Challenge by the Black Diamond

No Guts, No Glory!

Challenged by the Black Diamond

At the beginning of this ski season I would never have imagined that I would be here. As I look over the edge of the head wall my heart races. WOW, this is steep I think to myself. I see other skiers falling down as they try ski this run. The other skiers around me at the top of the head wall are looking at me as if to say "you got guts man". I pick my line and look at my buddy, "see you at the bottom". With that I point my outrigger down the fall line and accept the challenge of the black diamond.

My ski picks up speed quickly and fear creeps into my mind. I reach hard to initiate my first turn. I feel the ski carve into a turn and I feel my shock compress under me. I reach down the fall line with my down hill rigger. This unweights my ski, the shock decompresses and snaps me right around into another turn. I see a mogul right in front of me, I initiate my turn off the top of the mogul and get air, Slam! right down into the rut, full compression and I bottom out my shock. On the rebound I reach down the fall line and snap into my next turn. Swish! Snow blasts up in my face. "YEAH!" I shout as I feel my self dominating this run. Turn after turn I carve, over the moguls, through the ruts. Man and machine as one.

I catch a mogul that launches me in the air. As I land I hit another and launch again. Fear grabs me, a pucker factor of ten. The edge of the slope is too close for comfort. I know for that moment I lost control. With everything I have I reach my rigger down the fall line and the ski responds. Swish! into a deep hard carving turn. Ah, the danger is over. Not yet, another skier cuts me off and forces me to take a mogul head on. POP! Big air. I land smooth and fast, reach out and carve a hard right and dump off some speed. I smooth out the last third of the run with some nice tight short radius turns and a big snow cloud hockey stop. Less then two minutes of full adrenaline RUSH!

I look around at the others skiers with their mouths hanging open and I receive my reward of silent praise, then a few comment to me; Awesome!. I look back up the trail and think to myself, Piece of cake! I turn and point my rigger down hill, my ski seeks the fall line and I am out of sight.

By Tom Cannalonga

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