One of my favorite extracurricular activities is skiing. Not only is skiing thrilling, but it is good exercise and COVID-19-proof. Throughout the snow season, my dad, sister, and I drive up to the Pocono Mountains. Our favorite local resort is Blue Mountain. Tucked away in the little town of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain is the perfect place for tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. From the training slopes to double black diamonds, they offer trails for every skill level.

Recently, we went up for a day trip. The conditions were beautiful. The weather held steady all day in the mid-twenties. Tiny flakes greeted our warm gloves and fell into the creases of our jackets. There was a subtle wind at the top of the mountain, which was expected, due to the approaching storm. When I was learning how to ski, my Grandma told me to watch good skiers speeding down the mountain. Did they slightly bend their knees? Yes. Was the alignment of their feet parallel? Or were they doing the pizza position? Absolutely not! French fries for the controlled speed. By French Fries, I mean the pair of skis are side by side. Normally more advanced skiers tend toward this orientation.

I like blue intermediate slopes the best. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried all the greens (easy) on the mountain, along with a few blacks (advanced). Sometimes ice covers the trails in large sheets. When you ski over them, they make a terrible screeching sound. Other times the ground is covered in little ice balls. But most of the time, you will find buttery soft snow or fresh corduroy.

At each lift, employees require mask-wearing, however, this is no big deal. The chair lift is always swarming with skiers and snowboarders. Because of the cold weather, everyone is already wearing facial masks to maintain warmth.

On the ride up, you can watch park rats mastering their tricks. These skiers spend the majority of their time in the terrain parks. You could even spot an owl and maybe a couple of epic crashes too. Overall, skiing is the best way to be outdoors and enjoy the company of family and friends in winter. Look into making a future ski trip and hit the slopes!

— Paige Smagala