A recollection of my first time visiting Wintergreen Resort

Who knew Virginia had such good skiing?

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Amber Wall is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. 

Riley Walsh | Cavalier Daily

It was too late to join VASST — the ski and snowboard team at the University — but I still wanted to take advantage of the open skiing trails I had seen on my friend’s Instagram story from Wintergreen Resort. The last time I had gone skiing was over winter break, but after a day, my brother broke his arm, and my family had to drive back six hours from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California, returning home to see a doctor. After deciding to take matters into my own hands and buy a lift ticket for one Thursday afternoon, I was finally able to visit the ski resort that I had heard all about from people at school. 

When I chose to come to the University, I had no idea that there was even remotely good skiing anywhere near Grounds. I expected there to be a few days of decent snowfall each year in Charlottesville, but I never realized that I would be able to drive just one hour to ski on actual trails with chairlifts and everything. 

Piling up the ski clothes, goggles and helmet that my mom had brought after visiting me one weekend, I was ready to hit the slopes. The drive to Wintergreen was surprisingly scenic with wide stretches of farmland, more cows and horses than I could ever imagine, and even a few decent looking hole-in-the-wall restaurants that I could totally imagine being featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” We didn’t end up stopping at any of them because my friend refused to give up time skiing to eat in the middle of nowhere, but I was glad because we got there just in time to see the sunset. 

After struggling to figure out how to put on my rented ski boots, we took our first chair lift up to the medium-difficulty blue square runs. I had missed the feeling of gliding down the mountain with only the sound of snow passing under my skis in my head. The people I skied with were exponentially better than me — one girl even competes on the racing team — but it was a fun night, considering I avoided falling. Unfortunately, since it was nighttime, only a few runs were open, but I am proud to say that I mastered the Eagles Swoop run at Wintergreen after going down it more than five times.

On our way back home, all of us were so hungry and tired that most people in the car slept before having to get back home to do homework. I forgot how exhausting skiing was — for just a few hours — but I have to say that it was some of the best exercise I’ve gotten in a while. I do spin classes almost every week in the Charlottesville area, but nothing could’ve prepared me for how sore I was after skiing. 

I was exhausted when I got back that night, yet a wave of refreshment came over me at the end of the day. I felt energized just thinking about skiing down that mountain — or perhaps, more accurately, that decent-sized hill — a thousand more times. It didn’t matter that I was drained, skiing with friends that day is still one of the best memories I have made thus far in my second semester of college. Though my friends were much quicker getting down the mountain than I was, catching up wasn’t too difficult, and I eventually got the hang of things. Despite the fact that I’m not anywhere close to being able to race for the ski team at the University, I could see myself getting there one day.

Like me, many students at the University probably wouldn’t have even considered trying skiing here, but practically anyone can do it — no matter your skill level. It could be your first time ever clicking into skis, and there’s still a run on the mountain that will appropriately challenge you. 

With Wintergreen so close, going once or twice a week as a break from classes will definitely give me a chance to hone my skiing skills. My experience that Thursday even renewed my goal to make the University’s ski team next year, and I look forward to taking advantage of the good snow until the end of March. 

Who knows? By 2022, I might even be ready for the Winter Olympics if the whole college thing doesn’t end up working out for me! 

Amber Wall is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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