It’s a Thursday evening at any given Midwest ski hill. The sun is setting but it’s hard to see it from the bottom of the hill. The lines aren’t long, just long enough to wait a few chairs. Four strangers group up for the one minute and 30 second ride to the top. Just long enough for the usual pleasantries. As the chair leaves the load area, a younger guy at the end of the chair asks, “how’s it going everybody?”

What the others won’t learn about this young guy is his need for expression. Skiing is a form of art that resonates within himself more than any other form. Drawing required too steady of hand, making music required sitting too still, and on it goes. But skiing, that taught him something about himself that cannot be expressed. He runs lap after lap through the park. He skis quickly but smoothly. In the air he looks composed, his grabs are clean, and his landings look at though he never left the ground. Others say his style is outdated; he knows it’s his own.

Sitting next to him is a woman in her thirties. The others may not know her name, but they recognize her as the skier with quick feet, strong legs, and balanced shoulders. She cranks tight turns lap after lap, leaving railroad tracks behind her the whole way. In only an hour she will be on her way home. It’s not that she’s training for something, it’s just that life is hard. She loves her job, she loves her kids, but everyone needs an outlet, and this is the best one she knows.

Joining them is a man who appears in his late twenties. This man never considered himself a spiritual man until a few years ago. Since then, skiing and the exploration involved with it has become a way for him to learn more about the creator he believes in, on the way down the line he runs becomes an act of worship.

On the right side of the chair is a middle-aged gentleman. He wears a snowmobile jacket and is on rentals. He comes every couple of weeks if he can, starting this season. Growing up his father took him skiing regularly at this same hill. Those nights were some of his favorites as child. This last fall he lost his father, but skiing brings back the good memories and he loves the sport for it.

As the chair passes the last tower, the sunset becomes clear. It’s a wonderful backdrop for a night of sliding on snow. The gentleman on the right of the chair wishes everyone a nice night at they go their separate ways. One minute and thirty seconds isn’t enough time to explain why they are there, but it is enough time for pleasantries, and all are thankful for it.

Image credit: Bittersweet Resort Facebook