Frozen Freedom by Rita Paz

1st Year

The cold breeze hit my face leaving my lips frosted. No matter how much lip balm you put on your lips crack. But I didn’t care because I knew that if I could reach the top, the journey would start. I had that heavy breathing provoked by nerves and the little voices in my head were louder than my own. I had one hand holding on and the other one making sure everything was zipped and ready to run. As we reached the top I saw everything and felt… as if nothing mattered right there. I felt just like a bird when it starts flying, with freedom as a price for that one thing that requires practice. The tall man in the distance approached me as my family left me. I was completely amazed by the masterpiece one calls nature. I knew pretty much how to talk Spanish so communication was not my problem but the fear of falling was. I then stabbed the snow underneath me with my stick to push myself forward. I remember the feeling of starting over, like a fish when out of water doesn’t know what to do or even how.

After 2 hours I knew how to not fall and although I could only slide down the beginners way I was already tasting my little freedom. But my biggest fear was yet to come- however tomorrow was going to be a fresh start I thought. And that’s when I discovered the best type of tired someone could imagine because when you lay down in your bed your feet felt as if they were still sliding down the mountains, melting snow and crushing ice. This is what I would call post-freedom syndrome – when your body craves more for that one moment when your courage has won.

The next day I was on the slopes ready to face it. There was a weird thing that pulls you up the slope. ‘So you place the metal stick in-between your legs, fitting a round shaped lid that goes on your bottom ‘ I thought just to confirm. Of course no one told me that I had to pretend like I wasn’t sitting down because otherwise the little pushchair wouldn’t stay and you just fall on the ground. So I went ahead and sat down and fell. My biggest worry was that I was going to be run over by the other starters. So, with no capability to stand up, my feet just slid different ways (and since I couldn’t do the splits) I just lay there waiting for help.

2nd Year

I was ready to put in test all my previously learned skills. Or at least the idea of not falling again. I knew that the beautiful view was different this time, not only because we were going to a different place but because I had been told it had changed. But I had to see it for myself. But once I reached the top I could see nothing different, so why were people telling me such things? From what I’d learnt it was global warming that was causing the snow and ice to melt. But when I got there I thought that no such thing was happening… There was no evidence. ‘How come this snow hasn’t melted?’ I thought. But at that moment everything else was so overwhelming that that one thing vanished from my mind. A few days had passed and all I could see was snow and ice, and more snow and ice.

But this was until I had a lesson and we took a different route this time- not only because I was improving (well, at least I believed so) but also my teacher was getting slightly bored of the same route for 2 hours per day. So I was a bit nervous but this time we took the chair lift- fancier than the fake chair, I must say, for advanced students. We were skiing down the slope and it was so foggy that the only thing I had to guide me was my teacher’s Spanish voice. ‘iVamonos!’ he would scream ( for those of you don’t know Spanish that means let’s go!). The ride was tranquil and I was so proud of myself that I decided that since my lesson was over, I was going with my family up that track again. And so I did until we got to the final part where the fog decided to lift suddenly. This brutally changed the happy family moment. I was terrified. ‘No, no, no, no!’ I screamed in my mum’s face. I decided that going down was going to be impossible. I sat down and just refused. My mum tried to convince me and even in desperation- frighten me with that one stick. I was literally sitting down in the middle of the track, crying and wishing I did not exist. Let’s just say that I was there for about one hour. And then my mum realised I was not going to get up and have an epiphany so she gave up and went to seek for help. While in the process of calming down I decided to not look down and avoid thinking about my ice diaper (by the way so incredibly painful). I looked to my sides. And I could see the type of slushy ice covering the outsides of the track. I thought ‘Well it actually looks like the ice is melting.’ After 5 minutes I was carried down by a special ice motorcycle. And I thought the incident the year before had been the most embarrassing moment of my life. I was wrong. Why was it high season? There were too many witnesses there. On our way back home I was incredibly silent because of those two words ‘Global Warming’.

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I was 11 back there, now I am 15 and realise how this issue is getting worse every second. And for our sake I really do hope that working together we’ll put an end to our self-destruction. The small things matter, let’s save the planet together. And maybe who knows when I am older with my kids I will be able to take them through the same ski tracks but not the same experiences.

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