As the lift comes around, it carries you up until a 360 view from the mountain tops presents itself below. Tiny people who look like ants swerve down the mountain, shredding fresh powder. You feel the cold mountain breeze blowing as you fly downwards to the bottom of the mountain; it is that time of the year again. It is time to ski, snowboard and be on that adrenaline high in the icy cold winter.
At the top of the mountain, the only place to go is downward. The rush of zooming straight down without feeling the concept of friction gets the blood flowing. The opportunity to ski and snowboarding is highly anticipated all year until it is finally winter and junior Caroline Saenger is at the forefront of that excitement.
Every year, Saenger drives to Vail, Colorado, to ski and snowboard. At 8,022 meters above sea level, Vail is a small town at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Vail is known for its ski resort, a famous gateway for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. “I go to Vail every year. It’s a family tradition and it is hands down my favorite place to go. I have gone there ever since I was little,” Saenger said. “My entire dad’s side of the family goes and my cousins come back from college, it’s like a family reunion even though I see them often throughout the year.”
Of all the aspects of Vail, Saenger likes the slopes the best and the unique village there. “It is my favorite place to be. The weather at Vail is always good for skiing and snowboarding too.. I like to go early morning to shred that fresh corduroy [when you can still see the lines left over from the bobcat that grooms the slopes and trails overnight] or fresh powder [when it snows overnight and it is the perfect pristine slope with no tracks on it],” Saenger said.
Saenger goes to Vail for the entire winter break each year. When she wants to ski and snowboard other times, she goes to slopes nearby. “Vail is across the country so when we don’t feel like traveling across the country, we go to Liberty or Whitetail locally,” Saenger said. “Sometimes my ski trips even spill into school.”
When Saenger was 10 years old, she met American World Cup alpine ski racer, Lindsey Vonn. Vonn has won four World Cup championships and is one of only two female skiers to do so. “I got her autograph and it was so exciting to meet such a decorated athlete like Lindsey,” Saenger said.
Most people ski down green or blue slopes, but Saenger enjoys zipping down double black diamonds and doing tricks and flips on terrain parks as well. “I like going on double black diamond and doing tricks at the terrain park to give myself a challenge. I only do alpine skiing; I do not like cross country skiing. The downhill speed and rush of adrenaline is the main part,” Saenger said.
Saenger has skied beginning at a young age. “As long as I could remember, my grandma got me in ski school when I was four and I started skiing more with my family at about six. I went through a lot of snow pants,” Saenger said. “I have grown up skiing and I’ve always loved it. It’s fun to race down the slopes and the whole atmosphere of being on the slopes and even in the town at Vail is simply amazing.”
Saenger had to learn how to ski down double black diamond the hard way. “When I was in seventh grade so like 13 years old, I went out for the day to ski with my cousin who was a senior in high school at the time. He accidentally took me down a double black diamond in Vail, which is much harder than a double black here because it is in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Vail generally has harder slopes. I sprained my knee that time, but I am glad I started like that because I am no longer afraid of it anymore and I go down it everytime now,” Saenger said.