Warren Miller’s First Time Ever Contest: Sixth 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.

Sixth Place: Baby.b from Newschoolers.com.

1996 was a remarkable year in Medicine; “Blind woman gets new kidney from dad she hasn’t seen in years”, Health and Safety “Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted” and Astrology “Is there a ring of debris around Uranus?” It was a year which presented us with Happy Gilmore, Muppet’s Treasure Island and the rotten disbandment of The Ramones. For me, it was the year which started the biggest thrill ride I was yet to encounter.

As a British infant in the 90’s I was pre-programmed to enjoy cups of tea, have an obsession with S-club 7 and to one day meet the Queen. For this week however, my parents had dragged me to the village where adrenaline was invented and it showered flakes of white, frozen snow.

To the average skier, tackling a learner slope is about as daunting as a warm bath but at this point in my life I was still yet to master the art of tying my own shoelaces, which made the task ahead that little bit more challenging. I spent the first hour of my career in ski school hiding from the instructor in the human sized rabbit costume, but once he disappeared and I’d recovered from my ordeal it was on to magic carpet. I couldn’t tell you my exact feelings at the time as it was so darn long ago but it’s the same with any new experience; you fill with anticipation and anxiety until you push your own limits, embrace the challenge and realise you’ve just done something which will change your life.

The other kids in ski school and I spent the rest of the day shuffling down the 5 degree slope, trying to dodge cones and piles of other children; but aside from the boy who spent the day at the snack table with his coat on back to front, we all ached for that next test. Wanted to advance onto the mountain and attack the coming challenge.

However well the instructors taught us to make a snow-plough that day they never warned us about the long term side effects of skiing. How you will return home and spend countless hours watching mountain web-cams and reading snow reports; how you will dig out your skis at the first sign of frost, just in case; how you will regularly tell people that you “just smelt something which reminded you of skiing.”

The snow conditions here in the Midlands are equal to that of the Gobi Desert but you don’t need to be surrounded by bottomless powder to let skiing have its affect on you. Addiction. Obsession. Compulsion. These words only graze the surface of describing the possessive embrace which skiing has over it’s victims after that initial episode.

Every year I revisit my first day, when I ski a steeper slope or attempt a bigger jump because the beauty of skiing is, you will never experience the same day twice. Each day begins the search for a new adventure.


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