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Out of respect for Sean and Jennifer, I vow to keep my eyes open for our run through the forest. They are clearly experts in their field and their youthful enthusiasm — laughing in the face of danger — reminds me or our Keystone exploits 28 years ago. Our goal back then was not to have a goal for a brief moment in time, to live strictly in the moment before we embarked upon “real life.”
Now, at age 50, I am putting my life in the hands of these young adults, who, like us years ago, have chosen to live in the moment. No doubt, one day Sean and Jennifer will leave Keystone for more promising career paths. But no matter where their lives take them, today they are at the top of their game.
Slaloming between clusters of aspen and spruce trees while maneuvering a loaded seven-foot stretcher is no easy task. Several times, I come within inches of a tree trunk but Jennifer’s hard tug on the ropes behind me sway the stretcher back to the path that Sean is expertly cutting in the snow.
“I can see the opening,” yells Sean as he guides us to a treeless landing. “We made it! We’re back on Mozart.”
Jennifer snaps off her skies and unties my straps. I stand up and shake the snow off my jacket.
“You guys are unbelievable. I can’t thank you enough.”
“We’re just doing our job,” says Jennifer, stepping into her skis. “We’re halfway down this intermediate run. Can you ski it yourself, or do you want us to follow you?”
“I’m fine on my own. But this time, I think I’ll stay the course.”
Jennifer and Sean laugh heartily, wave goodbye and take off with the empty stretcher still between them.
I start my slow and careful glide down the mountain.