I lay face down in the snow wondering what happened…
My skis are scattered, my face is cold, but I think I’m ok. I hear ski boots clomping across the run.
“Are you alright?” Andrew Nelson, famous BC avalanche forecaster and guide asks.
“Yeah.” Mostly I’m embarrassed. I’m skiing with the director team from the resort I work at. All men. All great skiers. I get up and wipe the snow off my jacket.
“You have something on your nose,” Andrew says.
I remove my glove and touch my nose. My fingers come away red. Must have been a bit of ice where my face hit the ground.
Andrew cleans my nose, applies a bandaid, and we are on our way.
The only problem. I’m a little shaky now. We come to the next ridge. I look over the edge and into a mass of trees. My legs stop working. My feet won’t move. “Andrew, can you come here a minute?”
He smiles and joins me.
“I can’t move.”
“Are you hurt?”
I shake my head. “I’m scared.”
He smiles. “No problem. Just follow me. Stare at my back. When I say turn left, you turn left. When I say turn right, you turn right. Don’t look at the trees.”
Without letting the others know what’s going on, he launches down the slope. I take one deep breath. Then another. “Suck it up, Buttercup,” I tell myself and jam my poles into the snow.
I stare at the space between Andrew’s should blades. My eyes zone in on his orange jacket, and I see nothing else. He switches his glance from downhill to back at me, each time telling me which way to turn. I obey. I crank my skis left, then right.
My adrenaline is raging. My heart is pounding, but I’m skiing around one tree after another.
We reach the bottom ,and I’m exhilarated. I did it!
“Everything good?” Andrew asks.
More than good, I think. I’ve just come up with the idea for AVALANCHE. So who’s my hero for the day? Andrew, of course. He never let on to the others that I was frightened on the mountain.
This was my story. Sometimes I’m asked if the character Kalin Thompson is based on me. The answer is no, but I did use some of my experiences skiing to help write the Stone Mountain Series and to create Kalin.
Years later, AVALANCHE is set to be published. It’s one sale for a short while longer at: myBook.to/Avalanche for $0.99 USD.
Thanks for reading…