On the Slopes

You adjust your hat and lower your goggles, pausing for a moment in case anyone is looking your way. There’s no doubt about it: you look great today. The $500 parka was definitely worth it. No harm in showing it off before you push down the hill for your first run. The snow looks good, though maybe a little icy at the top. It won’t be a problem for you; this is a warm up. Most of your day will be spent on the sheer descent of the advanced slope. It's a challenging hill, maybe even risky. But you don't ski because it's safe. You ski because it's a thrill.

And because you look awesome.

Beside you a dad coaches his kid before accompanying him down the hill. A pretty young woman laughs nervously as she snowplows alongside her ski instructor, clearly enjoying his attention. At the bottom of the hill, a line of yellow-helmeted preschoolers follow a teacher around like ducklings.

You inhale a deep lungful of cold mountain air. Invigorated, you push off.

It’s a nice, easy run, and you feel your muscles loosening up after sitting on the lift. You're about halfway down the course when you hear a noise like a siren advancing from behind you.


A blur of orange and brown shoots past you, hurtling straight down the mountainside like a rocket-propelled lunatic. From the timbre of the screams, you’re guessing it’s a girl. Her skis are in a rough V, like a slice of pizza, indicating that someone explained the concept of snowplowing before pushing her off the hill. Clearly, it’s not working for her.

“PIZZA! PIZZA! Mommieeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Her cries trail behind her as she plows down the hill and disappears into the crowds at its foot. The ducklings rustle in alarm, families scatter, a guy pushes his girlfriend out of the way. The wayward skier drags to a stop inches short of the cement staircase leading down to the chalet.

You finish your run and immediately head for the advanced hill. The beginner run is way too risky for your tastes today.