Skiing season kicks off, students hit the slopes

Nick Lopez

It is an early morning in February, and snow is lightly falling at the Sugar Bowl Resort. While some sleep in warm cabins, junior Mahlee Petri is sitting on a chairlift heading up Kirkwood Mountain.

A freestyle skier, Petri has been hitting the slopes since she was two years old.  She skies every possible weekend from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.. She competes in the Dew Tour, among other highly publicized competitions.  In her style of skiing, speed isn’t a paramount concern. Instead, Petri values taking her time to experience the mountain at it’s fullest . “I don’t like the feeing of going fast, I like the feeling of looking at the world differently. When you do a backflip, you completely see the world at a different angle.”

She and a group of about ten other skiers set up rails and lights all over the Kirkwood slopes to allow them to freestyle ski at night. They start when the sun goes down, when the mountain is completely free of other skiers. Petri said their night skiing operation sometimes get shut down by local law enforcement, but they keep at it regardless of its legality.

Senior Ally Lawton also enjoys night skiing. She started skiing at four years old, and began to ski every weekend possible when she turned eight. She is now part of the Freeride Team, a small subdivision of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team.

“We ski in little groups, and everyone becomes so close. Everyone is super supportive of each other and pushes each other to go further, which is something great about the Freeride Team.”

Lawton likes skiing at Sugar Bowl more than other mountains primarily because of its size. “Sugar Bowl has more of a community because it is smaller, and that’s something that some of the bigger mountains like Squaw and Alpine don’t have,” she said.

Sophomore Cricket Klein feels the same way about Sugar Bowl. Klein has been an avid skier for over 10 years, and will begin teaching others as a Sugar Bowl ski coach starting in 2014. She will be responsible for a group of kids ranging from ages six to nine. “I need to make sure each individual kid understands what I am teaching them, and I need to make sure each of them are always safe on the mountain.”

Both Klein and Petri have gotten concussions from ski accidents, and Lawton has taken her fair share of falls as well. Although these accidents put their skiing careers on hold for a while, Petri, Lawton, and Klein recover quickly, and return to their avid skiing patterns as soon as possible.