Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: Snow Cat
By Melinda Melton
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My parents did the best they could raising three children on my daddy’s salary, so there were never any family vacations, except camping at the lake, which was great fun, so when my husband’s family planned a ski trip to Colorado and invited us to go, I jumped at the chance.
During the long car ride, we filled the time by telling stories. When we rounded the bend from the winding road I was shocked into silence. The mountain view took my breath away. They towered above us, covered with brilliant white snow. A winter wonderland I’d only seen in books.
When we finally reached our destination, I saw the anticipation in their eyes. The next day, I enrolled in ski school where I slipped and fell down the bunny slope all day but had the wedge perfected by the end of class. I was exhausted and my legs felt like wet noodles. The lounge with the huge rock fire place and glowing fire called my name.
Everyone talked with excitement about their day and couldn’t wait until we could night ski. Night ski? I wondered how we would be able to see at night.
“When we ski tomorrow night, watch out for the Snow Cats.” My Father-In-Law said with a big smile.
“Snow Cats?” I asked.
“You’ll see, just be careful” he said with a chuckle.
I couldn’t sleep that night. My mind filled with images of snow cats. What would I do if I encountered one? Scream my bloody head off until I could scream no more?
The next day we explored the little shops but dusk was fast approaching. I tried to come up with an excuse not to go but the family wouldn’t hear of it.
We put on our ski gear and headed up the mountain in the Gondola. While admiring the beauty, I peered through the trees, looking for snow cats as we glided up to the ski lift.
“Are you ready sweetheart?” My husband lovingly inquired.
“I’m ready as I’ll ever be.”
We reached the top and the family one by one let out a loud “Woo Hoo!” as they pointed their ski tips downward and took off.
I was not as enthusiastic as they were and I slowly skied down in long winding arcs. My husband adjusted his cowboy hat, grinned and said, “See you at the bottom!”.
All alone, my heart stuck in my throat. My legs wobbled and threatened to give out at any moment. My ears tuned to the surrounding sounds. I stopped to catch my breath and admired the view. Surrounded by pine trees laced with snow, the gentle falling snowflakes and the glowing lights that marked the slope, I understood why the family had been so eager to night ski. The good Lord is an amazing artist.
I suddenly remembered the snow cats! A little quicker now, I began to ski toward my husband, a little spec at the bottom of the slope.
As I skied down, I glanced from side to side through the trees, looked around for paw prints and listened for growls. My mind raced with images of being attacked. My senses went into overdrive.
I came to a section where ski trails merged and I stopped again for another rest. I turned around and surveyed the slope. I skied down that high slope, I thought? The bunny slope hadn’t prepared me for that obstacle. I couldn’t believe I accomplished that on my own.
Beyond the trees was a sound I didn’t recognize. Could that be a cat, I wondered? My heart pounded as I continued down the slope, closer and closer to the sound.
Suddenly I stopped. I heard a loud growling on the other side of the trees. My heart pounded, my breath quickened. There was a snow cat, except it wasn’t the cat my over active imagination conjured up. It was a Snow CAT, a huge machine that groomed the slopes.
Laughing, I pointed my ski tips downward and with confidence finished my ski run feeling proud that I conquered my fears.
*Based on true events
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