The Gnarly Side of the Mountain
By Jean Boonstra
The ski slopes would have been bad enough on a clear day, but with a storm rolling in, Grant and Theron were in real trouble.
Grant swished across the smooth snow and glided to a stop at the bottom of the ski run. “Theron,” he called out to his friend, “let’s try the other side of the mountain!”
Theron looked up at the mountain peak looming in front of them. The sky was getting darker, but he was ready for the adventure. “OK,” he agreed and skied with Grant towards the lift.
“You guys ever been up there before?” the ski lift operator asked as he lowered the lift bar for Grant and Theron.
“No, first time,” Grant answered
“It’s pretty gnarly,” the ski lift operator said. “Have fun!”
Grant and Theron locked eyes. “Gnarly?” Grant whispered. “What does he mean?”
“I don’t know,” Theron answered, his eyes matching Grant’s worry.
The friends looked down at the terrain below them. The ski runs were steep, and they could see boulders and trees everywhere. This side of the mountain looked nothing like where they started.
Theron looked up at his friend. “We need to pray!” he said. Grant nodded in agreement.
“Dear Jesus,” Theron prayed, keeping his eyes open just enough to see the rocky terrain below their skis. “Please get us off this mountain safely.”
“Amen,” they said together.
The wind whipped around them as the ski lift clicked to a stop at the top of the mountain. Grant and Theron skied off of the lift into the wind and whiteout conditions.
“There’s the ski patrol shack,” Grant said, pointing. “Let’s ask if there’s an easy way to ski down this mountain.”
A woman with a concerned face, wearing an official ski patrol jacket greeted them. “We’re closing all the ski lifts on this side of the mountain,” she said. “You boys need to ski down and catch a lift back to the other side.”
Grant remembered the rocky terrain they’d seen on their way up. “Is there an easy ski run to get us down the mountain?” he asked.
“There’s a map on the other side of the shack,” she answered. “You’d better hurry,” she added.
Grant and Theron skied over to the map. “Grant,” Theron said brushing the snow off of the map. “This isn’t good.”
Grant gulped as he read the map. Every ski run was labeled double black or expert double black. “Oh no, these runs are all for expert skiers. What’ll we do?”
Grant and Theron felt the panic begin to rise in their throats when they heard a noise. Turning, they saw someone in an official ski patrol jacket with a name badge reading “Ben.” He held a snowboard under one arm and smiled at them.
“Excuse me,” Grant asked Ben. “We’re not expert skiers. Would you be able to help us down the mountain?”
Grant and Theron held their breath. Would he help them, or would they be stuck?
“Of course,” Ben said, setting his snowboard on the snow. “Follow me. Stay close,” Ben added, “these whiteout conditions mean that you can’t see very far ahead of you.”
Grant followed Ben, and Theron followed behind him. Keeping his eyes fixed on Ben’s ski patrol jacket, Grant navigated the turns and slid across the snow and around the trees and boulders.
Did Grant and Theron make it safely down the mountain? Did God send Ben in answer to their prayer? Listen to the rest of this true-life story called, “Ski Patrol.” Grant plays Judah on the Discovery Mountain podcast. Hear him voice this real-life experience!