A Fall That Only Made Us Go Up - Eva Calvo-Sotelo '19

 Skiing is a sport through which you fully contact with nature; that’s why my family has always loved it. Since I we were very little, my family has taken my siblings and me to the Pyrenees, the high mountains that divide Spain’s frontier from France’s, every winter holiday. Last Christmas, like every year, we stayed at our favorite hotel, right by the mountain’s valley, across the frozen river and beside a cute little village. After a beautiful but tedious six hour car drive from home, we arrived. The side of the roads were fully covered in white by a thick soft layer of snow that looked just like baking powder. In Madrid, where I live, we unfortunately rarely ever get any snow, so having the opportunity to experience this miracle every Christmas is one of the best gifts. 

Every morning we would wake up early and get ready for the day. Putting on layer after layer, with our eyes barely open, felt like a challenge. All I could think about was breakfast. Food was the main reason I would actually get up early in the mornings: a piece of toast with melted salty butter, two crunchy bacon strips mixed with scrambled eggs and a cold glass of apple juice to properly swallow everything down. Rushing down stairs with my little brother, following the soft fried smell that came out from the kitchen, would turn into a race he would always win revealing his hunger. Every day, every morning, I ate the exact same gorgeous meal and never got tired of it. After a well-deserved breakfast, we would head to the ski room where we kept all our gear, skis, boots and poles. We had to change onto our ski-boots already and carry everything else to the bus station, which was not even one minute away from the hotel's entrance. A bus passed by every ten minutes, so we didn’t have to wait for long. The bus would take us directly to the ski resort, where we would buy our passes and sign up for skiing lessons. But this year was going to be different. Our mother thought we were old and good enough to ski on our own, so we could go anywhere we wanted, with only one condition: not to go out of the trails. Meanwhile she would stay with my little brother, teaching him, and probably getting hot chocolate every two rounds. My older sister met with a friend at the coffee shop, so it was only my brother, Andy, and me. He is a better skier than I am, and his favorite part about it is to try new risky things, like going out of the trails. I like his way of thinking; the snow outside the trails is really good to learn, and there’s no people to disturb you!

So, after going down a few trails, my brother and I got tired of the used snow and the crowd. The snow on the outside shone with the sun rays like diamonds as if it was calling us. Andy decided to go out, promising he would be careful and take care of me if I wanted to go, too, to which I agreed. We called my mother who completely disagreed. It was dangerous! My brother and I couldn’t go back to the monotonous boring trails; they were so tedious. We decided to oppose my mom’s decision and convinced her that we would not learn or improve anything on the regular trails and that we would be super careful because we knew the risk. We were good enough and able to go down the mountain without hurting ourselves if we were cautious. She seemed to agree. Because she didn’t respond, but she rolled her eyes like there was no other option.

The trees passing by while I speed up, making fast turns that shake the snow, which turns into white waves as if I were in the sea is the feeling I was dreaming of while staring at the trails from the chairlift. When my muscles feel tight and a little sore, I know I am on the right snow because no one has skied on it yet, and I am the first one to work on it. The first round was great. The adrenaline we felt was insane. Once we were down, we both unconsciously looked back, admiring the mountain's slope, and four defined lines that our skis had left behind. We had just started, there were so many left to be skied! We tried a harder one this time. Andy thought of getting a video because there were some cool jumps he wanted to try to do. I skied down first to record him, and once I got to the perfect spot, I stuck my poles deep in the snow, took my gloves off and put them on the pole-handles, as if they were hands I was covering, and got my phone out. I raised my hand to let him know I was ready, and he dropped. He started sliding down and gaining speed as he approached the bump he would use to jump. I could feel the tips of my fingers get colder, but all I could think and worry about at the moment was my brother. The moment arrived. His skies separated from the ground and for seconds he was flying. He landed perfectly and kept coming down to where I was waiting, making sharp turns in a great low position. The video turned out really well. I got a really nice angle and a beautiful view and also my voice of excitement playing in the back, yelling with excitement when he did the jump. After watching the video I obviously wanted to try too. He made it look so easy and satisfying.

We went back up the same lift and down the same way. This time he got down first in the same spot I first stuck my poles in. I was ready. When he raised his hand I completely went for it, sped up and… I could see myself lifting up from the ground, I was flying too! It was time for the landing. How was I even supposed to make it? I was so excited about trying new tricks and being able to do what my brother did, that I completely ignored the fact that I had never jumped so high before. All these thoughts popped in my head while I was in the air, and only made me stress out and tense my body. I landed in the most awkward position. My skis crossed and fell apart. I could say I literally ate snow because I also landed on my face. It sounds terrible, but it didn’t hurt at all. The snow I landed on was soft like a brand-new mattress with thousands of pillows, and the skis popped out on time, so my legs didn’t break. My brother took off his stuff and ran to me as fast as he could. He wasn’t really fast. He was going up the slope on ski boots, but as soon as he heard me laughing and yell “I’m fine!” the first thing that came up to his mind was to say “I got that on video!” We both started laughing even louder together, my tummy started to hurt as if I just did a hundred abs. I couldn’t stop. Tears fell from my brother’s eyes and run down his cheeks. I couldn’t wait to watch the video, my fall made him laugh all our way down. It must have been the funniest once he knew I was all right and in one whole piece. Maybe our mom was partially right, but what we felt that day were definitely emotions I have never felt skiing in actual trails. We didn’t show her the video so she wouldn’t freak out, but my brother and I, and my two other siblings to whom I showed the video afterwards, will always have that secret to laugh at. A story that made us become closer, and a secret that will always remind us our passion for this sport, and all the memories we have created from it. It was a day to remember, that will always put a smile on our faces, and make us take more risks together in the future.