Snowflakes fell on the pavement in droves around the mini-van on it’s way to Islamic Saturday school. It was a blustery Saturday in the dead of winter, but the chill only heightened my excitement. My blood ran hot in anticipation; the good behavior of my classmates and me in the last few months of class had allowed us a reward. And that reward was a ski trip to Mount Sunapee!
I couldn’t contain my glee as my mom dropped me off at school and wished me good luck. As I waited for the bus, I looked around. It seemed to me as though the entire student population nestled itself amid the snowdrifts. When the bus rolled up, the process of boarding was hectic. But, despite the weather and the crowd, the trip was cozy and the scenery was beautiful. The 90-minute bus ride went by quickly. As soon as we got there, the children leapt off the bus and quickly organized into a chaotic mess (as we were known to do at my school). While the students ran around, the teachers stood huddled together, and tried to figure out what came next. Of course, I soon got bored of the chaos. Obviously, I decided, I would venture out on my own!
As a walked away from the crowd, I came across a cool contraption. It seemed to be a ride, of some sort or another. I waddled over in my bulky snowsuit and ski gear, not knowing exactly how to board the thing. That’s when I heard a surly voice yelling at me to get on the platform. I froze, because I didn’t understand what he was saying. The next thing I knew, I was flying into the air. A chairlift had come up behind me and lifted me up.
As I clambered on, I noticed there was a couple sitting next to me. “Umm…excuse me? How do I get off this chair?” It took them a moment to reply. My question must have been unexpected because they laughed, a bit concerned it seemed, from behind their scarves.
One replied, “Oh, well you just jump off at the top of the mountain!”
“Oh…okay! Also..I’m blind. Can you tell me when the top of the mountain is??”
I think they were unsure of how to react to that fact. I wonder what they would have said if they knew it was my first time skiing as well!
The lift rose higher and higher, and I really tried my best to enjoy the experience. To me, it just felt like a very slow, very calm roller coaster. The wind was blowing, causing the hinges of the contraption to creak; all I could see was white around me. Soon, we approached the top of the mountain. I felt a tap on my shoulder, which was the signal my fellow lifters and I agreed upon. I leapt off my mount with full gusto, because it was time to ski!
Well, I probably had too much gusto. I fell over immediately, but I was proud. That feeling of pride withered when I realized…I was fifteen-hundred feet above sea level. Again, I had a question for the strangers, “How do I get to the bottom?” And again, they laughed. It seemed my only option was the mid-level path that ran right under the lift I took a flying leap out of.
I took a breath, and pushed myself down the slope; my breathing came heavy, fear rising as I passed poles that stood in my way. I crouched down, thinking it would be safer. I was wrong. I only sped up. I huddled and closed my eyes, hoping that I would eventually slow down. Soon, I heard voices and crowds! I opened my eyes, and from the little I could see, I knew I was careening, perhaps at sixty miles an hour, towards the crowds waiting for the lift.
From my crouch, I fell to the right and rolled the rest of the way. That, my friends, was my first time skiing. What a blustery winters day it was.