Soaring down the mountain!
Caroline Adams /  Wed, 20 Apr 2022

This story was a submission to our March 2022 Short Story Contest.

“Stop, I can't do this. Is there another way down?” I ask frantically

I am boiling, face as hot as the saharan desert even though it's cold, -15.

My breathing quickens, my heart races and my vision goes blurry. “I shouldn't have done this, I shouldn't have done this, I shouldn't have done this” I repeat in my head. “Let's go, '' my best friend said eagerly. I knew I should have just stayed in the car.

What to do now? I'm at the top of a monster of a hill with no way down. Needless to say, I'm a beginner skier and this is the biggest hill I've ever been on. Initially I was excited but with every second on the chair lift I got more and more nervous. But now there's only one option, it's an option I don't like much; I must ski down...

“I'll meet you guys at the bottom” I holler to my friends knowing damn well they wouldn't let me, a beginner skier do my first run on a brand new hill by myself. My friend Tess, who doesn’t like skiing much herself, offers to go with me. I'm very grateful for this. I pull the cold air in through my nose and out through my chattering teeth before we start our first run. I couldn't tell if my teeth were chattering because of the cold or the thoughts rushing into my head like fast moving water in Niagara Falls.

We rushed down the hill, my anxieties left behind and replaced with exhilaration. It feels like I'm flying! Wait! Am i...? I hit a massive jump. First, the tips of my skis leave the snow then I'm fully airborne. “Ba BOOM, Ba BOOM, Ba BOOM”. My heart drops to the ground as I soar through the air as exactly what I thought might happen . . happens. It feels like I've done a full 720 and have been in the air for 5 hours before I hit the ground and my skis shoot off my boots. My tailbone collides with a big patch of ice. I am in severe pain. So for my first run, it didn't look too well ...

After what seems like an eternity I finally get the courage to put my skis back on and keep going. My nervousness and inexperience are an unfortunate combination. My friends patiently wait for me to make my way down the hill at a snail's pace. Literally... a gazillion falls later we are finally down the hill after around an hour. The run was supposed to take 15-20 minutes only...

We give up and decide to warm up in the car and listen to music.

A few weeks later Tess’s mom invited us up for another ski trip at the same hill. As petrified as I am , I am still very grateful for the offer and I agree to go. I hope this time will be different and I can get off on the right ski. We start on the baby hill so I can gain confidence. After a while the time comes to attempt the monster of a hill again.

As I was going up the chairlift for the second time my heart started beating out of my chest like a puppy trying to escape his cage. “Oh shit,” I say exasperatedly as the same feelings return as to where there was 2 weeks before. I push them away as far as I can. This time will be different...

This time I breathe through my nose and breath out through my huge smile as I study the breathtaking scenery. I rush down the hill, half expecting to take a tumble. This time I ski confidently down the side of the mountain with no falls. At the bottom, to everyone's surprise, I cheered. “Let's do this again”!

That day I did more runs than I have fingers on my hand! Up in the chair lift down on my skis, up in the chairlift down on my skis. I did this with glee as if it were the new rhythm of my heart! In fact on my last run I was the very last person on the chairlift. Ironically this time, as the hill was closed my friends and my friend's mom waited for me in the car.

After this day I never looked back. Skiing became my new favorite activity; the only thing that makes cold and miserable winters bearable. This year my friend's mom asked if we wanted to go on a ski trip and without missing a beat I agreed, excited for what joy this trip would bring me. I've visited Mt. Tremblant twice this year and also became a regular skier at Camp Fortune. It is now my goal to be the last one down the hill . . every time.

It's kind of funny how something that initially scared you to death can become the one thing you live for...