The slopes are thin white streaks, lit by strings of dim amber lights until even hard snow seems soft, like new-churned butter. I struggle to stay in one place, shivering, as the instructor points the tips of his skis downhill in a neat plow. “Follow me,” he cries, and one by one, we push off from stillness, a wounded snake, stilted and cautious. Traverse, turn, step up, slow, turn, stop. Traverse, turn, step up, slow, turn, stop. Sudden as a revelation, someone in a pale coat slips by me, the sound of his skis like Olympic skaters’ blades rushing past the judges: a sharp, narrow hiss; an inhalation of breath – cold slivers of silver. I try a quick turn, edges rising. “Oh,” my teacher shouts, “she’s dangerous!” Slowly, we trickle down the mountain.
© Jessica Minier Mabe