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Fresh Powder

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posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 10:44 PM
Fresh Powder

I positioned the skies a boot’s length apart, and pushed down with my lower legs. From here there was no going back.

I saw the white snow beneath me through my goggles. They were wiped clean and clear. I felt the glaring sun beating down on my back, as a crisp cold wind whisked up, blowing powder into my face. I smiled and gave a thumbs up to Summer. I looked to her and she returned the thumbs up and yelled, “What are you waiting for?”

What an irony her name was Summer. But she loved the winter and the snow and the fresh powder. That’s what we lived for. Since I was a little child in New England what I lived for was the snow. I grew up near Wildcat Mountain, in New Hampshire. And I’d be the first person to the top of the resort with my skies when the season came. Sometimes I’d ski in mud, just so I could be up there.

But what I truly loved was the fresh snow. And when it snowed I was in heaven. I ditched school to be on top of the mountain, be the first to try out the powder. The chair-lifts wouldn’t even be open yet, and I’d be trekking to the top of the mountain by foot, too impatient to wait.

And I learned to ski, and I was good. I became so good in fact I competed for the Olympics team when I turned 19 and made a spot. I never went though. My mom was dying of cancer, and I opted to stay home to take care of her. I ended up watching Jonny Moseley win gold on the mountain in Nagano, Japan in the freestyle which I had entered in.

After my mom died I moved west. I heard that there was good skiing country there. And so there I was, a lad of 21 standing on the top of Monarch Pass in Colorado. It was okay. I enjoyed it. Then I was in Gunnison, Colorado. From there a group of us “ski bums” as we were termed hitchhiked to Crested Butte every day to live our passion, skiing.

That is where I met Summer. In the back of an old Station wagon. The owner was kind enough to pick four of us up. So there I was the back seat, she was sitting next to me, I had the window to my left. I was looking out to see how much it had snowed the previous night. Not too much, but I knew that as we neared Crested Butte that might change. It always seemed to snow higher up. Our legs were touching and she had an Ipod on listening to Simple Plan. I knew it, because I could hear the music blaring from her earbuds from where I was sitting.

“Hi, I’m Jason,” I said when she looked over at me.

“What’s up, Jason, name’s Summer” she replied as she pulled an earbud from her left ear to hear me.

“So, hear there’s gonna be good powder this morning, they said it snowed a lot up there,” I said to make conversation.

“Yeah,” she said and then blew a bubble from some bubble gum she was chewing, and then stuck her earbud back in.

Then we were there. It so happened that I had two ski lift tickets from a friend, and she had none. And so it was when we were let off, and she found out, by the way of me showing her the tickets, she was off to the mountain with me.

“You any good?” she asked as we were taking the ski lift up.

“Good enough,” I said.

I went directly to the Black Diamond trails and we were off. It was a race. She was trying to outdo me, but I kept up pace with her, easy-peasy. Black-diamond was a walk in the park. She was impressed. I wasn’t. I just wanted to ski some more.

“Jason, you’re good,” she told me as we warmed ourselves in front of a gas fireplace in one of the main Hotels. “No, that’s not doing it justice. You were great out there, I’ve rarely seen people ski with your ability.”

“You were good too Summer,” I said as I sipped from a cup of hot cider and looked from the setting sun outside to her lovely face, and she was indeed lovely. Big blue eyes, under a head of long blond hair covered by a red hat, a slim body, she was more than lovely, she was heaven.

“It’s getting late, we need to get back to town,” I said absent-mindedly, but we were still just staring each other in the eyes. And then, before I knew what was happening we were kissing. And I don’t mean any kiss. It was a passionate one, one between people who just click.

From that day we were inseparable. We skied the slopes together, and traveled to all the great and obscure ski towns of the Rocky Mountain mid-west.

Two years passed, I came into money from someone in the family, and asked Summer to marry me. Which she did happily.

We built a log cabin in the mountains in Colorado, the home I loved so much. But we started to travel the world skiing. Then it was that I got the crazy notion to ski down the summit of Mount Everest. I was bored with the hills I’d been to. I needed more, and higher mountains.

So it was we were off to the Himalayas. But not before we got some mountain climbing experience. We moved to Seattle for a time, and spent our every waking hour climbing Mount Rainier. I was already accustomed to mountain climbing in the Rockies back in Colorado during the summer, climbing many of 53 14k peaks in the state. But we trained, and we skied.

And then, finally we were off to Nepal. But it wasn’t an easy deal. Before we were going to ski the summit we needed to climb it, and the first try we got to camp three which is a little below the death zone. We spent two months acclimatizing, but the weather wasn’t with us. I gauged it and ended up walking away. I wasn’t willing to risk it.

I sat there watching the mountain listening to it. The sun was hot and the snow was melting. On the fifth night we were there I got up because I couldn’t sleep, Summer was sleeping soundly. Then it was I heard a rumble in the distance. The moon was full and the sky was clear, so I could see the looming mountain in the light of the moon, and before me was the largest avalanche I’d ever seen.

“Summer,” I said, shaking her awake, “come on and see this.” She woke up and begrudgingly got out of her sleeping bag and looked out of the tent. Her eyes widened when she realized what I was showing her. We were both out of the tent now and watching the awesome display of nature before us.

Later on when the sun came up we realized that huge chunks of snow landed a mere few hundred yards from where our camp was. If we had gone any further we would have been buried.

We retreated from the mountain. The next year we returned. This time with another team of climbers. All elite athletes. We had met the previous year at base camp and had instantly become friends. And one thing I knew I would not do, is climb to the top of the world with anyone I wasn’t comfortable with. But these climbers, two men, and a woman one man and woman from Germany, and the other man from Italy clicked with us.

And so it was that we journeyed back to Nepal together, made it to base camp.
Acclimatized to the altitude, and when we saw the window we made it up camp four, known as the death zone. And none of us were using oxygen.

We were there two days, on the third day a cold front moved in, and we ended up staying in out tents the entire day, with winds in excess of a hundred miles an hour blowing. We couldn’t even leave the tent to see how our companions were doing in the other tent, but we could smell the tobacco they liked to smoke on the air, so we knew there were alright.


posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 10:45 PM
Then the cold front parted at about eight in the evening, and the stars came out. It was a gibbous moon, and the stars were shining brightly in the night sky above. The bite of the air was cold even through all of our gear, but we knew this was our chance.

We all started out at about 2am, and by noon we were on top of the world. Our companions were taking video and pictures. Summer and I were preparing our skis. We were about to do what very few humans have ever done. Ski down the face of Mount Everest.

And then, there I was positioning my skies into the snow. The weather had been cold and the mountain was stable. I looked from Summer to the slope below, a slope like no other. She gave me a thumbs up and shouted: “What are you waiting for!?”

posted on Oct, 10 2014 @ 11:50 PM
a reply to: iSomeone
Well, iSomeone...the story captured me...
I was a little frustrated with the ending...but - that's just me.
Thanks for the entertainment & education.
PS: Hope all ended well.

posted on Oct, 11 2014 @ 12:01 AM
a reply to: WanDash

Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback. I may extend the story to let you know what happens, because I don't like it that you were not satisfied with the ending. But give me some time.

posted on Oct, 11 2014 @ 12:07 AM
a reply to: iSomeone
Not necessary...
Thanks for the timely response.
Sometimes, the 'cliff-hanger' is the better ending!

posted on Oct, 11 2014 @ 01:13 AM
Good story telling, but it ended too abrubtly I think.

posted on Oct, 21 2014 @ 01:56 AM
Well, somehow I got logged out of my account on ATS and I don't remember the password, and when I go to live.mail to log into my email account, it wants me to give them a phone number to access my email which I won't do. So I can't retrieve my password. (locked out of my own email.)

Anyway this is the author of the OP (formerly known as iSomeone). Finally got around to writing a part two to the story because of the comments. So here it is:

It is an exhilarating feeling to be standing on the top of the world. Mount Everest is by no means the hardest of the 15 largest peaks of the Himalayas to climb, but it will always be the most coveted summit because of the very fact that it is still considered to be the highest solid point on the face of the earth.

And it is a feat in itself just to reach the summit. The dead zone is called that for good reason. You’re at an altitude that your body can no longer acclimatize to the thinning oxygen, and no human can survive for more than a day or two at the altitude.

The last hundred feet to the summit seem like five miles, not mere feet, and they can take what seems like hours to traverse. But there we finally were at the top of the mountain positioning our skis.

I closed my eyes and scenes from my life flashed before me. My mother smiling down at me in bed when I was a child. The first time I held skis in my hands. The first kiss Summer had ever given me. Our honeymoon in Hawaii. The first avalanche we had both been in, skiing the powder in Colorado in the back country. Remembering the thundering sound of the snow behind us and around us as we floated on it all the way down. Screaming in exhilaration of the rush at the bottom.

And then there he was. A frozen corpse staring at me. We had passed him on the way to the summit. His body was buried up to the chest in snow, still sitting. His eyes frozen open, staring up into his forehead, his frozen lips parted. You could still see his perfectly preserved mouth and teeth. He had untrimmed hair and a short beard and mustache.

I breathed deeply and exhaled. The bite of the air was cold and it was thin. I felt my heart starting to beat faster. I opened my eyes letting the sun’s light flood in, then looked over to Summer. She was still smiling and staring at me.

“Well?” she asked, breathing heavily too. This was going to be it, the magnum opus of our skiing career.

Just a handful of people had been down the mountain in skis, but never a pair together. And everyone told was we were crazy. But there we were, with our insatiable appetite of mountaineering and skiing.

Then it happened. I raised my hand and gave Summer a thumbs up and gently pushed my feet forward, pushing down with my lower legs. There was a fresh layer of powder still on the mountain from the previous night and my skis’ blades cut into it as I maintained my balance and headed downward.

I waved a farewell to our mountaineering companions who were already starting back to camp on foot. They all gave us a thumbs up, and then they were gone, lost behind a hill.

Ahead was the biggest challenge we’d faced so far. Even harder than climbing the mountain in some spots. I was struggling to get air and felt tired and groggy. My body told me it wanted to be in bed in a hotel down in the Bahamas with Summer at my side, and a warm breeze blowing through an open window. But my mind was focused on the most exhilarating ride I’d ever have.

I heard a shout and slowed to look behind me, Summer nearly slid off a collapsing shelf of snow underneath her skis off the side thousands of meters below, just barely managing to keep herself on the slope’s ledge.

We were both on it, it was so narrow that our skis did not have full contact with the surface. To the left our skis were hanging over Tibet, and to the right, over Nepal. There was no margin for error. One slip up and we were dead.

I struggled to maintain the rhythm of my heartbeat steady, but the long climb up, the sleepiness, the rush of adrenaline through my veins was overwhelming. I felt tired, and the bite of the wind was ever colder and colder, especially in my boots which were standard snow boots. I wiggled my toes constantly, hoping I wouldn’t lose feeling in them. But was aware of the danger of losing them if they became frostbitten.

Then we were past the dangerous knife’s edge and a steep decent was before us, and we took it, and we took it fast. I felt the wind start to gush by my face faster and faster, as my blades cut through the virgin snow, on a surface, which probably never had been graced by human feet. A pioneer on skis.

And then it was before me in an instant. Another body protruding from the ground, frozen in time where it had toppled to from somewhere above. A morbid reminder of the unforgiving nature of the mountain we were on. It deserved respect and fear.

I slowed as we passed it, too tired to be much concerned about it, just having enough energy to look to Summer as she glanced at the corpse as we skied by it.

Then we were on again. One hour passed into two, two hours passed into three. It felt as if ten or fifteen had passed. Our endurance was being pushed to the limit. I felt as if I was not going to be able to keep going, I was about to turn and single Summer that we needed to stop to rest.

Then it happened. A sound of a break in the ice glared out above us, booming down the mountain. Then the snow underneath our feet was shifting. I looked to Summer and then to the ridge above us, it was moving, all of it.

We were in trouble. I didn’t have any more strength, and I could see Summer’s strength was spent too, and above us it seemed as if the whole mountain was collapsing as hundreds of tons of snow started to descend upon us.

We had no time to think about our reaction, I took the lead and Summer trailed slightly behind me, we had to ski like we had never skied before. I could feel the snow giving way beneath my feet. Huge chucks of snow were crashing down around me, but somehow we managed to stay on top of it. I let myself go faster and straighter down the mountain, gaining speed. We must have been going 80 miles per hour now.

My heart could not beat any faster. I could not gulp in the oxygen quick enough. I felt my head start to get light, and the noise around me began to fade away.

I shook my head and looked forward, I couldn’t faint, not now. Then I saw it, a ledge and a crevice that must have been fifty feet to the other side. I didn’t think. I didn’t have enough oxygen to think about it. I just pointed my skis at it and sped forward. And then I was in the air. I didn’t have the time or energy to look back but I knew that Summer was in the air behind me.

It was air for what seemed to me an eternity, and then in a perfect landing my skis blades bit into the snow and I was off again with Summer quickly behind me. Soon the avalanche died down behind us, and we finally came to a stop.

I was grasping for air, she was grasping for air. She fell into my arms, and I fell into the side of the mountain underneath me. We lay there like that for a good five minutes without saying anything.

“I can’t do it,” she finally said looking me in the eyes. “I can’t go on anymore.”

“You can do it,” I told her as I held her in my arms. “We’re almost there, Summer. Don’t give up now. Get up and finish this.!”
edit on 21-10-2014 by iNobody because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 21 2014 @ 01:56 AM
And with that I struggled back to my feet. And helped her to hers. I pulled a tank of oxygen from her backpack and strapped it on her. She breathed the air, and then I took a breath. We did that for a good couple of minutes and then I put it away.

We looked downward. Below us was Hilary’s Step.

“Let’s do it,” I said holding her hands in mine. And then we were off. It was a difficult and treacherous part of the decent, but it we took it slow and without incident.

Another two hours passed. Finally it felt as if my feet had frozen solid. I could no longer fell them. The wind started to blow stronger again. I was hungry and tired.

Then we were over the final ridge and below us was camp four and the tents. We finished our decent into the camp and I fell exhausted at the base of our tent, where two guides were waiting for us with elated looks on their faces.

I looked to them as they approached me and to Summer as she lay down in the snow beside me.

“We did it,” I said taking her hand into mine. She was worn out and exhausted as was I. She returned my gaze and couldn’t find enough strength to muster a smile. But she did blink, and then said, “Jason, baby. We did do it didn’t we?”

The End

edit on 21-10-2014 by iNobody because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 21 2014 @ 02:07 AM
a reply to: Night Star

a reply to: WanDash

Part II added.

posted on Oct, 21 2014 @ 04:06 AM
Had to add this because it is just too awesome:


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