Summit Ski Week is one of my favorite weeks of the year, along with face-stuffing holidays and the week college football starts. Not surprisingly, I love reuniting with brothers from all around the country, and I love connecting brothers from different chapters with each other. Genuine national unity is something BYX offers that I haven’t seen paralleled anywhere. When my Ole Miss guys get to connect with my KU guys and start talking about doing events together in the coming semester, I am blessed to see the vision of national brotherhood and unity taking root.
This is one of the least programmed events the National Staff puts together. That frees me up to spend more time with the guys, and also allows participants the freedom to spend the day however they want. They can find brothers of similar skill to ski with or hang out at the lodge with the non-skiers.
At night, there are dinners and activities, which give brothers the opportunity to mingle. This semester, one of our evening activities was to watch Rocky IV, in which Rocky (spoiler alert) takes down the massive Soviet machine Ivan Drago. Fun fact: Rocky IV came out in 1985, the same year BYX was founded. Coincidence? I think not. Go America.
Speaking of America, the highlight of the trip was when Nu Chapter alumnus and US Air Force Captain Roy Stone gave his testimony about BYX. He spoke about how sanctifying a season his officership was and how it prepared him for his military career. Roy concluded by presenting Jason Hoyt with an American flag that was flown from a fighter jet on a mission over Afghanistan on September 11, 2014 in honor of BYX. There’s no way to top that moment, but I can certainly share some unfortunate stories of my own from the mountain.
Catwalks. They’re gentle, narrow trails that join one ski slope to another or that wind down the entire mountain. I hate them almost as much as I hate FSU. If you ski, you probably don’t have quite the disdain for them that I do.
The fun thing about skiers is that they have poles to propel themselves forward in the event of absolute loss of momentum. Snowboarders, like National Advisor Jayson Fisher and myself, do not have that luxury. If we lose speed, we are conscripted to hopping forward on our boards like a pair of inbred fish. This happened too many times, including one time we ventured off the path down a slope in an attempt to gain speed and got stuck “idiot-fish hopping” through ungroomed powder. For comparison, it’s like swimming froggy-style through a sea of spaghetti while your ankles are bound to a long blade that only adds resistance.
I repented for all the sinning I did in my head and we completed the black diamond, doing pretty well negotiating through a forest, even catching some air on a few jumps. After lunch we brought the rest of the staff back over to that run because we enjoyed it so much. I did well before, so I got cocky and tried to get even more air on the jumps than before, eating more snow as a consequence. Needless to say, I fell behind the group.
When I finally emerged from the woods, I was about 300 yards from the end of the run and the ski lift was right above me. I saw a distressed skier who was submerged in powder, so I undid my board to go help her. After she was on her way, I went to strap my board back on. Unfortunately my board preferred flying straight down the mountain on its own. I heard chair after chair on the lift yelling, “oh, bro, that thing’s gone!” and “yep you’re not getting that thing back, man!” Thanks, guys.
The rest of my group was waiting for me at the bottom when they saw an object come flying down the mountain. When they found out it was someone’s snowboard, they laughed and expressed their condolences for the poor sap who let his board get away: “Man, that sucks for somebody.” Then they see me trudging down the mountain through 300 yards of powder and they absolutely lose it. It’s hard to breathe at 11,000 feet, and I’m sure laughing that hard didn’t help.
I reached the bottom, too embarrassed and entertained at my own misfortune to be upset. My board had apparently missed every obstacle (tree, bump, rock, person) it passed en route to soaring off a ledge at the bottom of the run into a 12 to 15-foot deep ditch. Awesome.
I was still investigating how to get down when Florida brother Harrison Barron jumped straight down and found the thing. “I don’t know how I’m going to get back up, but I got it!” In the end, it took six people, ski patrol and random passersby to pull him out with my board. Thanks Harrison. Moral of the story, sign up for BYX Summit Ski Week. Also, don’t unbuckle your snowboard to help anyone on the mountain ever.