Different People on the Ski Mountain


Liam Tenenbaum, Staff Writer

It’s the first day of holiday break. You’re fresh out of school, sporting a mindset full of holiday spirit and fun winter activities. Twenty minutes later, you get shoved into a cramped car, where we will be suffering together for the next six hours. As your mom complains about the temperature and raises the heat to an unbearable level, and your siblings so blatantly spill their snacks on you, you question your ability to withstand this for much longer. Looking outside at the lightly snow-covered hills, you long for freedom, but after a glance at the car’s navigation system, you realize this is just the beginning.

After a loud and confusing move into the hotel room, you try to sleep, with hopes of getting to tomorrow faster. “Today was bad,” you think, but tomorrow will be better.

The next day, finally on a pair of skis, you are excited for the upcoming day of snow adventures. As you slowly push off the chairlift, and spend a second to take in the scenery, THWOOP, a figure in all black zips past you, pushing you backwards into the mass of snow. Discombobulated, you look back to see what could have done this to you. Finally, you see it. Dressed in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, mounted to his beloved snowboard, GoPro in one hand, a Monster Energy in the other, you realize what just happened. The College Hotshot just paid you a painful visit, fresh out of a biology final exam that he most likely flunked. As the bomb in black leaves to wreak havoc down the slope, you collect your bearings and get back up. 

Not too long after, a small figure crosses your peripheral vision. A bird, a plane? No. Well, almost. The High Flyer, AKA your little cousin, just launched full speed off a jump, and is now hysterically crying in her yard sale of skis, poles, gloves, and half-eaten granola bar rudely shoved into her jacket pocket. You formulate a plan in your head, and after consulting with your favorite cousin, the two of you set off alone, desperate to avoid the loud and confusing environment of your family group.

The plan is going perfectly until you slowly come upon an alarmingly yellow sign, EXPERTS ONLY, the black print reads. After rereading it three times to finally accept your demise, you slowly glance at your cousin, who shares the same terrified glance. With no way back, and only one route down the hill, the rock-covered slope ahead has you shivering in your boots. Or maybe it’s the cold, but the chills only grow after seeing the newest addition to this super day. Dropping in with the grace of an Olympic ice skater, a tall and lean man comes into sight. Perfect, the Old Timer just made an appearance. With a wool hat and a protruding white beard, the Old Timer stands proudly in his navy blue jumpsuit, on top of his long wooden skis. Your jaw drops after seeing him carve down the seemingly impossible trail effortlessly. As you almost muster the courage to conquer the daring slope, another skier joins you at the top. Oh boy, this one’s a stinger.

Slowly coming into line with you, the infamous Joey, with the skill set of a beginner, but the courage of a polar bear. Known most famously for their gap in between their helmet and goggles, they also have their jacket unzipped, all while making frantic movements that only they would consider skiing. You realize somewhat proudly that you are no longer the worst skier on the slope. Knowing that the three of you are doomed, you ponder what your options are. Luckily, the Joey is one step ahead, and is already calling someone for help.

After five minutes of waiting, you are disappointed in the Joey’s failed attempt to call for help, until a band of snowmobiles circles around your small group. Ah, the Ski Patrol, the guardians of the mountain. Feeling a little stupid after being carried up the mountain on a sled, you venture out once again, yet this time making sure to look at trail signs. You find a trail suited for your difficulty, and start having fun for what seems like the first time on this trip. Suddenly, you see a large group of people huddling around an assortment of rails and snow jumps. The Park Rats have just joined the conversation, as they take turns flying off the mountain’s terrain park features. The group gives off a faint smell of weed, along with a trail of empty beer cans. You and your cousin frantically escape the scene, and start approaching the bottom of the hill.

With the bottom of the hill in sight, you cross your fingers for a safe return to the hotel. While everything starts to look up, BAM, a pack of kids appear out of nowhere. However, these aren’t just any kids, they are the Demon Kids, who terrorize the mountain with their uncontrollable speed and negligence for other skiers’ well being. Freshly charged from their latest Waffle  visit, their hyperness quickly sends the mountain into anarchy. Jacketed bodies drop around you, as you are stuck in the crossfire of a passionate snowball fight. Thanks to a couple of good throws, you narrowly escape a fatal encounter with the Demon Kids, and make it to the bottom where your family members are all waiting for you.

Some look happy, some cold, some with chocolate on their faces after eating a waffle. One more figure approaches, and it’s the Lodge Lubber. Finding comfort in the lodge and not once venturing out onto the slopes, the Lodge Lubber joins the group after a day of reading, fireplaces, hot chocolate, and overpriced ski resort food.

On the way back to the hotel, you mull over every encounter with the diverse population experiencing the winter joy. Briefly, you considered the fate of the Joey. Then, an epiphany hits; you are also one of the many different people. Which one? You think for a second, but then you know. You are The Survivor.