Editor's note: This is the fourth year of the Rotary Club of Summit County/Summit Daily News short story contest for local high school students. This year's winners read their stories at the Rotary's Jan. 8 meeting and were awarded certificates and cash prizes for their achievement in creating an original work of short fiction. Today we feature the third-place winner, Jesse Reller.
Life can be tough but often having the chance to be outside is the fix needed for the best days and the worst. The outside time can be spent doing different activities but skiing is one of the most enjoyable. Tom often had bad days but his escape and relaxation often came from hanging at the local ski resort. He arrived early in the morning and met up with several of the ski patrollers for the first ride up. There is something pretty cool about first rides up the chairlifts. It can be very cold and crisp or sometimes mild temperatures with no hat needed. The view is pretty awesome and the snow sparkles with the first light of the morning. There is always talking with patrollers to pass the time as well.
Once up the hill, Tom may help patrol out with some duties or he might just hang with some of the folks in the patrol hut. After the area opens it is time to ski and spend time outside! The day might be spent skiing runs all day, meeting up with friends on the slopes or only skiing for a few hours and then heading home. On the days Tom stays all day he has a chance to feel good about what is happening in his life and often looks at things a bit differently. He totally enjoys the speed of skiing, the cold, the wind and the challenge of difficult terrain. Tom loves carving the slopes on his tele skis especially in the back bowls and in the sweet spots hidden in the trees.
Tom has had some super days on the hill. There was the day he first skied down the big bowl and jumped the huge rock midway down. He landed the jump but after a few turns his right ski binding released and onto his face he tumbled. He was angry at first but just had to laugh. There was the day his best friend skied with him and they skied nonstop for hours. They finally had to take a break to get some food and water. That hamburger was delicious. Actually, the best hamburger ever. Tom also had great days when his dad could join him. Tom's dad was a fantastic skier and the two of them headed for untracked snow as much as possible. On powder days, the untracked snow was the best for changing his attitude of all ski days.
The ski resort was not the only place to ski untracked powder though. Tom also looked forward to the days of skiing in the backcountry. He has enjoyed some great days spent hiking (on skis) into ski terrain from trailheads or parking lots. Skiers arrive early in the morning to ski in the backcountry. Once at the trailhead, skis are pulled out of the car, skins place on the base of the skis, boots and other equipment are checked and put on, and food and water packed. Beacons need to be checked and sunscreen put on then Tom and friends can start the ski day. Tom is not sure why touring seems to be so nice. It is often hard work moving across the snow depending on the condition but sometimes it is effortless. Tom has enjoyed treks into locals ski cabins where skiing in the nearby bowls and glades make the uphill effort so worth it. Tom remembers some days when he and a group of friends met up with others on snowmobiles. Skiing then became a fun day of being towed up the hill by snowmobiles and making turns down the side hills often in untracked terrain.
All of these ski adventures help Tom to keep up a good or better attitude on days that aren't so good. Somehow being outside in the cold and snowy weather doing an activity he loves is an incredibly positive feel for Tom. Tom hopes to always live in an area where he can look forward to attitude-changing days in the great outdoors.