The First Time I Skied

It was a frozen winter day, and I sat in the backseat of the car, a young girl of nine, my hand pressed on the cold glass window with utter amazement. Despite the chilly air, the sun shone brightly on the earth, beautifully reflecting off the snow and producing a warm and friendly atmosphere. It was my first time seeing real snow in years, and my lower jaw hung loosely below my upper in awe. Pure excitement coursed through me as realized we had nearly arrived in Incline Village. Just an hour, I told myself. Then you’ll be there… I gathered all that I had learned about the extraordinary Lake Tahoe, and pictured its tall pines and crystal-blue waters. Then I saw it. The very place I would learn to ski. The very spot I would be introduced to its enlivening sensation. We managed to cram the car in the parking lot, and stepped out into the lovely windy air. We hadn’t yet reached Incline, but had merely paused our journey. But when I saw my parents removing our new skis and poles from the car, I could barely contain my thrill. I turned once more to the vast area blanketed with paper-white snow. Children threw snowballs, made snowmen, sledded, and imprinted snow angels in the fluffy whiteness. The area was packed. Yet, far off in the corner of the place, there lay an untouched mound of powder. Not necessarily large, but in my eyes it was perfect. My eyes lit up, and I sprinted through the people, until I stood at the base of the hill. My family hastily followed, agreeing that this was, in fact, the perfect spot. After grabbing my poles, and forcing on my uncooperative ski boots, I unsteadily stepped into my skis, and was slightly startled by the slight click that sounded when my boots were snuggly in place. On my father’s instructions, I cautiously hiked up the little hill, taking sideways steps that imprinted lines in the once flawless snow. When I finally came to the top of the mound, I stopped, staring at the gradual friendly slope and fluffy snow, which seemed like a steep wall and hard-packed ice. For the first time that day, pure fear blinded me from my former excitement. However, I could not remain perched on the top of that little pile of snow. No, you must go now, I told myself, and with a large gulp, I shut my eyes, and transferred from “Pizza” form, to “French-fries” form, straightening my skis, anticipating the terrifying moment that I thought would follow. Immediately I began to plummet down the hill. However, when I unclamped my eyes, I became aware of the exhilarating sensation of skiing. The rush of wind held my hair back and my face was freckled with the occasional sprinkle of snow. I inhaled the air that flew graciously in my face and found myself balanced comfortably at last. But best of all, I really did believe I could fly. I was half-surprised when I didn’t sprout wings and soar through the air. If I lightly shut my eyes I could imagine myself flying through the sky. I was disappointed when I reached the end, but was eager to try again. I went up and down that minuscule pile of snow copious times, becoming better by the run. I was sure I could one day become the most magnificent skier of all time, with a million golden medals. I look back at that day, three long years ago, and think, maybe I will.          


Little me…



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