And We’re Off

And+We%27re+Off

Gwen Ramsey, Co-Editor

And we’re off

Silence washes over me as bitter cold stings my eyes 

eyelashes forming icicles at the tips

and crisp air fills my lungs

I let it out in a visible stream of breath

Lifting my head towards the sky

flakes seem to hang there for a second before falling to earth

I hear the low hum of the lift whisking me up toward the lightening horizon.

 

At the start  

nerves start to kick in

Deep breath 

I’m gonna choke

“Inspection is open!”

Following coach

Hill opens up in front of me 

and I’m face to face with a yeti ready to tear me apart

Steep

Ice

Speed

Panic

I need to focus 

Focus on my line, my tactics, my skill

I’ll be fine, 

I’m not convinced.

 

Poised in the start,

poles over the wand, I glance out across the valley 

The seconds crawl by

counting down on the monitor to my right

6s morph into 5s into 4s

Sun peers over the vista

washing warm light across the snow-covered peaks

Crystals glisten and sparkle across the windswept slope

Bliss

My cheeks are warm and I smile before kicking out of the start 

Embarking on the most terrifying trip yet 

down the back of the yeti.

 

Go time

Skate push skate 

Grabbing a tuck I start to feel the wind rush over my back

Edges slice deep into the surface in smooth arcs

a purpose to uphold.

Going over the first roller my skis leave the ground

We planned for this

Land, edge, turn

Not bad

Coming off the steeps into the flats

Air, all I feel is air 

but I can’t breath

Approaching the final pitch

my skis chatter as my quads struggle to hold on

Gritting my teeth I fly over one more jump,

land and cross the line in a frenzied blur of motion.

 

Embracing my mom in my arms

we breathe out, fear draining from our bodies

in the form of tears in mom’s eyes

and for me, a relieved chuckle,

“That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”