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My first day skiing. It may be the most memorable day of my life. I was 5 years old living in Bozeman, Montana. Bridger Bowl had just opened up for the season and I had decided that I wanted to become a skier after we had a ski patroller come talk to our kindergarten class. So my dad and I drove on up to the mountain on a chilly, snowy Sunday and rented gear. As soon as I first slipped my feet into the boots and clicked them into the bindings, I knew that this was the sport for me. As I waited in the lift line on the bunny hill in my bright yellow coat I could not wait to get up to the top. The 2 minute ride on the lift seemed as though it took a lifetime. When I finally got to the top, I realized that I didn’t know how to get off of the lift. So, in true Montanan fashion, I bailed off the lift skidding and tumbling down the icy ramp. Not the greatest way to start my skiing career. But, I popped up and headed over to the beginning of the gently sloped run. As I looked down to the parking lot and the mountains beyond, things just felt right. I began to ski down the run and on my first turn, fell. A ski instructor watching the frenzy of kids on the hill skied gracefully over to me as I stared at him in amazement and showed me how to “pizza” down the hill. I got the hang of it after a few practices with him showing me how to safely make it down. The rush I got from sliding down the hill was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. I spent the entire day on the bunny hill, full of crashes and adventure. Reluctant to even take a bathroom break, I continued to hot-lap the lift lines. At the end of the day, my tired, sore legs could barely get me to the car but I did not care one bit. As soon as I got into the car and began the short journey home, I became very sad that I was leaving such an exciting and beautiful place. My dad comforted my thoughts saying that we could come back again the following weekend if I wanted. Driving into the bright sun setting over the Jagged Bridger Mountains, I realized that I would continue doing this wonderful adventure slipping and sliding down a slope as long as I could.
My First Day on Skis
My very first day on skis took place in the wonderful state of Washington. Cool, crisp, air brushed my face so softly and tenderly. At the age of nine, this meant nothing to me, and shrugged it off of my shoulder of thoughts. My parents were excited to get my younger brother and me on some skis. I was not too sure about this. They slowly helped me click in my boots, get on the lift, and hold my hand. We reached the end of the lift and proceeded to advance to the moment of getting off. My father held my hand for dear life and the sake of me falling, he was always protective of me and never wanted me to get hurt. I slid off the chairlift with ease and reached a safe spot to stop. I remember my parents overlooking this moment as just a learning experience. They did not know this was the start of something new. I was scared as could be at the top, looking down on the hill with fear in my eyes.
Quite some time passed as my dad encouraged me to get going. I slowly got up from the chilling, packed snow, and explained to my mom and dad I wanted to do it on my own. I got up and felt a rush of excitement just like it was at the young age of three to start rollerblading. It seemed smooth on the surface of my skis. The way the skis met the snow was like electricity. So unsteady, yet confident. I took my first turns on that run! I could hear my parents in the distance yelling at me to slow down. I ignored them with grace and took this breath of freedom that I will never forget. Being alone and being somewhere so far away from home made me feel like a wild animal. I took each turn with precaution, yet I still crashed at the end of my run. Later in the day, I took a break to eat a hearty meal of Cup of Noodles.
We went out for a few more runs. I decided to step up from the beginner run, “Daisy”, to an intermediate run. My Dad and I went on the run together, while my mom and brother waited in the car. We got to the top of the lift and went down, everything felt so steep and very incorrect. I looked back for my dad and didn’t see him. I then realized that hadn’t stopped before I looked back! I hit a bump and flew forward! I slammed into the chilling snow face first and bled for some time. My dad reached me and calmed me down. I was not crying at the time. For an odd reason, the scene of white capped mountains, trees, and blue sky all around me softened my tone of attitude and I was encased with pain and happiness. This was a very odd feeling for me to feel this way. I was not used to it. I then told my dad that I never wanted to ski again and it was the worst thing he ever made me do.
I began to ski once every 2 months, and that quickly turned into 2 weeks, and then 2 days. I loved to ski, it was my favorite thing to do. I felt so free when I did it that it kept inviting me back to the mountains. I even quit all my sports to commit to it. There is an unspoken bond that drives me to continue to ski constantly. I love this sport so much, whether it’s the joy of getting first chair on the first day, the sad weep on the car ride home from the last day, or the scenery of beautiful life around me. Skiing will, and always will be, my first love.
P.S I will be around 179 words over the limit but I believe there should not be a limit on joy.
Sincerely, Jake Salvador
For as far back as I can remember my family would go skiingevery Sunday that we could. Evenwhen I was a toddler my parents would wake me up at the crack of dawn to makethe drive from Denver to Mary Jane. Before I could walk my parents would shred those notorious Mary Janebumps with me in a carrier on their back. Those memories of just enjoying the ride are a hazy but I will neverforget the first time I put on skis. I was just over two years old and it was a typical Sunday for us wepulled into the parking lot bright and early. I remember finally being coaxed to leave the warm car so Icould layer up with my ninja turtles sweatshirt, hand me down jacket, and sharkshaped mittens. This Sunday wasspecial because it was going to be my older brother’s first day on skis but myparents had deemed me too young to start yet.
Whenwe headed out, I watched from my perch in the backpack as my brother made hisfirst turns on the Galloping Goose bunny slope and I became infinitely jealous. In my most demanding two-year old voiceI shouted, “I ski, I ski” over and over until my parents heard me and promisedthat when we went in for lunch they would rent me a pair of skis too. All I remember about lunch is that Igot sick and ran outside and threw up on some skis leaning against therack. I can only imagine that Ivomited out of sheer excitement.
Assoon as I got all the excitement and nervousness and nausea out of my system weheaded back out for my first run. As you may have inferred from the name, Galloping Goose is a formidablerun for a first timer. I couldn’tturn, I fell constantly, and the only time I made forward movement was when myDad held me between his legs. Butit didn’t matter. I was high on life. While, I’m sure that my attempts were pitiful, I loved it. I perceived my speed as ludicrouslyfast. I perceived every knoll anddivot as massive jumps, shouting, “Did you see that? Dad how high did I go?” That’s how it started and that’s how it’salways been. Skiing is all aboutperception to me and even if I’m not hitting the biggest jumps or shredding thesteepest face, sometimes it feels like it, you know?EndFragment
My First Day Skiing
My first time skiing was January, 2007, I was in sixth grade. My Christmas present was to go skiing or snowboarding. My dad and I went to Welch Village in Welch, Minnesota. With a vertical drop of 325 feet and an average snowfall of fifty inches per year Welch Village is considered more of a bluff than a mountain. But being nine years old and never seeing a hill of that size before I was memorized. Don't get me wrong I love Welch and still go there frequently; it is just not your typical ski resort. That day it was the typical Minnesota in January temperature. It was zero degrees outside with a -10 wind-chill.
We showed up to Welch Village at nine o'clock so we could rent equipment and get our lift tickets. I decided I was going to try to snowboard first. But the guy in the rental shop told me I should ski because with snowboarding I would fall more and falling on hockey rink like slopes is no fun. So I rented some skis and boots and headed out to the chairlift. After falling a few times on the way to the lift I finally got my bearings and was able to maneuver my way to the lift line. Once I was on the lift itself I was terrified. The seats were cold and slippery so I was hugging the chair all the way up. After getting off of the lift I immediately fell. Embarrassed because the lift had to be stopped for me to get up and get out of the way, I sprang up and shot down the rest of the loading slope.
Then came the hard part, getting down the bunny hill. My dad tried to teach me to snowplow but I thought I was too good already to do so. Being from Minnesota I had learned to play hockey and ice skate soon after I learned to walk. Thinking that skis were like oversized ice skates and the mountain my rink I headed straight down the hill skis straight. After realizing I could not turn I started yelling for my dad to help. My dad who is an advocate for tough love decided to teach me a lesson and let me sweat it out for a little bit before he would catch up and help me. Finally, in a panic I made my first turn before my dad could catch up. I knew that skiing was for me after that first turn. My dad and I skied the rest of the day only stopping in the chalet to avoid frostbite every hour or so.
The Foundation of an Obsession
Asmuch as I wish I could, I can’t say that I remember my first day on skis. WhatI do know is that I was about three years old with my family at a fairly small,closely knit hill in Washington called Mission Ridge, about forty miles fromwhere I grew up. It wasn’t until an older age that I started to realize thebeauty of skiing and what it represents. The mountain environment is sopeaceful, the culture is incredibly unique, and the act of skiing is aboundless art form. At the age of three I had no idea that one experience wouldlead to a lifelong passion that is increasingly forming my future. My family isspending large sums of money to provide me with an education that willhopefully lead me to achieve a career in the skiing community. I spent my summerworking two jobs so I could afford to spend my winter in Utah to gain a broaderview of the ski industry, and of course ski as much as possible. I feel honoredto be influenced by a deep connection with something such as skiing; which Ifeel is something many people will never experience. For these reasons, I feellike every day on skis is like the first time. A day spent skiing is never thesame as another. Every time you strap skis to your feet, you will always be experiencingsomething new. Skiing is so much more than the time spent on snow, it’s aculture, a lifestyle, and as I feel, a mindset. Skiers are a group of peoplepursuing the same feeling in our own way, and no matter how we reach thatfeeling, we can all relate to one another through the memory and pursuit ofthat feeling. Personally I think about skiing way too much. If I see a naturalslope, I can only look at it as a feature to ski while imagining it blanketedin endless snow. Hopefully every person has a love for something in their lifelike I do, because it gives you something to look forward to, something toimagine, and something to hold close to your heart. I don’t think anyone knewthat one day on a bunny slope in central Washington with my dad teaching me howto pizza and french fry would form a such a deep bond in such an extraordinarysport.
Winnie the Pooh taught me how to ski. If you think that’s odd, take a look at a topographical map of Rotterdam, New York. There, just a half hour’s drive from my house, lies a ski hill whose vertical drop is rivaled by some golf courses. Maple Ski Ridge might not have the gnarliest lines in the northeast, but it sure was a great place to learn the ropes.
Speaking of ropes, I’m proud to be a part of the last generation to snow plow down a bunny slope served by a real rope tow. As a beginner at age five, I was always timid coming down the hill. Going back up hanging on for dear life to a heavy, half-frozen rope was just as much fun, and doing it successfully was just as rewarding. Of all the things that are said to be corrupting America’s youth these days, the magic carpet should be number one.
Of course, my first day out didn’t actually involve a rope tow. It barely involved skiing. The youngest lesson groups at Maple Ridge met in a big snow fort at the base of the mountain. It was a square with walls about three feet high and two feet thick. My previous experience with snow forts told me that it must have taken the instructors days to build. Looking back, I’m sure it took a guy in a cat about ten minutes.
In the fort, groups assembled around colorful signs with pictures of characters from Winnie the Pooh. I was in Eeyore’s group. The rest of the lesson moved as slowly as the donkey himself. I had already waited patiently in line with my dad to get rental skis, struggled in the lodge to get my boots on, and trudged over to the fort packaged in more puffy clothing than I could handle. After all that, I was pretty anxious to get to “real skiing.”
The instructor, who was probably no older than I am now, must have had the patience of a saint. Putting up with antsy, headstrong five-year-olds is no easy task. The first drill had us parading around the fort in just our boots, so we could get a feel for the awkward weight that our young legs weren’t used to carrying. Next, we learned how to step into bindings, then how to release them. We repeated that a few times, and it got old fast.
With our skis on, still on the flats, we learned the most crucial word in the novice skier’s vocabulary. Pizza. The wedge has been called many things by many instructors, but I will forever think of skiing fundamentals in terms of food. French fry turns came a year or two later.
After skating around a bit, the lesson was over. I felt like we hadn’t done anything. When I went inside, the base lodge was packed with people eating oranges. I can't stand the smell of oranges. Plodding through the mud in the parking lot on the way to my dad’s old Saab, I thought I might not come back. I’m pretty glad I did.
Warren Miller Essay Contest
Thiswhole journey began when I was a young tot at the age of 3. My father took me out to our homemountain, where I ended up spending the next 15 years of my life skiing. This cozy peak is known as none other thanGrand Targhee. I remember gettingto the hill and looking up at the glossy mountain, and being astonished at thesize of it. The fact that peoplecould ski down it made me wonder, like Curious George, and I knew that I wantedto ride the “big lift” as my father had called it, but he told me that we weregoing to the “rope tow” instead. “One day,” I told myself, “I am going to ridethe ‘big lift.’”
Aswe headed over to the rope tow, I became as excited as a three-year old has thecapacity to be. My dad strapped myskis onto my pathetic little boots, and made sure my jacket was zipped uptight. We rode up the rope tow asa team, because I was honestly too dumb and weak to hold onto it by myself. Yet, just the feeling of my skisgliding with the snow underneath made me happy. Happy like the feeling you get when a gorgeous girl givesyou a complement, or when a kid wakes up to open presents on Christmas morning.Only, this feeling was better. Ithad no price, and it was much simpler than other things, which is what made itso appealing to me.
Wegot to the top of the jittery-ass ride, and I gazed down at what I was about toski—SKI. That was the moment thatI entered this lifestyle, this passion that I have, and what other way to beinitiated than by my own father. He set himself up behind me, and grabbed my mittens, holding my arms upas if I had just won the lottery. We started to move downward, and downward we went with him guiding methe entire way. The experience ofsomething new is always enticing, but there was something more in this. I may not be able to explain itcompletely, but I know that since that day, skiing was what I wanted todo. The freedom and euphoria thatI get from it is incredible. The strange part is that at the end of the run, mydad caught his edge and keeled over on top of me, and broke my face into thefrozen snow below. That was theseal on the deal. I loved skiing, and still do. Charge Life.EndFragment
My first time skiing ever isone I will never forget. Growing up in Penticton, British Columbia, there werereally only a couple hills around the area. There was Silverstar and Big Whitejust to name a few, but for me, I called my home Apex. I remember beingterrified, not wanting to go, but was thrown into the car by my parents and onthe road at dawn. Driving up to the hill is something that sticks in your mindforever. Leaving your home, going through the city, until you hit that onepoint where buildings are non-existent and only trees and the highway remain. Iremember seeing the lodge, like something one only imagines, but before I couldexplore, I was strapped onto these two foreign sticks with no idea of what theywere and what to do. Next, I remember constantly falling on that damn rope tow,crying the entire way to the top. Once at the top, I received a blip ofinformation and before I could even say anything, I was hurtled down this hillnot knowing whether to pizza or to french fry. I can't recall how many times Ifell on that slope, crying with every fall, trying to bare the cold. Yet when Iwasn't, I was filled with joy, but all of the sudden, within the blink ofan eye, my face was eating snow. That felt like it went on forever, but as soonas I heard we were going to go to the lodge, my spirit picked up and hotchocolate the only thing on my mind. Going into that giant log cabin andsitting down to PB and J and hot chocolate felt like heaven. This however, wasshort lived, as soon enough I was back to that hill with only pain on my mind.This time however, I felt like the best skier out on that slope. I knew exactlywhen to pizza and exactly when to french fry. My face was snow free. I could dothis. One successful run after the other, each making my grin larger and myconfidence greater. This was once again replaced by sadness. I was back intothe car, looking through the rear view as the lodge slowly faded away, buthappiness over took me again as I'm upright yelling the typical, "Did yousee me?" to my parents. It was at this moment, when I'd truly been skiing.It will be a moment I will never forget.
I have to admit, I can’t tell youabout my first day on skis. Heck, I can’t tell you my best day on skis. But that’sonly for the fact that I have been blessed in my life with too many good dayson snow. My parents tell me that when I was a wee tyke somewhere in the magicalbut slightly wobbly 3-5 year old years, I laughed and schussed as the rainpoured on the bunny hill with the Crystal Mountain Polar Cubs… or whatever cute,snowy name we were cast under. Iremember tearing around the hill at 7 or 8 years old when my mom pulled up tome midway down a run and made a threatening bargain, that she’d stop telling meto slow down when I could go faster than her better than her. I take a coupleof switch groomer runs with my parents now and then. I remember a day some timein the following years, as snow pounded on Crystal’s Gold Hill and my buddy andI lapped the face throwing big moon-flops onto our backs in the accumulatingfluff off of the quickly growing groomer berm. Then my buddy lost a ski, wesearched, got to the car late, and found both it and our parents indisagreeable places.
I remember my first season ski racing, my first time in ahalf pipe, my first summer at Mt. Hood, my last college ski race, my first timein a helicopter, my first time down Whistler’s Air Jordan, and the time a fewyears before where I just hyperventilated in the trees at the top. I rememberthe first time I tried a 360, the last time I’ll ever try a double backflip, whichwas also the first time skiing sent me to the hospital, and then the second trip tothat house of nightmares, when I knocked out some teeth in Crystal’s PowderBowl, yelling that I’d “losth my theeef” to my departing friends, who replied,“You lost your skis? OK, we’ll see you next lap.” I remember the first schoolproject I based on skiing so I could do that for a day instead of going toclass, the first bad grade I got for spending too much time at the hill and notin Physics and the first week of university I skipped to ski powder with myfriends in Whistler. I remember my first ‘fat’ twin-tipped K2 Enemies, my mostfavorite skis (K2s with Ninja Turtles… obviously), the first time I sawBlizzard of Ahhh’s and did tricks over the couch on our little mini-trampolinein the living room. I remember my first bewildering time lost in the backcountrynear Baker, my first time looking for someone lost in the backcountry nearSeymour and my first time thinking I was lost in the backcountry in-betweenruns off of Chair 9 at Crystal. I can perfectly recall the distinct taste ofthat first sip of a Le Chamois Budweiser, the feeling of elated satisfaction,not after THAT first time, but after a deep and seemingly endless storm day. Iremember the time that I recognized Seth Morrison on the streets of Seattle,stopped in my tracks and just stared in awe at my hero, the first time Iactually saw Tanner Hall ski, and the first time I saw one of my heroes falland not get up. Bless you CR.
But somewhere in there, one ofthose memories, one of those amazing and tumultuous ski days must have pushedthe very first one out of my mind. It was the one where I imagine my mom takesme out of the backpack she carries me in, straps the little skis to my boots,and holds me snowplowing in front of her before I take off giggling down thehill.EndFragment