Being an international student means not being able to visit home for the small breaks such as the Thanksgiving Break we get yearly. Most of us choose to spend it in Amherst or take it as an opportunity to travel within the USA. So, when the time came to figure out what we were going to do, we realized that none of my friends and I had gone skiing. For as long as I can remember, skiing has held spot number three on my bucket list. Hence, we made the obvious decision to attempt to ski during our Thanksgiving Break in Keystone, Colorado. And as of this moment, while I write this article, I can officially say that I have skied, so here’s my experience!
Our first stop was to get ski gear since none of us had any clue on what to get, and how things were supposed to get. So, we made the smart decision to leave that up to the professionals at a local ski rental shop. We got fitted for our helmets, shoes, and skis, and we finally made our way to the River Run Ski Village in Keystone. The ski village had cute cafes, bars, and restaurants, along with multiple ski lifts, like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie. Combine all of that, along with the background of the mighty snow-capped Rocky Mountains, left me quiet in awe of it all. After the initial shock wore off, I was excited and ready to take on whatever the day was going to bring.
My first challenge of the day was walking in the boots from the car park to the ski lifts. The boots are heavy and clunky, it felt like I was walking around with bricks attached to my ankles. Once we made our way to the ski lifts, getting on the gondola was surprisingly tricky while trying to maintain balance and holding onto our skis and poles. The gondola ride up the mountain was beautiful at an elevation of approximately 11,000 ft. The air as soon as we got off the gondola was crisp and thin, making it evident that it was going to be a little hard to breathe. Once we figured out how to get our boots attached to our skis, we started trying to move and maneuver ourselves. There was a learning area that was relatively flat which allowed us to first get used to the skis. It took us about 40 minutes to finally feel brave enough to start trying to ski on the slopes. There were multiple slopes to choose from, a lot of them being beginner friendly. I tried to use the advice given to me by friends prior to the trip, however, I think no amount of advice can ever stop you from falling down initially. I definitely fell down multiple times on what was considered the easiest slope to start with. I eventually started getting the hang of the different movements in order to maneuver our skis in the correct direction. We got bold enough to try another slope, this time a little steeper, and there were more falls but we were getting better. We skied until most of us were out of breath, cold, and felt soreness in our muscles. We even got to watch an incredible sunset on top of the mountain while we finished off our last rounds of skiing.
Now that I am no longer scared of the sport, I am excited for the next opportunity I will have to ski! I now understand the appeal of the sport, the feeling and rush you get are unlike anything else, not to mention the incredible nature around you. Feeling scared to try it out is understandable, but honestly, it is so worth it in the end.
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