“Don’t be out too late, remember you have to be back by midnight to celebrate New Year’s with us,” Mrs. Andreoli shouts to my sister, Maddie, Troy, his brother, Kyle, and I as we walk out of the condo we were renting on the ski mountain; Okemo. As we walk into the snowy woods behind our condo Maddie (for the hundredth time) questions whether or not she wants to go through with our plan.
“Are you sure about this?” she asks to no one in particular.
“Of course,” Kyle responds quickly, “We do this with our cousins all the time, why are you too scared?” He continues in a patronizing tone. Maddie immediately gets defensive,
“No I was just asking because I don’t know if it’s ok for Ben and Troy.” Troy and I start drifting away from our siblings and laugh at them as they playfully argue like they always do.
“What trail do you think we should go on?” I ask Troy, unable to make the decision myself, “Solstice or Avalanche?”
“Solstice is probably better, it’s steeper so we won’t have to worry about not making it to the bottom,” he answers quickly and we take out the map we brought to find how to get to Solstice. We brought the map so that once we get to the bottom we will be able to found our way back. Maddie also brought her phone just in case. We find where we need to go and let our siblings know before heading off.
After about ten minutes of walking we get to a large clearing that marks the start of the trail. We walk to the motionless chair lift and look under the deck where the operator normally sits. We had hid our sleds here earlier that day. We grab them and get ready. Before putting down my sled to start our descent I wait for a moment to admire the view. I hadn’t noticed it earlier but we had and amazing view from up at the top of the mountain where we were. And with the lightly falling snow covering the landscape in a pristine white powder the view was all the more breathtaking. As I place down my sled I listen and hear the quiet swaying of the chair lift in the light wind. The wind slows down and everything goes silent.
Then, we all hop on our sleds one by one and begin our ride. Soon the silence is replaced with many whoops, yells, and shouts of excitement. We glide down the mountain at speeds I didn’t think were possible on a sled. I feel the adrenaline coursing through me, pushing back the fear of falling or ramming into something far into the back of my mind. I watch the trees rushing past me then look beside me and see Kyle beside me on a sled of his own. Suddenly, I see a big jump coming up in front of me and I have to quickly decide if I want to go over it or bail and jump off my sled to start again after I pass the jump. I realize that I am behind everyone else and that if I stopped I would fall very far behind. Since I didn’t want to get lost I decide to go over the jump. As I hit it I feel like I was slammed into a wall followed by a feeling of weightlessness all throughout my body. It felt like I was in the air forever even though I know I was only there for mere seconds. When I fall back to the ground I almost fall off my sled but just manage to hold on. I see that I am nearly caught up to everyone else and calm down a little. The slope flattens out a little and I slow down, I relax and realize that my crazy ride was coming to an end. I see that there is only one more hill before the bottom. I brace myself and laugh out loud, as terrifying as the experience had been, I was actually having more fun than I thought I would. Just as I loosen up I hear a loud crack from up ahead of me. I look and see that Maddie had flipped over and her sled broke. I try to stop myself to help her along with the others but end up crashing into my sister while trying to stop. I don’t hit her hard but it’s enough to knock us both over. I apologize and go to grab my sled which continued to slide across the flat snow without me. I come back and we help Maddie get back on her feet. She wasn’t hurt but snow went all in her jacket and she was freezing. It didn’t help that the snow was coming down harder and the wind was picking up.
“Wait a second,” Maddie exclaims, “Where’s my phone?” we all look around for it, hoping it isn’t lost in the snow. Finally we hear Kyle yell to us from a few feet up the hill.
“Um I think I found it.” He holds up the phone, cracked and dripping water.
“NOOOO!” Maddie yells as she sprints to grab her unusable phone. She frantically tries to dry it off and turn it on, but to no avail. She shoves it in her pocket to try and warm it up and angrily says “Mom and Dad are going to kill me.”
“It’ll be fine Maddie,” I reassure her, “They won’t care that much, you have had that phone for four years.”
“I guess you’re right,” she agrees. We decide that we should head back as soon as possible since we no longer had a phone to call our parents if we got lost. I reach into my pocket to grab the map we brought and gasped. It wasn’t there. It must have fallen out when I crashed. Now it was my turn to panic. We had no idea how to get back to the house!
We trudged up the steep trail for about forty-five minutes, stopping every once in a while since we were cold and tired. We finally reach the top with one sled less than when we started. We look around to find the way we came from but can’t find it since our footprints were covered up by the falling snow. We try to think which direction we came from but we just couldn’t remember. We decide that we should all stick together and we choose to go across the clearing and enter the woods again. With so much snow on the branches of the trees, even less light gets to us than what is outside. We have trouble getting through the trees but finally see a light in the distance.
We hurry up and arrive at a random street. But Troy recognizes that we passed through it on the way to the condo when we arrived three days earlier. I sigh with relief and we follow the road until we find a street we recognize.
After another thirty minutes we arrive back at the condo. We establish what we would tell our parents when they ask what happened and knock on the back door. My Dad opens it and tells us to come in. There is hot chocolate waiting for us and we answer all our parent’s questions about our “walk”, exchanging glances as we do.