Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

In The Quest Of…

Skiing over the clouds amid fierce storm

Posted by Satish Shrestha on January 8, 2011


Penetrating fogs on a cold Friday morning, we head out to Silver Mountain for yet another day to ski this season. Psyched about leveling up the skills I’ve been learning, I call Jamie to see if he’s going to ski today. Positive reply from him insinuates a good day of skiing. While at car, we hope the mountain is not as foggy as Spokane. After about an hour and half drive, we park the car and head to the ticket counter. Jamie and his brother are already there and so are Audra, her mom and Holly. The weather doesn’t look so great but it doesn’t wane my level of excitement. After twenty minutes long gondola ride, we land at the ski resort’s lodge. Everyone else in the group are avid skiers, thus I ask them several questions before we head out to the snow. It’s windy and foggy, but it doesn’t bother us much.

Holly and Audra’s mom seem very well acquainted with different runs in the mountain. Thus they suggest me different runs considering my experience. While I mostly started at rather easier runs the other times, today I start at more difficult runs. More confident than before, I start shredding the Silver Belt amid fierce wind. As I ski downhill, I get suggestion from Holly and Kaitlin that I lean more towards back, which is just the opposite of what a skier is supposed to do. I realize it, I convince my mind so but my body finds it difficult not to lean backwards. Leaning forward makes me feel like I am going extremely fast and thus harder to maneuver the skis. What keeps ringing in my head most of the times is, ‘Satish, you realize you do not have a health insurance, right?”  This automatic alert in my head prohibits me from doing things I really want to do, be it when Im skiing, or riding my mountain bike or just about everything that has tendency to cause serious injuries. (I think I kind of enjoy and am thankful to such automatic preventive suggestions that my brain propagates. )

I repeat the same run about three times with Holly, a professional ski instructor who’s been skiing for over twenty years. Every time I fall, she explains what I did wrong. At this point I usually fall as I turn my skis when Im going down faster. One of my current biggest weakness is I tend to put more pressure on my quads than on my shin, as supposed to, which wears my energy rapidly. As the quads get sore, it becomes quite difficult to maneuver the skis when turning around. Realizing what I am doing wrong, I try to amend those mistakes and level up. After a couple runs at the Silver Belt, I take Sunrise, the run that I took over ten minutes last time to complete as I was too slow. Sunrise is a pretty steep slope and I didn’t do well enough last time. But today Sunrise felt fabulous with single fall. It was a good reason to be delighted! In addition, later I try other more difficult runs, Northern Lights and Fast Eddy.

Audra’s mom and Holly left at 1 but we kept skiing. I ski with remaining three folks a couple runs and they decide to ski/snowboard most difficult runs. Assessing my confidence and skills I have  gained so far, I decide not to take that risk today. Thus I ski by myself on different more difficult runs. Trying different runs is fun. Though it is severely windy and cloudy, there are quite a few people in the mountain. The cloud and high speed snow storm impair vision of several skiers/snowboarders and so I witness numerous crashes and falls, though none of them are fatal.

The weather gets worse as the day progresses and the storm makes it almost impossible to ski. It is unbearably cold especially in the ski lift as one is not using any muscle at all. The wind slows down the lift and often swings it. My face is numb because of snow stuck in my face worsened by the wind of over 20 mph. Unfortunately a strap of my backpack gets stuck in the lift and I don’t’ realize it. When I try to land, I get stuck in the lift and as the lift turns back down, I get stuck hanging underneath the ski lift. While people around shouts for help, I feel like I am a hang glider and keep smiling. As the lift turn around, it pulls my left shoulder with it. It is painful and not funny but I feel like laughing. The security personnel comes and unhooks me from the lift and merrily says, “Your picture will be on the headline tomorrow”. I just laugh back at him, stretch my shoulders, smile back at people waiting for me and say I am fine. They question a few more times and Kaitlin grabs my backpack. I don’t stop skiing. Tough the pain in the shoulder kind of worries me, I keep skiing and actually it feels a lot better skiing without a backpack. I feel much lighter and thus its much easier to turn.

After couple more runs I decide to stop and take rest for a bit as the storm makes everything invisible 10 feet in front of me. After waiting outside the lodge for about ten minutes, I see them coming towards me in an unusually slow pace. Audra says Kaitlin and John crashed into each other and she hurt her knee. She doesn’t say much but when she goes inside the lodge, I see tears dripping down her cheeks. That’s the first time I’ve that tough Alaskan woman cry. So I realize it must have been pretty bad and excruciating. I convince her to stop by Jamie’s house and ice her knee. The great day of skiing over the cloud amid fierce storm ended with a pretty sad accident. She hopes she doesn’t have to see a doctor.

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