Long Live the Dream
How skiing can persevere in the face of tragedy;
For reasons unknown, somewhere between when we wished each other well and when John left the gate, he changed his mind about his line. He pushed out of the gate and let out a small “whoop!” as he breezed by me and the entrance to our line. His new route—that several other competitors had skied as we had been watching, moments before—opened with a small air into a mandatory left turn.
There was no way John was lost, he skied so aggressively and confidently, he had just changed his mind. He sailed beautifully off the first air, his body silhouetted spectacularly against the waters of the Turnagain Arm in the bright spring sun, but then something happened. As he was initiating the must-make left hand turn, he either clipped a rock or high-sided due to the sheer nature of the turn he was making, and started tumbling. Once, twice, and then his body collided with a small rock buttress in the middle of the face with a sound I don’t care to put into words.
He’s dead, I thought, before immediately scolding myself for having such a brutally negative thought. But, as it turned out, he was. Right there, on the side of the mountain, the man I’d been bullshitting with only moments earlier, was gone. READ ON....