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Skinning 25 Short

A Short Story About Backcountry Skiing

I hurried to heave off my layers. It was not the most ideal situation considering that it was 18 below zero also known as 50 degrees below freezing. I was stripping down to just my thin long sleeve because I had to put on my beacon. I wasn’t cold yet but I could feel the cold air creeping into my warm skin. It was kissing my nose and hands and turning them red and purple. My beacon beeped twice to show that it was ready and transmitting a signal. My layers were lying on the ground. I rushed to pull them over, hoping I wouldn’t freeze. I didn’t. First my sweatshirt, then a lime green puffy, and lastly my heavy ski jacket. Zipping up my jacket, I felt the cold air get one last nip and pulling on my smoky mustard gloves.

The group was checking our beacons with search mode, and passing by with thumbs up starting to skin up to 25 short. The ski in was flat but slowly started got steeper. I was keeping my head down pushing my right leg forward and doing a sort of lunging position, pulling my left leg forward and pushing with my right arm. Moving back and forth up the slopes. Looking up frequently to see the trail ahead. I was breathing hard, feeling the cold air rush into my lungs. And breathing out heavily and breathing in again, feeling like the cold air was choking me and scraping my throat with every bitter breath. I knew that at the end of the skin up, knowing the knee-deep powder will all be worthwhile on this cool sunshine day in January.

I flipped up my raisers every once and a while when the incline got steeper. Every step forward, the warmer I got. I didn’t want to sweat because it would freeze later. As the day warmed up, the more layers came off and went into my pack. Soon, I was back to my thin long sleeve. Drinking hot honey filled tea and ice cold water that reenergized me with every sip, I felt it run down my throat cooling and warming my insides. I had a smile stretched across my face, having that warm rewarding feeling of looking back to see where I began. I peeked through the trees and the sun beamed down to warm my back.

Getting to the top and stopping at the point where the group will ski down. Twisting my binding and flipping my boots to ride mode. The feeling of ripping off my skins with one satisfying whip of the wrist. Pulling layers on and clipping in and adjusting my poles lengths. I was ready.

First, turn the powder rising up to my chest and floating on white fluffy clouds. It's one feeling that you can't get anywhere else, it is like paradise. For some people, their paradise is the beach, but mine is the mountains. One feeling that is so special and important to me, it is looking back to see what I have climbed or worked hard, not just putting in mental effort but putting is a physical effort. 

I feel more accomplished when I can see progress and having a goal in mind that I have reached for and wanted to do. This makes me into a stronger person. Physically, because it's a workout but also mentally,  knowing that I didn't stop when it got harder but maybe take a pause to refresh to feel better when I keep going. 

For people, their accomplishment is getting good grades or getting that promotion at work. For me, I feel most accomplished when I set a goal for myself that I really want. And it's easier to not do that goal, but why would you do that when you could work hard and feel better about something? Or you did something that you deserved and really wanted and took every step to get it. 

But the important thing at the end of the day is to put your best foot forward and work hard towards the goals you want. Getting happiness from something that is special and rewarding is the most worth it. 

So, stop looking at whatever you are looking at which is this device. Turn it off, it will still be here when you come back. And set a goal, or work towards the goal that you have wanted. Do it, it is still a new year. You could have started the year not so good but I believe that it can turn around and get easier. 

Like what NIKE says: "Just do it!" 

(But still be smart about your actions.) I believe in you!

For now, xoxo, 

Erica

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Skinning 25 Short
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