Page 59 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
P. 59

A Short Story by Lisa Moore
Part I
4:02 pm
Darlene, 14, high school freshman
puffy billowy and the pines with their arms open wide reaching up up to meet the sun as it descends just like I do . . .
There’s the side trail that I don’t usually take but since it’s so wonderfully empty I turn in and suddenly darkness shade patterns tunnel slow down trees and amazing how quiet and how dark when my ski hits something and I lose my balance for a moment then regain it and
no, no oh no
Part II
4:14 pm
Paul, 23, EMT and ski patrol employee
This is the time of day I love most. The sun has just set and the lights are on. It’s still about 20 degrees. Tonight, the sky is on fire. I pause for a moment just to take it all in. It’s amazingly quiet. I can actually hear the music in the lodge. On Thursdays, I work from 3 until close, with a dinner break from 5 to 5:30. I love my job although I might go to school to become a physician’s assistant. The pay would sure be better.
I learned to ski on this mountain when I was in fifth grade, and I’ve been skiing it ever since. I was on the middle and high school alpine teams. Then I went to college to major in biology and didn’t ski much for a couple of years. Then, the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I took the course to become a patroller. I found my niche. I’ll probably always be a patroller in the winters. It combines passion with spending money, a good mix.
I slowly glide down the mountain, taking in the view. I’m also looking for anything out of the ordinary. On Thursdays, there’s a lull between the daytime rush
of little kids and the night-timers who show up after work. There are three of us on my team. We take turns staying up on West Ridge and patrolling the trails.
I’d rather patrol than sit in the station, but that’s true for all of us. We haven’t had an accident or injury in nearly a week which is awesome. It’s funny having a job where if nothing happens, it’s good.
That’s when I spot a flash of pink camouflage in the woods. At first I think maybe someone lost a jacket. I ski closer and see a skier down. As I enter the side trail, I’m surprised at the darkness. I switch on my headlamp. I see a girl face down in the snow. Her left ski is about six feet above her on the trail. It’s really
What I love most is when the sun sets and the lights come on and I’ve planned it exactly, exactly the right fifteen minutes that you can see the sun hit the trees on the horizon and then, you can actually see the red ball move, watch it set, until it slivers and disappears, leaving a bright orange red blue white painting in its wake. But that’s only one of the reasons I love skiing. I love every single trail, every chair on every lift, every cubby in the lodge. I love it that I learned to ski here when I was in fifth grade because our school district makes it free. I mean completely free. And skiing isn’t cheap, my father constantly reminds me. For a bunch of Wednesdays, we got on a bus and they brought us here and taught us to ski. I loved it the minute I first went down that bunny slope. Now I’m hooked.
Now, I’m here every Thursday and whenever it’s free (not enough, but my Uncle Tony has a Jeep and there are free Jeep days). I save $300 in the summers and buy a pass that lets me ski every week—it’s called Thunder Thursdays—and because I’m a regular and a local, they even let me in when it’s “blacked out” during the peak holiday times. They’re not supposed to do that, but I know most of the people who work in the ticket booths, and I really don’t feel like I’m cheating anybody. Mostly, like today, I’m here by myself. I prefer it that way because I can do exactly what I want to do without having to coordinate with anyone else. Except my dad, of course, he picks me up at 9 when it closes, but today he’s picking me up at 4:30 because we’re having dinner with my Nanna. That means I only get to ski for about two hours, so I’m getting as much in as I can.
Today, I’ve planned my last run perfectly, planned
my route, my moves, my speeds, and my jumps. Even a mogul or two, and maybe just that one trail in
the woods that the tourists don’t know about. I’m
on Carpe Diem and decide to cross over to Lower Pennesseewassee, my favorite, since this will be my last run. The sun hits the tree line. The mountain is nearly empty. That’s strange for a Thursday, but maybe it’s because it’s still early.
For me, skiing is like flying downhill, and it’s cold and warm and so freedom dancing curving owning anticipating blindingly beautiful swoosh turn fast faster fastest sun setting red orange and clouds all 59

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