5 am


5 AM.

It’s quiet and cold, and I climb out of bed and brush my teeth. My eyes slowly adjust to the bathroom light and my phone vibrates suddenly, breaking the silence of the early morning.

“Ready? I’ll be there in 5”, the message read, though I was nowhere close to walking out the door. I scrambled to throw all my gear in my backpack along with headphones and a ClifBar for later.

I grabbed my skis and walked out the door.

Hardly out of the ordinary, but most definitely a rigorous process, this weekend routine is what I have dedicated myself to in attempt to score the best snow I possibly can. I’ve always been an early bird, waking early to surf before school to beat the crowd at San O. But getting up for waves means only a 15-minute drive and a warm cup of coffee with Robie when I pick him up.

Skiing means trekking up I-70 at 5:30 AM, desperately hoping you don’t turn the corner to find miles of tail-lights or an avalanche a hundred yards long. Not to mention the car stuffed full of ski gear and my four friends all competing for a proper position to sleep in.

Finally, we reach the mountain and the lifts have just begun to march in unison. We all stuff our feet into our ski boots, triple check our zippers and ski passes, and head for the slope. Watching your breath swell in front of you as it leaves your mouth while waiting to hop off a lift into some fresh tracks is the greatest feeling in the world.

I remember the headache of waking up and the fatigue that plagued my eyes as I drove earlier this morning, but now all is quiet. One ear hears the encouraging roar of Hendrix, while the other is blasted with hoots and hollers from my friends and the whistling sound of the wind as we float down the first run like it lasts forever.

That day, many lines were ridden and many lifts were ridden. Many high-fives were exchanged and many turns in fresh powder were taken. Despite all of the logistics and the feeling that skiing had been lost in all the resorts and lift tickets, I had fun. My friends and I rode for hours and became one with our skis that day.

Starting my Saturdays with a loud alarm at 5 AM every weekend is the greatest blessing.

- MB

Oliver Ambros