Ellie’s ‘The Art of Words’

March 1, 2009

Gonzo Piece: First Time Snowboarder!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ellieglen @ 12:08 am

NOTE: This piece was written for my feature writing class. Our assignment was to do something we’ve never done before. We were experimenting with Hunter S. Thompson’s style of the Gonzo piece. Luckily my teacher didn’t make us join Hell’s Angels, or anything that extreme!  Here it is: 

                                    First Time Snowboarder

I reluctantly decided to go snowboarding but fears arose in my mind immediately. On the way up to the mountain I had hoped that somehow the mountain would be closed and we were forced to go home. Everything was fine. There was even a fresh patch of snow and we found a good parking space in the front of the lot. I took a deep breath.

            There I was in borrowed snow clothes, the only thing I was wearing that was my own were my undergarments and jacket. I picked up the snowboard, which wasn’t mine and started to face my fears.

            I am from California, which has some really good mountains for skiing, but I have barely been to the snow. The mountains in California are a long distance and one would have to be dedicated to their beloved sport. I have never met skiing or snowboarding so I never had a strong desire to partake in the journey.

            However, now in Ashland, the drive to the mountain is about a half hour and the expenses doesn’t add up to a monstrous amount. The lift ticket is very cheap if you go to the bunny slope and that was the only slope I planned to do.

            I climbed up the mountain dressed in my snow gear and I found myself getting out of breath just by walking to the lift. I was terrified about what was to come.

            I went with my boyfriend, Clark, who has been snowboarding for two years and works at Mount Ashland for every winter season. He felt perfectly fine because for him this was just another day.    

            I was finally outside the lift and was already having trouble attaching my boots to my snowboard. After help from Clark, I hobbled over to the lift and looked helplessly at the lift attendant. The chair quickly came my way and I froze. Clark grabbed my arm and forced me on the chair. I looked behind myself as the ski attendant became distant.

            I tried not to look down, I finally remember my small fear of heights and started to complain. I yelled at Clark for brining me here and told him I did not want to get off the lift.

            I accidentally looked down and saw how high up we were. I felt like someone’s hand was on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. I started to then bite my fingernails as I saw our final destination approaching.

            I had no idea how to get off the lift! I’ve never done this before! Clark instructed me to face the snowboard to the hill and just slide down. He told me I would probably fall.

            I aimed the snowboard for the hill, balanced my boots on top and just slid down. Well, mostly, I fell.

            I made it down and I stumbled over to the side so no one would fall on top of me. I then secured my other boot to the board and was ready to do my first run. I listened to Clark’s instructions but he talked very quickly and then made his way down. I was supposed to follow him but I didn’t even know what he said.

            I aimed my board and I gulped very deeply and hoped for the best. I was in motion for about a few seconds when I felt like I was going way too fast. I was afraid of losing control so I put down my hands and forced myself to fall in the snow.

            I sat there for a few moments trying to get up but whenever I tried to pull myself up, my lower half stayed on the ground. The board was hard to control and I was down in the snow for about five minutes. I finally found courage and lifted myself up, after many attempts.

            I aimed the board again, bended my knees slightly and took off. I was boarding for about a few more seconds when I made myself fall again. I spent the whole time on the bunny slope in motion for a few minutes and forcing myself to fall. Clark had already completed three runs while I was still on my first.

            I finally made it back to the lift where Clark was waiting for me. I told him that I didn’t want to do it again but he talked me into going on the lift. I sat back down on the lift but this time I didn’t gulp a lot. I didn’t have to bite my nails and I wasn’t afraid that I was going to fall off. I didn’t yell at Clark, this time I was telling myself not to fall.

            I got off the lift smoothly and I slid off with only a tiny fall at the end. Clark congratulated me and I smiled. I was ready to go again.

            Standing on the edge I stared at the end of the mountain and I took a deep breath. I glided down and was amazed that I hadn’t fallen yet. I was sliding down for almost half a minute. I did fall to the ground and my head was faced down in the snow. Somehow, I had fallen forward and I didn’t even know how I did that.

            I kept lifting myself up even though all I wanted to do was lay back into the snow and give up.  I kept going but I went at my own pace and saw everyone speed past me. Children that were as tall as my knee would ski right in front of me and not fall.

            At some point, during one of my runs, I tried to aim away from the orange net fence but I didn’t succeed.  I fell on top of the net as the guy who worked for ski patrol was taking it down. I got up and he pulled me away from it so I wouldn’t run into it again.

            Clark took off to ski at a different slope that could challenge him. I was left alone at the bunny slope. As I was boarding down, I hadn’t fallen yet and my heart was beating fast. I then saw this woman sitting on the ground and I screamed, “MOVE! I CAN’T STOP!”

            She looked up at me with confusion and I forced myself to fall so I wouldn’t touch her. She was with another woman and a man, as I apologized they simply laughed and forgave me. During the same run I ran into a little boy and his skis. I looked at my unmarked hands, back at him, and he took off down the mountain. I gulped and made my way down the mountain back to the lift.

            As the sun went down, I saw Clark in the far distance and I knew that the mountain was closing for the day. I looked behind myself and saw how small the bunny slope actually looked. I took off my boots and put the board back in the car and smiled as I sat in the front seat, waiting to finally go home..

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