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"Clip his pass next time." the radio crackled in the liftie's hand.

"Copy that." the liftie said, "it was that kid Joey, from the ski team."

"Yeah we know him," The radio crackled, "do what you can."

"Roger that." The liftie tossed the radio onto a bench outside the hut and waited for the next chair to approach us. 

"Sorry about that, the kids on the ski team get a little out of control sometimes." he said to my dad.

"I'll say, lil shit." My dad didn't usually curse, which is why it made me awkward to hear him speak like that.

"We'll get him, he's pretty easy to spot. Damn fast that kid, but he's always breaking the rules."

"Well good luck catching him." My dad said, smiling now. The Liftie had let the chair pass and we waited.

"Next chair's your's, it comes in fast so be ready." The liftie said, directing his words at me, I suppose thinking because of my age I was only of novice ability.

"Let's move Nick." My dad said. I pushed along the icy ground as fast as I could. 

This chairlift was an old style, two-seater, and it didn't slow down when it swung around the bull wheel. The cable tightened and  the chairs seemed to pick up speed as they came toward us. The liftie reached out with both arms to suspend the chair for an instant, but the second it touched my legs, it accelerated and I fell back into it. 

My dad reached across to make sure I didn't slip out and I backed my body against the back of the chair and felt safe. We rose up and away from the lift station and looked down on the fresh tracks from when Joey had skied into the fenced off area.  We rose over the first ridge on the chair ride.

Ahead of us the chairs rose to the top of the next peak, when we crested it there was an entire run fenced off. It had a race course set up with gates, and there were small groups huddled together in various spots on the hill. .

At the top of the course stood five skiers, some of them about my size. They were going one at a time, waiting until the skier in front of them was almost done the course, and then pushing off from the entry gate. The remaining skiers banged their ski poles together in support each time one of them started out.

My dad had his ski poles tucked under his thigh, which left his hands free. He took off his gloves. 

"Remember this?" He asked, pulling the chocolate bar out of his jacket.

"Oh yeah." I said, excited. 

There were four skiers remaining at the top of the course, I thought.

"You warm enough to take off your mittens and share some with me?"


"Let me help you." he tucked his gloves under his thigh next to his poles. 

"Those kids are pretty fast," I said placing both hands against my face after repeating the method with my red mittens.

Three kids remained.

"You're faster than you think." 

"One day, I want to be a ski racer."

"Why's that?" My dad asked, handing me a chunk of the chocolate bar.

"I think I could be more fast, if I tried." I said, and pressed my teeth deep into the Oh-Henry's cold-hardened caramel. 

Two kids left.

"I'm sure you could." he said, and pressed a button on his wristwatch.

"What are you doing with your watch."

"I'm timing them." he said in a matter of fact way. He looked into my eyes, and then back at his watch, and then we both turned to watch the racer that was skiing down the course. 

"Is he fast?"

"I don't know. But Nick," He pointed down at the racer, "Watch the way he sets up his turns, how high above the gate he is when he starts his turn."

"That's a good thing?"

"Yup, that's how you want to do it."

One kid stood waiting for his turn to go.

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