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Ski Pass

Josie Munson'24

Back home in Colorado my family goes up to the mountains to go skiing every weekend where my best friend and her family go too. We have been skiing together for over 6 years and we love to ski everything on the mountain from chutes and moguls to park and groomers. One weekend in the spring we were up in the mountains and it was just an average day with powder pockets here and there and I had just gotten new powder skis so I was yearning to put them to the test. As we were going up one of the main lifts, we spotted a run without any people except a father and son shredding the pow. My friend and I instantly looked at eachother, and we both knew we had to take that run. We got off the lift, went to the start of the run, and were about to bomb down the hill when a red rope, strung across the entrance, stopped us. We were confused to see the run closed because of the two people we saw going down earlier. I still really wanted to ski down it so I went to the tree line and went in where there wasn’t a red rope, skied down a little, then came back out onto the powder run. I thought I had outsmarted the system because we weren’t technically going under the rope and my friend thought it was genius. We are gliding down in the powder whooping and hollering when we spot a red jacket at the bottom of the run. Anyone wearing a red jacket with a white cross and black pants is part of ski patrol and they are the nicest workers on the mountain, unless you are doing something illegal. I tell my friend to act natural and just try to ski past him without eye contact, now let's just say she wasn’t the best at taking instruction. He waves us both over to him and I'm thinking what he could want, we didn’t go under any ropes nor were we going super fast. The patrol asked if we saw the red rope at the top of the run and we said “no, we were skiing through the trees and saw this run”, hoping that he would believe us and just let us off with a warning but he wasn’t having it. He asked for our ski passes along with our names and ages. We kept apologizing and saying we wouldn’t do it again if he’d just let us go with a warning. He kept shaking his head telling us what we did was illegal and dangerous because it was an avalanche danger zone. He told us that he would be confiscating our passes and he would alert our parents of our trespass with more information. This was the moment that struck me that we really did something bad and I asked myself, “was this really worth it?”. Was one, singular, short powder run worth losing my ski pass for the rest of the season? My friend and I don’t speak until we reach one of our favorite tree runs, where we go and sit and I say, “We’re dead”. The tree run was, ironically, named ‘Forget about it’, but we couldn’t just forget about it, we had to go home and tell our parents about what happened and then we would probably get grounded which never happens. 20 minutes later and we are still sitting in the trees shocked and bawling our eyes out. It’s almost 3:30 and that's when the lifts start to close which also means we should probably head down to where we know our parents après ski and wait for us. I’ve never skied with such lack of effort, regret, and foggy goggles. We are nearing the bottom and we see our parents laughing and having a good time in their usual spot. They welcomed us with big smiles and I smiled back but I felt so guilty. My friend and I just decided to spill all that had happened, the tempting powder run, the red rope, and the ski patrol. The mood changed dramatically, I swear it dropped 20 degrees, and it felt like I was alone. That night my dad got a call from what I assumed was the ski patrol because he looked right at me with a ‘are you kidding me?’ expression. I just sat there looking down waiting for him to hang up and when he did he mumbled something under his breath then said “wake up tomorrow at 4 am, we have an avalanche safety class to go to and don’t wear your ski stuff” then went upstairs to bed. My pass was suspended and put on record, and just to be clear, it wasn’t worth it. This experience taught me even when it seems like fun and a good idea in the moment, I should think ahead about how it might end and if my actions have consequences if they are worth it.

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