Warren Miller’s First Time Ever Contest: Eighth Place

After much deliberating, discussion and delight, The Ski Journal, in conjunction with Warren Miller, is proud to announce the top ten entries for our ‘First Time Ever on Skis’ contest. With hundreds of submissions ranging from 2010 to the 1940’s, from Norway to Dubai to Norcal, featuring tragedy and triumph, family, friends and strangers, uphill and downhill, poems, prose and even a few run-on sentences, suffice to say that they all brought smiles to our faces—and brought back our own personal memories of the purity of our first time sliding on snow.

Alas, there can only be one winner—on February 2, we began counting down the top ten entries, culminating with Mr. Miller’s favorite essay on Friday, February 11th. A special thanks to Mr. Warren Miller and contest sponsors K2, Orage, Smith Optics, and media partner Newschoolers.com. And you, the reader, who took the time to relive your first time with us—we hope your stories were as enjoyable to write as they were to read.

Eighth Place: From the Womb

By: ON3PO on Newschoolers.com

All first ski days start with snow. The March I was born, our hill reported accumulations every day. Sometimes it was a skein of sugar sprinkled over the moguls, sometimes four inch drifts resting under the curvatures of wind lips. My mother remembers skiing powder with me in her belly, and feeling my kicks on the lift.

So really, I can’t remember my first day of skiing. Somewhere between words like blastula and zygote, I came into consciousness feeling the swivel to the right, hip shift to the left, unweight, and then down again. My ear bones formed to hear the swish of snow crystals over nylon, a sound that resonated and hummed in the amniotic fluid. Opening and grasping, my small hands reached for poles that weren’t there as the arm muscles swung with her turns.

A womb, like a powder field, is a place of float. A place where the gravity becomes malleable by percentages of snow water equivalent, the Jetstream, and ocean temperatures named after Spanish children. It’s hard to say something heartfelt and profound about why skiing matters to me, but feeling the bounce and rush of powder across my legs rewinds my experience to that first primordial feeling of float.

Each turn is a turn that I made before, a slight lilt of another track that my mother once crossed and then the seamless folding of snowflakes, right now, under the skis on my feet. I can’t remember when it started, because it’s all one moment revisited—snow phones, ski buses, the accepted terror of the imminent crash, the exultant turn out after stomping a landing. For me, it never started. It doesn’t end. Each day is my first day on skis.


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