On October 3rd, she asked me what day it was, and on October 4th, she went skiing.
Words: Kelly Balfanz
It’s 4:30 A.M. and my alarm goes off although it feels as if I hardly slept. I was up until midnight the night before studying for accounting. It’s October 4th and my roommates and I are not quite ready to turn the heat on yet. I roll out of bed wearing the largest sweatshirt I own to keep warm. I brush my teeth, feed my cat, throw on my ski pants and head down stairs to brew some coffee to put in a thermos. Downstairs a few roommates are also roaming around at five in the morning which can only mean one thing. It’s ski season.
We pack our skis, boots, poles and other belongings in the car and hit the road. On the way out of town, we stop at the carnage house, a crew of boys who are also feeling giddy about ski season and are coming on this morning adventure with us. We wait for the boys to pack up their stuff and begin the drive in hopes of snow at Fairy Lake, a road that is to say the least, not comfortable to drive in the dark. As we cruise up the windy road we listen to a variety of music ranging from the Rolling Stones to Britney Spears. We excitedly watched as the rain turns to slush, turns to wet snow, and finally turns to snow that actually sticks to the ground.
We arrive at the Fairy Lake parking lot and everyone steps out of the car crunching into two-three inches of fresh snow. Rae instantly rolls the first snowball of the season and it smacks me in the back. I tackle Kenzie in the snow and she threatens to white-wash me. This is something in a couple months I will be tired of being threatened with, but as of right now it sounds like the most pleasing threat in the world. The laughs and smiles at the sight of the first snow of the year gave me butterflies.
We all boot-up, throw our headlamps on and begin the climb. To the top of Sacajawea Peak, it is a little less than two miles. Huffing and puffing we stop for a little break only to almost get blown over by the wind. Low visibility and the darkness of the morning do not allow us to see the top of the peak that we are headed towards. One thing is for sure, there is snow on the ground. Although it is mostly a light dusting on the rocks it is hoped that we will be able to toss our skis on our feet and slide down this hill we are climbing up.
We arrive at the skiable part of the mountain and Nash sarcastically shouts, “My friends are the worst I could have been playing video games this morning before school!” Although we are mostly seeing rocks, we all have spotted sections of snow that will allow for a few turns. We hike up, everyone throws their helmets and goggles on and talks about how comforting it is to have goggles on their face again. We all put our skis on and begin our first descent of the season. I can hear the rocks below taking chunks out of my skis, but it is hard to care because I am in fact sliding down snow; the exact thing that I set out to do October 4th at 4:30 in the morning.
We arrive back in the parking lot and Kenzie pulls out a single IPA beer; the first beer of ski season. We pass it around, everyone takes a sip, and the vibes are high. We head back to town and stop at Granny’s Doughnuts to reward ourselves for having the first best day of the season. The race is on and the crew is full send. I am looking forward to a lot more 4:30 A.M. mornings in the freezing cold with my favorite people in the world.