The Big Red Gondola

        Growing up as a skier, I was very comfortable on mountains, big and small. I remember going to some larger ski areas when I was young, always hoping to be able to go off on my own, just me and the skies so I could enjoy the sport. To my dismay I always had my parents skiing near me telling me which trail to take, or to, SLOW DOWN! Occasionally, I would get so caught up with skiing, I would take a sharp turn, that my parents missed. Then I would find myself alone at the bottom of a trail no where near my mom and dad. Sometimes, this would be intimidating, I never liked riding the chairlift with people I didn't know. However, as soon as I got to the top of the trail once again, I would regain my confidence and no longer worry. My parents, on the other hand, never stopped worrying.
        I usually always needed to wait for my parents at trail intersections, this was because they wanted to make sure they knew where I was. It wasn't that I was better than them, I just slipped through the crowds and down the side trails, while they were mindful of the people around them. Waiting always drove me crazy, I hated to get out of my rhythm and then have to try and regain it again. Eventually, as I got a little older, I could just meet them at the lodge.
       I remember the first time I skied a big mountain on my own, I left my dad in the lodge and I went out into the crowed of people to get on the gondola. I rode it to a certain point then skied down a few trails to a different lodge, on a different part of the mountain. I then proceeded to up that chairlift, then ski down to another lodge. This continued a couple of times until I reached the lodge on the far side of the mountain, where I took a lift to the summit. Now the summit was all black diamonds and double black diamonds. To a novice skier this would mean certain terror, as these trail ratings were reserved for "experts only". However, I hd been skiing expert trails for years at that point, and was not the least bit worried. What I was worried about was how to get back to the lodge where my dad was. The lodge was now about forty five minutes of skiing away, including lift rides. Since I was at the summit I decided to take a little hike up to an overlook where I saw the big red gondola, I had originally gone up, far in the distance. I decided not to ask the ski patrol, like many people would have. No, I thought the most logical thing to do would be to take the hardest, steepest, iciest trail, since it was the one that appeared to go in the right direction, and that's what I did. This trail really didn't do much, any of the easier, and safer trails would have dumped me out in the same spot, but regardless, I was closer to where I needed to be. 
        After some more skiing in the general direction I needed to go in, I found myself on a familiar trail. I did it. I was so pleased with myself, my first time skiing out alone and I had conquered difficult terrain, and solved my own problems without the help of ski patrol. However, when I arrived at the lodge and made my way over to the table where my gear was, I saw my dad, he was not pleased.  He said he wasn't so worried that I had gotten hurt, as he was that I had gotten lost and not been able to find a way back. I told him this story I'm telling you, about the summit and finding the big red gondola, and he seemed proud. This was the first time I had ever gone out alone and no surprise, I got lost. What was really impressive was I was able to find my way back in a calm manner. I guess this was what I had always hoped for. Going off on my own, just me and the skies, enjoying the sport.

Bryce Moody '16