This is the view down Zoot Chute at the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, Colo. It’s a 15 minute hike from the top of the Imperial Express chairlift. In order to ski it, you have to basically launch yourself down the slope. No hesitation.
I’m not much of a risk-taker, except maybe when it comes to journalism (that’s why I love new media). I have three kids. I have a lot to live for. So when my guide Lee suggested we climb to the top of this mountain for the “growth” experience, I had some misgivings.
There were a few complications. My rental bindings are set to a “Level II” skier, even though I’ve been skiing since age 3. Why? I have too many friends with torn ligaments, the apparent result of their skis refusing to part with their boot at the correct time.
Also, I live at sea level. The top of Peak 8, the highest chair lift in North America, reaches a blood-boiling 12,998 feet. I was perpetually out of breath.
When you’re standing at the top of Zoot, you can feel your heart pounding, and you’re not sure if it’s the altitude or the adrenaline. Maybe it’s both. When you push off, you wonder, “Will I survive this?”
It is, as one of my old editors would say, a character building experience. But it’s an exhilarating one.
But I skied down Zoot. I did it!
I’m really tempted to say something profound about risks and rewards, but not today. It is what it is.
I highly recommend it.