Lindsey Chapman's Travel Blog

The Unattainable Andes
July 30, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Getting back on the slopes for the first time in years in the Andes Mountains is not only scary for a beginner skier but can also be life threatening – especially when one has only experienced skiing down hills in the Midwest a handful of times.

Try to picture this: me cruising down what they call a bunny hill here in Chile, at a speed far exceeding what I could possibly have control over. Then barely making it down, avoiding a couple of wipe outs due to sheer luck.

The next logical choice is to try making it to the top of the mountain, right? Well, that’s what my brain decided. You have to take two chair lifts to get to the top, which takes a good forty minutes.  For a person who still uses the snowplow turn pretty consistently, this was probably not the wisest of choices, something I realized as I escalated higher and higher. Low and behold, just as I’m about to proudly dismount the chair lift in an attempt to blend in with the advanced skiers surrounding me, my ski slips and I fall flat on my rear. It was sort of a full body wobble, ending with me in a starfish pose, ski-less.

Photo of the Andes via Creative Commons from Flickr user Here Everywhere

As I gathered myself and my gear, I stood up. I realized that even though I had a really difficult descent ahead of me, it was definitely going to be worth it to witness the view of the Andes Mountains I was staring at that very moment. Despite my lack of control and skills in skiing,  I couldn’t quit halfway up the mountain out of fear of falling and miss out on such a beautiful masterpiece. It’s a theme I think applies to a lot of things in life. There are many situations that can seem too difficult to bear, or even seem unattainable.  But if you just try — sometimes many times — overcoming the hardships is what makes life worth living.

Philosophy aside, I sat perched on the top of the mountain for a good twenty minutes before descending, soaking up all the beauty nature was offering me. I had never seen anything like it before. The trek down, however, was a long slow battle. I was probably the least able-bodied skier to ever approach the top of the mountain and attempt to make it down on skis. After about thirty minutes of intense snowplowing — I familiarized myself with a few of the snow banks, ending up with a couple of sore thighs — I made it down without killing myself. Even though I probably looked like a fool doing it, that was definitely a mountain worth climbing, and a day worth living.


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