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"Gotcha." My dad said. He  grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the gondola. 

My skis fell out of my hands. A liftie picked them up and handed them to my dad. The experience startled me, but nobody else seemed alarmed. I acted like it was no big deal and followed my dad towards the next gondola. 

"How long does it take to get the top?" I tugged on the sleeve of my dad's jacket.

"If I remember correctly," my dad reached into his jacket and pulled out an Oh-Henry bar, "it takes just enough time to split one of these." 

"Nice." I said.

"Here we go." The liftie said.

"You ready?" my dad asked.

"I think so."  I answered.  

We rode out of the terminal with nine people onboard. I found a way to lean my weight against the front of my boots and was just getting settled into a comfortable position when our gondola swung down into the mid-station terminal. Everyone in our gondola took a collective step inward and I got pressed against the edge of the bench seat. Nobody said anything and the doors shut again and out we went, whisked away up the mountain. 

When are we going to split that chocolate bar, I wondered. There was no way I was going to ask my dad out loud in front of all these strangers. I didn't want to look like I was greedy, or addicted to chocolate  (like the kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who falls into the river of chocolate and gets sucked up the big tube).

This was a special day and I wanted to show my dad much I'd grown up. If he knew how cold and wet my feet were, I'm certain he would have gotten upset with me.

There wasn't anybody as small as me on the gondola, and when my dad spoke I looked up and saw the rest of the adults chins turned toward him.  

"Must have a hell of a blindspot riding those things."  my dad said.

"What." Said the snowboarder standing across from me.

"We've seen the way you people ride, it's reckless." Said the skier standing next to my dad. 

"The skiers are the ones who don't look where they're going." a second snowboarder said. 

There was a small gap between my dad's leg and one of the snowboarders and I was squeezed between it. Behind me their conversation continued. I pressed my face against the steamy window and looked down. My feet didn't hurt as much anymore, but my feet were sure soggy. It didn't bother me, I was too interested in watching the tiny skiers underneath me. 

They cut and wove through, and around, tree's and each other. Some were floating down the mountain alone, cutting large, lunar shaped turns into the open hillsides. Others were in groups and cohesively negotiated the frozen terrain with bursts of movement and collective pauses to regrouping.

"We're pulling in." my dad said. I turned around and we had crested the final rise. The cable holding our gondola became horizontal. Ahead of us I watched as people stepped out of their gondolas and got hit by blasts of wind. 

With my teeth I pulled my red mittens further up my wrist and looked up at my dad. 

"Lets go ski..." But, before I could finish the sentence, the door opened and frigid wind exploded into my face. 

"Wooooohooooooooo!" Screamed one of the snowboarders. 

"Foolllooowww mmmeeee." My dad yelled. The wind was blowing tiny pieces of snow and ice all around inside the terminal and I tried to focus on what was happening. The wind and the sound of the gondolas was so loud I didn't know what to do.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhh." I yelled. Nobody could hear me but I kept yelling as I followed my dad outside, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

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