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When I was a sophomore in high school, I went on a winter retreat with the College Place Presbyterian Church youth group to Kellogg, Idaho. We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights in the Gold Run Mansion. During the days we spent our time up at Silver Mountain, the nights, at the mansion playing games and having fun. I don’t know what convinced me to go on this trip, because I had no idea how to snowboard. I had only gone once or twice before, unsuccessfully, I might add. My friend, Jacey and I were excited to get on the mountain and explore to the best of our abilities, both of us being novices.
In order to get up to the mountain, we had to ride the world’s longest Gondola ride up and down two large hills and over a small part of town. We started out by taking lessons from a man who spoke broken English. He mispronounced her name as Jazie Moherland and mine as Wesley Perndaville, neither being correct. After we got the basics down, we went off on our first real snowboard run. I didn’t realize how many times you could crash or how bad of a headache you could get until that first day of boarding. After each major crash, we’d recite our names, phone numbers and addresses to make sure we didn’t have amnesia, although a concussion was definitely guaranteed.
The nights at the mansion seemed to get increasingly out of hand with our lack of sleep, saying things that made no sense, doing things we’d probably regret. We had ping pong ball wars, played Halo late into the night and played a game we made up call, Hit Em!; where our goal was to hit each other from one side of the pool table, resulting in some bruises and lots of screaming with laughter. We loved every minute of the trip so we decided to go the next year.
The next year was better than the one previous; we made new friends from a town nearby and taught them all that we knew about snowboarding, which wasn’t much. That year though, there was a mini blizzard up at the mountain and the Gondola started to shake. Not only that, but the Gondola was filled to capacity and didn’t aid in our frantic state of mind. We also got to go to the indoor water park and played in the lazy river for hours.
I went on the Silver-Gold Run retreat again for a third time, but this time without Jacey, a sad reality I had to face. But my best friend Nylah, who had never been boarding, went with me. Instead of going on the mountain by myself, I wanted to help Nylah with her skills, which mostly involved her attaching to my legs and slowly scooting her way down the bunny hill. We went inner tubing and back to the indoor water park. Somehow, Nylah and Katharine, my youth leader, convinced me to go on the group water slide; I spent the ride laying on my back yelling about how much I wanted to get out. I will never do that again… I would have to say that going on this retreat has been one of the most exciting, adventurous and chaotic experiences of my life.