Winter Carnival

Being a Canadian doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a fan of snow. But it does mean that you know how to live with snow. For fifteen-year-old Madison Robart, that meant signing up for one of her high school’s Winter Carnival activities. Held one day each year at the beginning of February, Winter Carnival allowed students to choose between skiing, ice skating, curling, or staying behind to make elaborate snow sculptures.

“What are you thinking about doing?” Levi Saunders, Madison’s crush since the first day of high school asked as they filed into second period math.

“Mmm, I’m not sure yet. What about you?”

“I’ve already signed up for cross country skiing. That way I can say I’ve gone skiing, while avoiding the traction I’m sure I’d end up in if I tried downhill.”

Madison laughed, like she laughed at a lot of the things Levi said. Then as soon as math was over, she signed up for cross country skiing.

When the day rolled around, students couldn’t have asked for better weather. A foot of snow had fallen just three days earlier, but this day was sunny, with no wind, and the temperature right at the freezing mark. Cold enough to keep the snow in place, but not too cold to make anyone unbearably uncomfortable.

It was a forty minute ride out to the ski resort, and even though Levi had chosen to sit with one of his friends on the school bus, he was right across the aisle from Madison, so in her eyes it was the same thing.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” Madison said.

“Neither have I,” Levi said in return. “Maybe we should stick together. The search party would likely have an easier time finding two lost skiers than one,” he then joked.

A little more than an hour later, the students were out on the trail.

“Oh oh,” Levi said another twenty minutes after that.

“What?” Madison asked.

“One of my poles just broke. I better head back and get a new one. Come with me?” he asked Madison.

“I don’t know if I like the idea of two students heading off on their own,” their teacher, Mr. Crosby said.

“It’s safer than one person wandering off alone,” Levi said, only this time without a hint of humour.

“Alright, but try and catch up as fast as you can,” the teacher said.

Madison and Levi made no attempt to catch up as fast as they could. They were too busy finding out more about each other.

“Who’s your favourite singer?”

“Taylor Swift.”

“Really? Lame.”

“This coming from the guy who likes Gary Numan. My dad listens to Gary Numan.”

“Touché. What’s your favourite movie?”

Midnight in Paris. I’m going to move there one day and become a famous chef.”

“Me too! Only I want to move there and become a famous artist.”

“Ooh la la! All time best book?”

A Complicated Kindness.”

“Ah yes, teen angst, Mennonite style. Good choice.”

On and on they talked, for a good two hours, before finally catching up with the rest of the group who were having lunch at the resort’s restaurant.

“There you two are,” a concerned Mr. Crosby said. “Did everything go okay?”

“Better than I ever could have imagined,” Madison replied.

After that day, Madison found herself spending more time outdoors than she ever had before in the winter – and spending more time with Levi. Suddenly she had gone from living with winter to loving everything about it.

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