Cross Country Skiing: December 16-17, 2006

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Clumsy Gracefulness

by Julia, Grade 10

At 8 o’clock on Saturday morning, fifteen pairs of sleepy eyes boarded a small yellow bus, each eagerly anticipating a weekend of skiing and bonding. We talked and listened to cheesy road trip music as our surroundings changed from grey puddles to piles of gleaming white snow. Stopping in Sandy for ski gear, many of the members started to awaken, restoring the deep-seated enthusiasm they had when signing up for the trip. My excitement grew steadily during the car ride, and reached a high point when renting the ski gear. I doled out chocolate to those who hadn’t quite realized what was going on yet.

We drove up the mountain until finally we reached our destination. After checking and rechecking for all the necessary (but surprisingly unnecessary) warm layers, we commenced our journey into the wonderful world of cross-country skiing. Ironically, the course we took started with a steep downhill, and as a result of our ignorant confidence many of us had a rocky start. After that, we embarked on a series of gentle rolling hills, and they became quite enjoyable after we mastered the art of standing upright. Each one of us had our own original way of avoiding direct contact with the snow, and many proved faulty. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the beautiful and serene setting with each wobbly glide. After a quick and cold stop for lunch, some of us ventured a bit further while the rest started back to the bus.

After about 5 hours of skiing, the whole group ended up at the bus, tired but satisfied. We looked forward to the warm and luxurious cabin awaiting us. When we arrived, a beautiful cabin welcomed us with open arms, though the power had stopped working. Despite this minor setback, we made the best of it by spending the night enjoying each other’s company, lighting Hanukkah candles (courtesy of Rob Kaye), eating dinner, and playing cards.

We awoke to power once again, and got ready for another day on the mountain. This time, we split our group in two, a beginning group and an intermediate one. Although both groups were to go about the same distance, the intermediate faced steeper and more frequent hills. I decided to go with the intermediate group, which started with a hike up a downhill ski slope. After that, we had another long ski uphill. After defying gravity for what seemed like ages, we finally reached a gratifying downhill slope. I enjoyed the downhill, but looking back I also appreciated the uphill because of the time we had to spend with nature. While trudging up Mount Hood, we were able to gaze at the serenity of the snow and the abundance of trees, a rare occurrence in everyday school life.

After another 5 hours of skiing that day, many of us felt ready to head back down, and after a stop at Joe’s doughnuts, we arrived back at Catlin. The brevity of the trip was nice because it offered only a taste of cross-country skiing, and left me wanting to return to the mountain. I’m sure all of us made great memories on this trip, and all that I learned about cross country skiing and the other people accompanying me will not soon be forgotten.