins and tricks. I have a strange need to go over a jump. Just one. I’m unaware of the other side of the lip, so I’m unprepared, and do not land properly. My skis seem to slam into the hard packed snow, like a heavy weight being dropped from a skyscraper. I wobble, and nearly fall, but quickly recover and continue on down the hill.
I always wish that I could live out West, where the skiing conditions are amazing. During my trip to Colorado, I got the chance to ski through thigh deep powder. That was one of the most incredible days of skiing in my life. The light fluffy powder made me feel like I was soaring. Going through it with short quick turns took a lot of effort, and it could really tire you out. Anybody who thinks that alpine skiing is nothing but speeding straight down a hill is completely wrong.
Skiing makes me feel so free most of the time. The feeling of the well-waxed skis smoothly gliding over the snow is exhilarating. Nothing can mimic the sensation of floating over the amazing snow. If skiing wasn’t a part of my life, I would be miserable all winter, but snow makes it all happen; you can’t ski without it.
As I approach the bottom of the trail, I am not at all anxious to go back through the jumble and confusion of the lift lines, and then up the long ride to get to the top. But it has to be done so I can speed back down again, hopefully finding the freedom of flying along the way. But first, I must slow down and wait in the lift line, to repeat the run in an entirely different way, just to get the high I love from skiing.

The author's comments:
I've always loved skiing, and I thought that it would be really great to write a reflection peice focusing on just one run and all the joys of it.

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