Tales From the Keystone State: The Ski Resort

A few days before I moved to the other side of the country, I visited a few friends of mine.

They had been on a short vacation for a couple of days on a ski resort only an hour away from where we all lived and grew up. One of my good friends in the friend group and I impulsively decided to join them for their last night there, because we didn’t really have much else to do.

My friend and I drove together for about an hour and a half in pitch blackness on an empty highway road towards the resort, talking about video games, girls, and the like. I think we both knew that talking about me moving away was too depressing of a topic to discuss.

When we got there we were greeted cheerfully by one of our friends, and he ushered us upstairs.

It was a small place, but very comfortable. A friend who was there that night had parents who owned the place, and it looked like he had been going there ever since he was a child. Pictures of him and his family lined the walls. There was a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen on the ground floor, as well as a treehouse-esque loft up above that you had to climb a steep staircase to get up to.

We spent the night shooting the shit, getting drunk, and watching “Airplane” on the tiny television we had at the place. I hadn’t seen that movie in years. It was great to laugh that hard.

The highlight of the night was when we all decided to head outside and go to the ski slopes, which at the time had no snow on them whatsoever. With golf clubs and beer cans in hand, we walked past the ghost town that was a ski resort in late September.

There wasn’t a soul in sight as we walked half drunkenly past the tiny lodges and empty parking lots, lit by bright orange tungsten lights. It seemed like we were frozen in time, almost as if the world had ended along with most of the population, and we were the only ones left on Earth. It felt like we had been living together at the ski resort for years, perhaps after stumbling upon its abandoned remains or retreating there to wait out an apocalypse.

The feeling of that night reminded me of particular moments of high school and college; those moments where sometimes me and my friends had to take a short break from the action of the party. These moments usually took place outside in the pitch blackness and coldness of night, where you could barely make out the faces talking amongst the occasional clouds of cigarette or weed smoke blown out into the cold air. Meanwhile, the music and lights blared in the background, a distant memory of the happiness that was experienced only a moment ago.

Those were the moments where shit got real for a second, where the dread of our unknown futures, old memories, or platonic love for one another were brought up. Although serious, these were the types of conversations that made you appreciate your friends a whole lot more than you did before.

We eventually made it to the slopes, where I could see in the distance the glowing, sparkling lights of a town perched on up along a hillside, and where I could hear the distant roar of a nearby highway. I then quietly accepted the fact that I was probably going to miss this city.

We each took turns hitting our empty beer cans with our clubs, sending the delicate metal objects deep into a never ending abyss of darkness. As weird as it sounds, there was something poetic about it.

It was like watching right before my eyes the comfortable, routinely, and safe life I had at home being tossed into the dark abyss of the unknown that was my future. I could try to make out how my life would change as a result of me moving, but due to the darkness, there was no way I could truly make out any conclusions.

Afterwards, we walked back to our apocalypse bunker that was our friend’s ski resort home.

We didn’t do much afterwards. We all quickly grew very tired. Three of us climbed the steep staircase and took our places for the night, while the rest of our friends slept downstairs in the bedroom and on the floor.

It was one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had. I think we all slept for ten hours, but it didn’t feel like it at all. I had one of the best dreams I’ve had in a long time too. I was reunited with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time in a weird dystopian version of my high school, and in another scene I briefly cuddled with a girl I had a crush on in college.

I woke up that following morning to sunlight shining down on me from the skylight window, and the sounds of birds.

I hadn’t felt peace, innocence, and tranquility like that in a long time.

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