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Speed Demon

Rated PG

Word Count ~600

Summary:

Written originally for class under the prompt “an aspect of your life.” The aspect that I chose to write about was skiing. Also visible here at my Livejournal.

Any reviews are welcome, and should be directed either to my ask box or posted on my LJ.

Excerpt:

There is something poetic in the action of strapping a pair of carbon-fibre boards to my feet and throwing myself down a mountain.  Maybe it’s just the altitude, the thin air – but I prefer to think of it as the happiest place on Earth.  Up there where the snow is great and the view is greater, the sky runs on for miles, broken not by clouds but by chairlift cables, cut through by scraggly mountain tips.  The snow glitters in the bright white sunshine and the blue blue shade, untouched on the branches of trees.


The sun blazes, fierce but wonderful, warming the air so it doesn’t freeze my lungs as I stare, motionless, across the bowl to the mountain peak on the other side.  I take it all in, breathe deep, deeper, and slide over the crest, allowing myself to gain speed before I bother pointing my skis any direction but down.  A little to my left, I hear my name being called, an invitation or a challenge, I’m not sure which.  I glance – a challenge – and hunker down to cut the wind in a more aerodynamic way, speeding up as I do so and I race a family member (it doesn’t really matter which one) towards the bottom of the slope, the level spot where I can see a snowboarder jerking his way along like a slug.

*                              *

The very best place to be is not so much a place, to me, but rather a state of being: skiing.  But not just skiing; skiing at Vail with my dad, my brothers, my cousins – my family.

I’ve skied Vail since I was two.  I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, a town about two hours northeast of Vail Mountain, alongside two cousins and two brothers, all close to me in age.  Although I didn’t start off thinking of it this way, when I think of skiing now I think of family.  Nights by the fire, falling asleep at eight with the light from the television shining on our faces, and packing the house fit to burst.  All of this juxtaposed against blue sky and white mountain.  Against sunburnt noses, a spray of snow as laughter catches my ears.  Tricks, moguls, skis.  Brothers.  Cousins.  Family.

I think of granola bars for lunch, pasta for dinner, of powder and making fresh tracks through it.  I think of racing home, of James Bond impersonations, of pretending to be a jumbo jet while vroom-vrooming down a cattrack.  I think of yard sales and faceplants and wiping out so big that the people on the chairlift above you cheer.  Of hockeystops so tight you fall over, or spray yourself with snow instead of the person you were aiming for.  Of stopping above a catwalk fall-in to catch some air on the way down; hiking up forty metres for the thrill of an extra fourteen turns.  Two-mile walks back into civilized country, grinning the whole way because I’m pretty sure no one’s ever skied that and how deep was that powder, man!  Black snow – the remnant of precautionary explosions versus avalanches; falling crystals so large and thick I can’t see three feet in front of me – and going heart-poundingly fast to get the adrenaline pumping.  Skiing the trees to show off quick turns and quicker reflexes.

There is something poetic in the action of strapping a pair of carbon-fibre boards to my feet and throwing myself down a mountain.  Maybe it’s just the altitude, the thin air – but I prefer to think of it as the happiest place on Earth.  Up there where the snow is great and the view is greater, the sky runs on for miles, broken not by clouds but by chairlift cables, cut through by scraggly mountain tips.  The snow glitters in the bright white sunshine and the blue blue shade, untouched on the branches of trees.

Snow is made for skiing.  Moguls are made for showing off.  Catwalks are made for racing.  Broken legs are for learning to ski on one foot.  The bunny hill is for beginners.

Chairlifts are for eating.

Snowboarding is for people too scared to look straight down.

Skiing is for family.