The Long Wait
Jennifer, Age 11, Coquitlam, BC

Okay, I know this is a crazy thing to do, to stop writing my short stories and start writing about my day, but I had an absolutely crazy day up in the slopes of Grouse Mountain.

In the beginning, it was just like any other day. Actually, it was better than any other day of this week. It was sunny, the view to downtown was magnificent, the snow condition was exceptional, and almost all the employees were in a mirthful mood.

My friends and I, contented by the excellent conditions, went down the runs Paper Trail, Expo, Buckhorn, Blueface, and Heaven’s Sake. However, when we were going down Blueface and got to the chairlift Olympic Express, that was when things started getting bad. My friends and I were in the line-up, waiting innocently and looking for people that we knew. Then the chairlift stopped, and everybody thought that it would start running in a minute or two, that a person had innocently fallen down up at the top and the staff just stopped the chairlift so it was just waiting for that person to get up again.

We waited, waited and waited, until it was apparent that something wasn’t right. There were about 300 people in the bottom of the chairlift, and we had been waiting for about 15 minutes (it normally takes about 3 minutes or so to get out of the way of the chair lift.) Then I realized something, there were technical difficulties!

When the hold-up was at about a 15 minute point, all of the 300 people were going nuts. They were throwing snowballs to the chairs and the staff; they were doing cartwheels and juggling snowballs. The people wouldn’t calm down until some safety guards came, threatening people that they would have to leave the mountain if they continued.

We waited for 15 more minutes, and finally the chairs started rolling again. People were cheering and whooping, but again, there was something wrong. The chairs weren’t loading. They just kept on going and stopped when all the people who were on it got unloaded. (I felt so very bad for the snowboarders and skiers who were on that tram for 30 minutes, because their feet must have felt like they were falling off.) Then I heard a large man talk to the crowd saying, “We’re so sorry for the inconvenience, and you might have to wait a couple of minutes because we will not load the chairs until it is absolutely sure that the chairs are 110% safe. Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience.”

If the crowd was nuts before, now they were they were booing and hiking back up those cliff- like double-black diamond routes, and doing tricks up in that bumpy routes trying to kill their time and also trying to entertain and help to kill other people’s time. By the last few minutes, it was like we were watching a show, because everybody was looking at the eccentric skier in that florescent yellow snow clothes, doing breathtaking tricks that made you rub your eyes because you could hardly believe them, watching that man in the red juggle many snowballs, and watching people with doleful expression on their faces get teased by their somewhat spirited friends.

When the chair lift finally started working, people were cheering and the dark circles on the depressed people’s faces slowly started to vanish, and everybody was back to their normal state. However, when my friends and I were back to the top of the mountain, it was, unfortunately, time to go. In all, this day was the most idiosyncratic and the most epigrammatic day I had on the slopes.

*Please note that even though some of this story is true, there is some exaggeration involved in this story about that day.

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