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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)

TITLE: Mountain
By Fred Taylor


I was 33 years old when I started snowboarding. Never skied before in my life and here I am learning an ďextremeĒ sport after the gray hairs appeared. Iím not sure what compelled me to strap my feet to a piece of wood and careen down a mountain. Iím afraid of heights and I know how impatient my buddy becomes when teaching novices athletic skills. I guess with the beginning of a new season of my life, I wanted some adventure. We would also be driving from Missouri to Lake Tahoe, and I love road trips. Whatever it was, it overwhelmed my fear of falling off a ski lift, breaking both legs or being eaten by an insomniac bear.

Midway through my second day, as we rode the lift back to the top, it started snowing like crazy. By now, I was able to make it down the mountain without falling too much and could gather a little speed, but I had another problem. Iím somewhat of a tightwad and spent the least amount of money I could on goggles. So Iím on this mountain, afraid of heights, broken bones and bears, in a snowstorm and I canít see a doggone thing. My cheap goggles may as well have been a blindfold because they were terminally fogged. I resorted to my sunglasses and that was no better so I gave up and went without goggles the rest of day.

The storm got nastier as the day wore on. I was tired, uncomfortable, blind, sore and a little scared still, but my buddy was tireless and I couldnít let him know that I couldnít keep up. Finally, it started to get dark and the lifts closed leaving a double black diamond run or a ride on the lift as the only way down. I chose the lift. When my friend finally got back down the mountain, he affirmed my choice.

The ride back to the hotel was just as harrowing as the day on the mountain. The storm was fierce. I couldnít see ten feet in front of me and couldnít help but have visions of driving off the side of the mountain not to be found until spring, probably by a bear. But we finally made it to the hotel. The storm dropped several feet of snow in the Lake Tahoe area and closed the interstate for two days.

Stubborn, we took a two and a half hour detour through yet another blizzard to get to another mountain the next day. No one can say we werenít determined. Stupid, maybe, but determined. And the day to come proved worth the effort.

The storm had dumped a fresh three feet of snow on this mountain and not everyone was as resolute as we to get there, so we had thousands of acres of fresh snow to play in, almost to ourselves. This had to be snowboarding Shangri-La. There was a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe from the top of the mountain. There was stillness and quiet amplified by the magnificence and purity of the snow reflecting the sunshine that made its appearance. The fear of heights, broken bones and bears were far away.

We still had work to do however. We had to make the most of this winter paradise while we could, so we strapped on our boards and zipped down the mountain. Even I zipped. Although I didnít feel like a beginner anymore, I knew I would still crash. But I also knew that when crashed, it would be a soft landing in deep snow, hurting nothing more than my pride.

That was three years ago and as mentioned, the dawn of a new season of life. It seemed to be the birth of a new adventure that I had some trepidation about, yet one that I was eager to begin. I learned pretty quickly and began to get comfortable with my new environment.

Now the storms are here. Iím afraid of things a lot more serious than falling off a ski lift, breaking bones or being bear dinner. Still, I know that on the other side of the storm is a Mountain with a beautiful view. I know there is peace that transcends all understanding. There is a God who will let me crash, maybe even hard enough to destroy my pride. But landing will be soft in His arms.

ďLord, You are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble.Ē Ė Jeremiah 16:19 Ė NLT

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This article has been read 573 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/21/05
You have a very witty writing style, that engaged me to the very end. Good job.
Nina Phillips11/21/05
Yeah I really liked the thought of starting a new adventure..I'd like to parachute (LOL) I enjoyed the whit. God bless ya, littlelight
terri tiffany11/22/05
I also liked your writing style. It flowed nicely and made me think. Good writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 11/22/05
THe Truth? I'm a hard to please Reader...so I chuckled at the wit about insomnic bears in the first para. then got bogged down...and read the last para. which was beautiful. Liked the beginning and the end...but got bored inbetween. Could be me as a Reader, or could be you as a writer? I don't know. But thank you for sharing.
Helen Harris11/25/05
An Enjoying and Excellent write. Thanks for sharing. Blessing, Helen