Anticipation. That is the only feeling I have, waiting for the buses to arrive. It is an hour before check-in at the campus center and yet I am already here with my ski bag and boots. I pass the time talking with friends and listening to music. Soon, people arrive for check-in and I quickly jump into line.
Finally, we are directed to load the bus. Maneuvering as best I can with 15 pounds slung over my shoulder, I board the bus and score a seat in the front row. Now the night can begin, I think. Once the bus is filled, people counted, and music hooked up to the aux cord, we begin the hour drive to the Lost Valley ski mountain. The sun begins to set on the drive. I watch the colors change in the sky from orange, to pink, to deep purple, then black. As the sun sets the bus is filled with song and conversation.
The caravan of four buses arrive at a compact parking lot filled with cars set in front of the quaint ski lodge. People mill around between their cars, the lodge, and to the fire pit ablaze outside. Inside, there are many students from UNE as well as two other universities. Speakers fill the already loud space with music. A line wraps from the basement up to the first floor, the line full of students ready to hit the slopes. I set my items down and begin to put on warmer articles of clothing. The temperature is already 20°F. I started the battle against my ski boots, it’s been a year since I put them on my feet. With a victory over the boots, I clunk my way from the crowded basement and out into the nipping air.
My excitement peaks as I find a place to drop my skis and click the boots into the bindings. I pull myself over to the nearest ski lift and begin the eventful night. The ski lift itself is smaller than the ones I ride back in my home state. There’s barely enough room for two people to squeeze on. It’s a short ride up the mountain. I eagerly get off the lift and move toward the map guide. It shows some slopes that all run into one or two main trails at the bottom of the mountain. Before I begin to move down the trail, I fall onto my side. I forgot how different skiing is from ice skating. For one, the skis are heavier and second, I cannot cross over to gain momentum. Once I am up, I begin the descent on a green trail, which marks the easiest trail the ski lodge offers. The run takes all but a minute. But the good thing is there is no line to wait in to get back onto the ski lift. This is a skier’s paradise, to finish a run and immediately ski right up to the lift to journey back up for another thrilling run.
At some point in the night, I meet some friends to go down green and blue (intermediate level) trails. From the lift, I can see the students conversing around the warm fire. Each time we gather at the top of the mountain, we choose a new trail to try. As we move down the trail, I see snow tubers flying down the tracks. Music accompanies the shrieks of laughter from them as I move by on the snow. The night passes in a blur of dark trees, orange glows from the lights marking the trail, and dropping temperatures.
As all good things must come to an end, so came the end of night skiing at Lost Valley. Tired and cold, I made my way back into the ski lodge. Cleaning the snow from my skis and boots proved to be an easy task. I load the 15-pound skis back onto my shoulder and brave the 14°F again to load back onto the bus. The return trip back to campus is not very memorable as I slept through the entire ride.