(Black) Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Stiles class lined up for their lessons!

You see it all the time in movies: the super rich classmate casually drops, “I’m going to ski at the Alps for the weekend.”

I am not rich, nor do I own a private jet that can get me to the Swiss Alps, but I got to tell all my friends, “I’m going snowboarding this weekend…” on the Yale dime! Specifically, on my residential college (Ezra Stiles)’s dime.

Every other year, Yale’s residential colleges arrange a trip into the mountains. At the low cost of $40, we get access to helmets, skis, poles, snowboards, boots and even lessons for beginners! I could hardly wait.

We piled into two giant luxury busses at 5:30am on Saturday. The Stiles college aides decided to play High School Musical on the bus screens, which was a super fitting choice since legendary lovers Troy and Gabriella meet at… you guessed it… a ski lodge! Before we knew it, we arrived at Okemo Mountain Resort, in Vermont.

Okemo Ski Resort
View from the top of one slope.

So began the endless amount of fun. I saw my friend snap on a pair of skis for the first time. I left her in the capable hands of Okemo’s instructors, and set out with my snowboard to explore the thrilling, endless slopes of Okemo. I experienced the most high tech ski lift ever: “The Bubble.” Okemo houses America’s first and only six-person lift that offers heated, cushioned seating. We were shielded from the elements by yellow-orange glass. Riding the “Bubble” to the top was sheer luxury.

The resort is more expansive than anything I’ve experienced in California (shocker). Most trails were open, and at every fork in the trail I’d open my resort map to make sure I made it back to the right base. I was in pure heaven, getting lost in an endless resort.

trees lining a ski path
Beautiful ski paths, every turn a mystery.

After four hours of lessons, I took my friend to the top of the “magic carpet” and expected her to zig zag down the gentle slope. Instead, I had the unforgettable privilege of seeing her barrel down towards the resort at the base, miraculously hitting no one, collapsing into a tangle of limbs and skis and poles at the bottom. After seeing that she was unhurt, I did everything a good friend does: laugh and laugh and laugh.

friend getting ski lessons
My friend receiving a personal ski lesson and a pep talk from the instructor.

After six hours, we piled back into the busses, physically exhausted but exhilarated. Throughout the trip, there was snow moment where I was board. To be honest, I think I’ve peaked. It’s all downhill from here!

me and my friend!
Forever melting for this girl.