They said it was just like riding a bike. Who are they? Well, anyone with nonchalant, misplaced reassurance, that’s who. I am sure this tested simile can describe many of life’s hobbies and skills unearthed from the tombs of forgotten abilities. I also would think that crocheting, or maybe, free-style rapping may find comfort to this phrase better than skiing ever could.
That’s my opinion, and I am sticking to it. I just wish the Knowlton Mountain Staff would stop pointing and laughing as they screeched by.
“You’re doing great, babe,” Elizabeth said. “Just remember to bend the knees.”
My arms trembled and my legs shook with exhaustion as I inched down the Bunny Slope.
“I don’t think I am ready for the big boy trails,” I said.
“That we can agree on.”
She sliced ahead of me towards the lift and I knew that her patience was endearing, and at the same time, waning. The sun vanished through darkening fluffs of cumulus and chilled winds nipped trough my gloves and scarf. I thought to myself that she deserved better today; not that I am in any sense depressed—no, not at all—but she is two-time State Champion for something or other in regards to skiing, and I felt like I was holding her enjoyment at bay with my lackluster performance.
A couple of teenagers zipped around me on their snowboards, snickering the most important lesson I seemingly forgot.
“Pizza, French Fry. Pizza, French Fry,” they laughed.
I knew they were being dicks and that this South Park reference was demeaning, but the truths uttered sparked fire to my efforts.
I jumped on that fucking bike and rode, hard.
Everything clicked and I felt like an Olympian flying down the final thirty-or-forty-feet of a grueling Downhill battle for the gold. I just wish I remembered how to stop.
I crashed into a gaggle of tourists, toppling them over like a Professional Bowler’s thunderous strike. I hopped up and backed away as they hollered in their gruff dialect. Elizabeth intervened before the men clobbered me with their poles, shooing them back with her own inaudible cries and primal grunts.
“Are you ok?” she asked.
“Yeah… I think so.”
“That was much better,” she said. “I think you’re ready to move-up. Next time remember to Pizza instead of French Fry, or, turn into a side French Fry; you’ll get it, sport. Now come on, if we hurry we might be able to catch this guy tearing up the jumps on his board.”
She explained further into this mysterious daredevil as we rode the lift to the tallest peak of Knowlton Mountain.
“I guess from what I overheard is that he is executing flips, spins, and grabs better than Shaun White.”
“Damn… who do you think it is?”
“I don’t know, but we have to check it out.”
“Hey… have you seen Ghoul lately?”
“The last time I saw him he said he was going to the lodge to get something to drink.”
We slid from the Chairlift and I followed her with my French-Fry stance to the beginning of Last Chance Trail. I transitioned to a wishy-washy Pizza-glide, caressing the powder of the dangerous descent as Elizabeth took off like a fighter jet. A sudden squall of snow erupted from above as I careened towards darkened figures gathered together like a brooding tree line of slim, ebony birch. I was grateful to stop this time, and I stepped into the throng and next to Elizabeth.
“They say he is getting ready to do something never performed until now. I don’t understand any of it, but it’s supposed to be amazing.”
A burly man who resembled a lumberjack in both apparel and facial hair added that this rider was also handicapped, and I now knew where Ghoul had been this entire time.
The crowd hushed as Ghoul rocketed down the slope on his board, carving himself to unbelievable speeds as he entered the ramp like a reckless comet bound to destroy anything in its path. His body spun in dizzying rotations and the height of his jump took him into low-hanging stratus blanket of grey and he disappeared.
“Where did he go?” asked one boarder.
“Did he… fly away? No, that’s impossible,” stated another onlooker.
“Look—there he is,” said the burly man.
Descending from the clouds was a board, and attached, Ghoul’s prosthesis. It landed with a graceful touchdown and down the slope it went. Ghoul followed with a triumphant yell as he smashed into the mountain side. His torso bounced and tumbled into a stout Pine Tree. The crowd’s cheers transformed into a chorus of confused and disgusted verbal regurgitation while Elizabeth and I raced to his aide.
“Holy shit dude! That was amazing,” I said. “I wish we recorded that.”
“I bet someone got it. Damn that was sick! Put me back together so I can do that again,” said Ghoul.
“I don’t think that is going to happen,” said Elizabeth.
Bits and pieces of his body scattered throughout the snow and I felt a sudden panic crest my body like an avalanche’s inevitable destruction.
“What do we do?” she asked.
“I don’t know… his body is everywhere.”
A boarder approached from the rear and I knew the jig was up. Thoughts spread across my mind and I feared the worse. What would I say? How do I get of this one?
The boarder’s form increased to the size of a yeti.
“Hey,” he said. “I just have to say: that was fucking awesome!”
Guy Stone revealed himself from the growing snow storm and I knew that everything was going to be alright.
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017. All rights reserved.