I gazed down the mountain and all I saw was white. Pure white. This is when the nerves really started to kick in. Knees buckling, voice shaking. I was ready.
It was around January and there was a lot of snow on the ground, making good conditions for skiing. I was on the bus sitting next to my friend Conor on the dreadful one hour ride. It was a bus full of 6th graders. Not good. We were heading up to Ski Sundown in Connecticut with my other friends from the school for ski club.
I had never been skiing before so just thinking about it was making me nervous and excited at the same time. I couldn’t understand why, but as we got closer I began to feel more nervous than excited. I mean this was supposed to be fun, right?
We got to a part of the road where you could see the mountain from the bus. It was so beautiful and bright and everything that I hoped for. The lights were so bright, beaming from the bulb, and bouncing off of the snow, contrasting the dark night sky.
I could see many other people on the mountain…some on the ground…but most were FLYING down. I could hear the SWISH of the skiers zooming down all the way from the bus. It seemed so fun but scary at the same time.
We pulled into the designated spot for the HKMS red, DATTCO bus. Then, we slowly got off. The chaperones tried to keep the order while kids were getting their stuff from the bus, however the other kids didn’t really care what they had to say. Everyone still frantically searched for their stuff.
Next, I found my skis and bag and followed everyone to the lodge. I brought my bag with my clothes inside to change into them, but left my skis outside. I was worried that someone would take them, but that’s what everyone else was doing so I went with it.
I walked into the lodge and instantly felt a gust of warm air hit me, much different than the cold air that was outside. I wasn’t expecting it, but it sure was a pleasant surprise. I saw many snacks over by the cash register. They had everything that you could think of: Oreos, Hershey bars, Skittles, and SO much more. Not only did they have a wide selection of candy, there were also burgers and french fries and hotdogs and hot chocolate. It all looked so good.
We headed back to an isolated area for our school and began putting on our gear. First the easy stuff. Snow pants. Coat. Sweatshirt. Next came the hard part. Boots. They needed to be a tight fit so I could use them but they were so tight that they became a hassle to get on. They hurt. FINALLY, (after five minutes of trying), we finally got the two boots on.
I trudged out of the cabin with my good friends Ryan and Drew. They were both really good at skiing. On the other hand, I was not.
Outside, I put on my K2 Twin Tip skis and headed toward the chairlift.
As we got on the lift, I felt it scoop me up and force me to sit down as it took off towards the top of the mountain. I held onto the sides for dear life, scared that I would fall off and die. I looked up from the ground and saw bright lights and many trees with different stuff in them. I saw ski poles and articles of clothing hanging from the branches and some other WEIRD stuff. The lift went up and the creaking sounds and sounds of people screaming on the mountains below didn’t help to calm my raging nerves at all. There was a faint smell of exhaust coming from the tractor-like-trucks that groomed the snow, making it look nice and fresh. Before I knew it, we arrived at the top.
I didn’t know how to say it to Ryan or Drew, but I was really scared. It looked so tall almost touching the sky. I considered whether or not I actually wanted to attempt to go down this slope. I mean, this trail was, what seemed to me to be, so large and steep. I was so inexperienced. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I REALLY didn’t want to do this. It was an accident waiting to happen!
I peered over the edge of where I was about to go. Steep. Very steep.
“So…we’re really gonna do this?” I asked, afraid of what the answer would be.
“Yeah. Come on. We’ll be there with you. It won’t be that bad. I mean you did ski club to ski, not to sit around.”
“This is the easiest one there is. We thought it would be a good place to start you off,” Ryan said.
“Okay,” I said back with my voice shaking. They were right. I couldn’t just sit around. My parents had paid good money for me to do this. By sitting out I was wasting my time, and more importantly, their money.
“I guess you’re right.”
Without telling Drew or Ryan, I headed down the mountain. Little did I know, you were supposed to go side to side on the mountain. I went straight down. Luckily, it was a straight trail, so I didn’t have to make any turns.
It felt great. The rush that you felt in your stomach was an awesome feeling. I wasn’t even thinking about how nervous I was at the beginning or how I couldn’t wait to go back up there and do it again. Actually, I wasn’t thinking about anything, I probably should have been thinking about how fast I was going because I just realized I didn’t know how to stop.
Thinking quickly, I tumbled over onto my side, hoping that it wouldn’t hurt. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all, even though I landed on an icy spot in the trail. I waited for them to catch up. Laying on the cold snow gave me some time to think about what I just did and gather my thoughts and emotions.
Dang, that was fun.
“Not bad, not bad,” said Ryan. He clapped lightly. I couldn’t tell if it was sarcastic for the way I stopped myself or actual clapping. (Knowing him it was probably sarcastic).
“Yeah, you did much better than I thought you would, but you gotta work on your stopping. Falling over isn’t going to work every single time,” he said laughing.
I Actually did it.
I could never even imagine myself doing something like this before this night. EVER. I’m glad that my friends pushed me out of my comfort zone and were there for me. I enjoyed every second of it (except for the part where I had to fall over to stop myself). In the end, I faced my fear and loved it.
“Again?” I asked.