Ford Sayre Travel to Colorado
By Natalie Copeland
Every year during Thanksgiving week, I travel to Colorado with my ski team, Ford Sayre Academy. We usually arrive in Denver late at night on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We then make the two-hour drive from the airport to our condo in Keystone. By this time, it is far past my bedtime, and I am barely able to keep my eyes open, not to mention lug a ski bag containing two pairs of racing skis, another large ski bag with ski boots and gear, and my backpack full of homework. What seems like a few
hours later on Saturday morning, we wake up early, take a light jog, eat breakfast, pack our lunches, and head to the mountain to arrive before the lifts open. Our team skis through the day, right up to the mountain’s closing time eight hours later. Then we head home, do about an hour of dry land training, make ourselves dinner, attempt some homework, and finally go to bed. It is a long, exhausting week, yet I always look forward to it.
One of my favorite parts of this trip, unsurprisingly, is the amazing Colorado panorama. The feeling of being completely and blissfully insignificant compared to these vast, white mountains overwhelms me every year. Yes, New England is beautiful and I love living here, but by the time I leave for Colorado, the landscape at home is brown and dreary. Therefore, when I arrive in Colorado, it seems like a winter wonderland, perfect, beautiful, and white.
In addition to the scenery in Colorado, I appreciate the opportunity for camaraderie. Our team this year consists of eleven athletes and two coaches. There are no parents with us, and our coaches give us leniency, expecting responsibility and maturity in return; they are not the type to breathe down our backs or bark orders at us every second. As the athletes, we are responsible for preparing the meals and cleaning up afterwards. We take turns with various jobs and rely on each person to complete their assigned tasks. This team dynamic is unique, but it works well for us. We learn to work together as teammates and cooperate as any regular sports team does. Although this is not always easy when you are living with your teammates for a week straight, we know each other’s faults and weaknesses and learn to accept them. At the end of the week in Colorado, I can truly say that I have a bond with each of my teammates, as well as my coaches, that I did not have previously.
Sitting on the flight back to Boston, with our parents waiting for us at the airport, we go through a transition once more. Our minds shift from being a full-time skier back to being a student, a son or daughter, a sibling, or a friend. We look forward to that home-cooked meal that our parents lay on the table for us, to seeing our friends again, and to sleeping in our own beds. But we remember the experience we’ve had, and we take it