I kicked out my right foot, sending a thrilling spray of snow through the air. I gracefully glided my left foot so my skis tips were parallel, bringing my downhill flight to a halt.
Lifting my goggles, I gazed at the beauty of the Colorado Rockies stretched out beyond my sight. The snow-capped mountains on the chiseled ranges were mesmerizing as I relaxed on my ski poles. It was so breathtaking and serene….
“Brittney Ann, slow down!”
“Daddy, I can’t stop!”
“Look at Brittney Daddy, she’s gonna fall!”
“Both of you STOP!”
I looked uphill at the chaos flying toward me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or panic at the sight.
Two little girls were struggling to stay on their skis as their dad attempted to cut them off. Their colors were blinding. Orange bibs, orange toboggans, orange gloves, orange goggles…this was one dad who didn’t want to lose track of his kids.
“Watch out Daddy! Move!”
The littlest one went tumbling head over heels, her sister following suite. Dad was the last to go down. The orange-ness disappeared in clouds of white.
I suppressed my giggles as I called, “Is everyone alright?”
An orange hand waved at me through the settling snow. “We’re fine- it’s all powder!”
Throughout the next few days, the ”Orange Brigade” gained quite a cautionary reputation on the slopes. The mountainside café was buzzing with the latest stories as I settled in at a large round table with my family. Hot soup warmed me as I tried not to choke at the anecdotes being told at a nearby table.
“None of them have ever been on skis before,” a guy was saying to his friends, “They were plowing all over the mountain this morning, nearly taking out a ski school when they accidental went down a Blue. You shoulda heard them little girls screaming! They were having a blast though.”
“I gotta tell you this,” a girl at the same table chimed in. “I was in the mountainside store getting new goggles when they came tromping in, covered from head to toe with snow. One of the little girls was crying. He bought her a new pair of pants and I figured out from the conversation that she didn’t quite make it to the restroom in time.”
“Maybe that’s why I heard him walking down the trail to the parking lot, howling, “Little girls for sale, little girls for sale!”
Finishing off the hot soup, my family and I prepared to hit the slopes again, straightening our faces as we passed the Orange Brigade dragging into the café for a late lunch. The only thing not orange about them today was their faces. I guessed no one told them that you do indeed need sunscreen, even in 20-degree temperatures.
I held both poles in one hand as I glided down the slope ahead of the rest of my crew on our last run of the day. Camera in my other hand, I turned 180 degrees to face uphill. “Smile!”
I snapped the picture and my family continued past me as I struggled with my backpack zipper.
“Excuse me, excuse me!”
Looking uphill, I could see the Orange Brigade skiing toward me. Somehow, they all managed to stop in unison.
“Do you think you could take our picture and email it to us?”
“Sure, no problem.” Perfect for our trip album too.
I gulped when they started downhill, three sets of ski tips pointing straight at me. I breathed a prayer of thanks when they tumbled to a stop just inches from me.
“Sorry about that,” the dad said as he awkwardly balanced himself. “Do you have something you can write down my email address with?”
“Uh, I don’t…wait I can use my cell phone.” Pulling it out, I quickly added the info to my notes.
The dad puffed a sigh of relief. “Thanks so much. We dropped our camera from the lift the first day, and my cell, uh, well it’s gone too.”
“No problem. Glad you guys enjoyed skiing and no one had any serious injuries.”
“A miracle,” the dad muttered before giving his troops their marching orders. “Okay girls, this is our last run. Let’s make that goal of getting all the way down without anybody falling.”
“Daddy, I gotta go to the bathroom!”
I snapped one last picture as the Orange Brigade went careening, topsy-turvy down the side of the Colorado Rocky Mountain.
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