Blue skies, fresh powder and some good friends are the perfect ingredients for a day on the slopes. With the impressive amount of snow the Northwest has had this winter, many high school students are heading to the mountains to ski and snowboard. Whether someone is an instructor, a highly experienced skier, or simply hits the slopes every once in a while, people of all skill levels can enjoy these winter sports.
“In life, there’s so much noise and stuff going on, especially at school. It’s stressful. But when I get on skis and just rip down the mountain, I feel free,” junior Abby Zimmer said.
Zimmer is a ski instructor at Mission Ridge. She spends her weekends up in the mountains, from early in the morning till late at night.
“Every single weekend I get up at 5:40 in the morning to go to work. It’s a lot, but I love it,” Zimmer said. “I pretty much teach all day and then the lifts are open for people who work there at night, so I’ll go night skiing after work.”
Recently, Zimmer has been coaching a group of young children. Although she sometimes coaches kids that cry the whole session, she said this group of youngsters are all well behaved.
“Right now, I have the same kids every single weekend and they’re all 4 years old. They’re the cutest kids in the entire world and they all love to ski,” she said.
Zimmer said her favorite part of her job is during a lesson when her students begin to get the hang of skiing and start to have fun with it.
“They’ll ask ‘Can I keep skiing?’ or ‘Can I take a few more runs?’ I’m like ‘Yeah, go for it.’ I really like when they actually start to enjoy it,” she said.
Zimmer heads to the mountains every weekend for her job, but other people, including junior Jack Nichols, go up to enjoy adventures with friends.
“My good friend taught me how to snowboard just last year,” Nichols said. “Now I go up to Stevens Pass about once a week.”
Nichols isn’t the only one who goes to the mountains weekly with friends. Senior Ethan Pickering hits the slopes with friends at a minimum of once a week, sometimes even two or three times.
“It started out with a couple buds going to Schweitzer last year and we had a good time, so we all started wanting to go up. Then more and more people started coming,” he said.
Pickering said he likes to go up to the mountains because in winter there’s not much to do in town, and also because there’s a lot of bonding between friends.
“Along with the fun of having some buds, it’s nice to have people that we can be competitive with. We push each other to do crazy stuff that none of us would attempt to try on our own or just with parents,” he said.
Pickering and the growing group of weekly skiers welcome anyone who wants to join in on the fun.
“Anybody’s welcome,” he said. “Just bring a good attitude and some gas money and you’re free to join us any time we go up.”