When Colby sent out the email that they were renting out Lost Valley Mountain for a night of skiing, I immediately signed up. I’m not an avid skier, in fact, I’m far from it — I’ve only skied once in my life before that Saturday night — but I had been wanting to try it again. What better way to do it than on Colby’s dime?
I recruited my friend Leela (also practically a first-time skier), gathered the ski clothes I had bought for my spring break trip last year, and borrowed my roommate’s helmet in the hopes of at least looking like I knew what I was doing. Because the fact of the matter is that I am awful at skiing.
Let me set the scene: after a whopping two rides down the bunny slope, which at Lost Valley is actually a hill that is flatter than the one my Hillside dorm sits atop, Leela and I decided to tackle a green run. We made our way to the lift for said green run and about halfway up the lift, I realized that we are being taken up quite a ways from the base of the mountain. Maybe I am just awful at reading maps meant to be so simple an animal could probably follow them, but I did not realize that the green we were going was the top of the mountain.
Before anyone tried to tell me off about how I must have been on the wrong lift because greens are closer to the base of the mountain, I knew for a fact that we were heading towards a green. The big support poles for the lift were painted green, the lifties confirmed we were headed towards an “easy” run, and the map at the top of the mountain showed that our location was the start of one of the green runs. So no, I was not on the wrong lift, but I wish that I was, because maybe starting off on the wrong run, to begin with, would have saved some of the embarrassment.
As I realized where I was about to be dropped off, I tried to calm myself down by remembering what I had done at Sugarloaf almost a year prior.
“French fry to go, pizza to stop” was the mantra repeating in my head, and I scooted forward in my chair as I prepped to ski off and wait for Leela to reach the top, too. Only, instead of skiing off, I immediately fell. But no worries! I got up, made my way to the map, and then looked around to see two black diamond runs sandwiching a little green, which made my heart basically stop beating.
It was like I had lost my ability to walk, let alone ski. I was frozen in place and didn’t dare move unless I wanted to take a tumble down the mountain. It is probably important to note that at this point I also remembered that I don’t know how to stop. In theory, yes, I know that to stop I need to pizza, but in execution, I am incapable of doing it. Last time I just…crashed or flung myself to the ground or let inertia ride itself out until I gracefully slowed to a complete stop. At this point, I didn’t know what to do, until I saw Leela take the 20 seconds of courage she needed to start her descent, which I almost attempted after her and then chickened out at the last second. If my brothers read this, I’m sure they will think of the many board games I quit because I was losing, and you know what, William and Jack, I think it is perfectly acceptable to quit before I get knocked down!
And thus, my quitting head held high, I took off my skis and began my descent on foot. Leela stayed on her skis, ever the trooper, until we realized we had ventured off the green and onto a blue. We stuck to the sides and avoided skiers zooming past us until the bindings of one of Leela’s skis got messed up and we both were left with no other way down than by walking.
Some workers saw us and stopped to make sure we were okay and kindly directed us to the fastest way down the mountain we were, at this point, desperate to get off of: a black diamond. It had a jump and from my memory of what the bottoms of the runs looked like from the lodge, was incredibly steep. But we needed to get off the slopes and out of our ski boots, so we thanked the workers and side-stepped down until it got too slippery to do so. My solution was to butt-slide down, which proved to be the most fun part of the entire run and almost made up for the glove I hadn’t realized I lost until falling out of the lift, the key word here being almost.
In the end, we both made it safely back to the rental area and returned our gear, getting Diet Coke and iced tea to chill before the buses back to campus were ready to be boarded. As we sat and sipped, I watched the other skiers make their way up and down the runs with ease and skill, both of which I most certainly did not embody on my singular journey down. I thought back to my first time at Sugarloaf and how the idea of skiing had been exciting enough to make up for my lack of skill and difficulty grasping it, and I realized that it still did. I wasn’t a good skier, not even close, but I didn’t really mind. I was just glad to have made a new memory with an amazing friend that I could share with my family back home. Sure, the experience led to the conclusion that my cowboy boots won’t be getting swapped for ski boots very often, but I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. And hey, I even got some good iced tea out of it.
~ Kathryn Stone ’26
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