Feeling snow for the first time

Daniel, Marina and Mark getting ready to hit the snow. Photo by Marcelo Maia.

“I’m crazy excited. I’ve never snowboarded before!” says Kyle Bailey, a 19-year-old WCU exchange student from Kingston, Jamaica. His facial expression reflects the anxiety of somebody who’s about to jump on to a snowboard and slide down a steep snowy mountain. Both of which he only saw on a television screen.

Marina Carla from Guadalupe, a French island in the Caribbean, and Daniel Eduardo from Chile are similar to him – they’ve never seen snow before and never tried to do anything on it. The slopes of Cataloochee ski area will make their first snow experience unforgettable.

Eduardo seems positive about the upcoming peril. “It’s going to be fun. I have some bad luck when it comes to injuries, but I have to this before I die.”

Unlike them Carla doesn’t seem as excited or thrilled. She sits quietly on the front sit next to the driver, watching as the bus rides through the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway.

Eduardo and Carla arrived in Cullowhee just three weeks ago while Kyle has been here since the start of the school year. They’re all exchange students at Western Carolina University.

The three “newbies” join a learning group, along with their fellow Base Camp Cullowhee colleagues. During the first few hours they all learn the basics, like the different stances and how to turn and stop. It’s not long before the first falls happend.

“I thought it would be easier but once you’re there it gets really difficult. I had a lot of problems turning right and left,” says Eduardo.

With a huge smile on her face, Carla says that skiing required of lot energy from her.
“One slides a lot in the snow!”
Being from the Caribbean,  she was amazed by the Cataloochee Mountain.
“It’s something really beautiful all that white. But it’s also really, really cold.”

By nightfall, after almost five hours of sliding up and down the mountain, the three international friends end their journey and return back to their residences at WCU. They all promised to repeat the experience soon.

The excursion to Cataloochee was organized by Western Carolina University’s outdoor activities program Base Camp Cullowhee, on January 21st.