Disclaimer: I don't own Ski Free, Bill Gates does, or someone like that. However, Bondy is my abominable snowman! He DOES exist! Rawr! Lol, uh, yeah. Enjoy!

Best Left Un-faced

Talia was a pretty good ice skater. She'd been doing it for years upon years, and her mother always loved her performances. Ever since she'd been a kid, her mom would clap and scream, and Talia would slink away, hoping she had become spontaneously invisible. However, that was never the case. Her mother seemed intent on embarrassing her at every opportunity possible. Today was such a chance.

Every summer, Talia's family went on a vacation. It was actually less like a vacation, and more like a religious pilgrimage. Her parents were so enthusiastic about them, and even her older and younger brothers enjoyed them. Talia would have rather stayed home. If she saw another petting zoo or wax museum again in her life, it'd be too soon. But still, this summer looked promising. This time, instead of going out to see the biggest ball of yarn in known existence, they were going to Colorado to go to a ski resort.

Now of course, Talia loved the cold, and she adored winter sports. Her dream had always been to skate in the Winter Olympics some day, and she watched them fanatically. She wasn't as good at skiing as at skating, but needless to say she was excited about their upcoming trip. It seemed finally that her parents had acquired some shred of sanity in their vacation planning. Talia hoped it would be an adventure she'd never forget.

Time had passed quickly, it had really only been a week, after all, but everyone knows how time drags for the anxious. All of their tickets were in order, Talia was just tucking her favorite winter coat into her suitcase, and they were due at the airport in two hours. Her brothers were excited, too, she could hear Alan chasing David down the halls, pretending to be some scary snow creature. David was only two years younger than Talia, but he was an impressionable boy. By the time they got there, he would probably believe that a snow monster would eat him. Talia laughed as Alan peeked into her room with the ugliest monster face she'd ever seen.

"Ha ha, don't keep that face too long or it'll stay like that!" Talia giggled.

"RAWWWWR!" Alan added before continuing his pursuit of David.

Yes, this was shaping up to be a rather nice summer. It wasn't a very famous resort, it was newer than most, and Talia hoped it would be as good as her parents promised. She kind of hoped to meet a cute, nice boy there, as are usually the wishes of teenage girls, but she would enjoy the skiing, with or without sexy male companionship.

As they boarded the plane, Talia smiled to the flight attendant. Privately, she wondered if the job paid enough to cover all the plastic surgery that the woman had received. But, she was sure there must be some redeeming quality to the woman and the job, so she let it go. It was a rather big airplane, one with the three seats in the middle and two on each of the sides. They weren't poor, but their parents liked to keep a small budget (so they could take more vacations, of course), so their seats were in coach class. Alan and Talia got to take the two seats by the window, and David had to sit with their parents in the middle. He complained of course, but they told him that his older siblings fought less. The plane took off and everyone was glad to finally be underway.

"By the way," Alan asked, "What's the name of this resort we're going to?" Talia shrugged.

"Beats me." She replied. "I think Mom said it was something like Ski Fall or Snow Free. You know, nothing cool like Aspen or Breckenridge. I'm sure it was much cheaper to go where we're going." Alan nodded.

Raising his voice so David would here, Alan concluded, "Well, I hope their number of deaths due to snow monster attacks aren't too high."

"Hey!!! There's no such thing as snow monsters!" David was fuming. Talia and Alan laughed as their parents calmed David down, and everyone settled down to enjoy the rest of the ride, as much as one can enjoy stiff seats, sore butts, and popping ears.

After getting to the airport in Colorado, it was only a short drive to the ski lodge - short drive meaning one long hour of treacherous uphill cliff skirting. Eventually, they all made it to the resort safe and, more or less, sound. Her mom was the first to get out of the car, as was custom, and she'd go around opening all the doors. "Welcome to Colorado's newest and most beautiful resort, Ski Free!"

Talia did have to admit that it was a really pretty place. The snow hung just right on the numerous coniferous trees, many different species gracing the hills and slopes. She could even swear she saw rainbows off where the setting sun hit the powder kicked up by a few skiers still on the slopes. Her mother had finally picked a gem. After 18 years, she'd finally have a vacation worth telling all of her friends about.

As they walked up the driveway to the front doors, Talia checked off things to do first. She had to pick up their rented ski gear, then she had to decide on a course to go down. She figured a cute sweater, a scarf, and a mug of hot cocoa would accompany her perfectly as she sat in the lounge reviewing the courses. Who knows? She might even find a skiing partner in record time.

After the long ordeal of getting their things up the elevator, Talia had gotten all of her stuff put away in the drawers and had claimed her bed. Going into the bathroom, Talia changed into her prettiest red and white sweater and brushed her hair. Checking her small bit of makeup, she turned off the light and went out into the room. Alan was there, already putting his CDs in the radio. He grinned at her as he popped in his favorite band, Mindless Self Indulgence. Talia grinned back sarcastically as she picked up her scarf and left. Really, she couldn't stand MSI, but whatever floated his boat. She knew they'd be listening to Dashboard Confessional when she got back.

It seemed kind of unfair to make them share a room, but Talia and Alan were used to it. David had always been the least mature child, and so he slept in the second bed in their parents' room. Talia and Alan never really fought physically, but they liked to try and get the best of each other mentally. Like the music thing. They had similar tastes, but their favorite bands just seemed to irk the other. Talia smiled to herself, remembering many times she and Alan had had competitions of the sort. However, her mind was set. She would wake up very early in the morning tomorrow, as soon as the slopes opened, and she had to decide now which course to go on.

Going to the small bar, she flashed the young man behind it a cute smile and he gave her a free mug of cocoa. Things were turning out great already. She smiled at him again before heading over to the large posters of the different courses. The bunny slopes were okay, and the pro course was really out of the question. She needed something in the middle. She had all week, but something fun to start was mandatory. As she perused the posters, one course caught her eye. It was the beginner's slalom course. She'd never done slalom before, but she'd seen it for so many years in the Olympics that she thought it would be the perfect course for the next morning.

Smiling happily to herself, Talia sat down to finish her cocoa. There were really plenty of cute guys around, and quite enough of them passed long glances her way. She sat alone on a nice wide red sofa, practically inviting company. But, it was late, and people needed rest. No one came, but Talia was undaunted. She did have all week, after all, and that was plenty of time to attract some cute snow boys. Dropping her mug off at the bar, she waved to the bar boy before skipping up the stairs. Just a few short hours away lay her first adventure on the slopes.

The next morning, Talia rose with the sun. Alan was still snoring, he'd been up late watching a movie. He wasn't a big fan of skiing, but he did love snow. He'd get out there whenever he finally did, probably attracting the attention of many of the snow bunnies. Of course, they both thought most of the girls were airheads, but he had to keep up appearances. Putting on her warm clothes and her favorite coat, Talia went out the door. Her skis waited for her in the lobby, and the slope waited just outside. Today would be wonderful.

A cute older guy had helped her get her skis and directed her to the ski lift. She made a mental note to check him out later, older boys were best. Riding up the lift, Talia saw the slopes pass beneath her. It was beautiful this morning, the snow was white and the air was clear, and few people were out and about so early. The signs came saying that the slalom course was ahead, and Talia got ready to get off. Another cute young man helped her at the top of the slalom course, and she flashed him one of her winning smiles. She wondered if these adorable young men had any brains inside their pretty skulls, but that would have to wait, for now the slalom stood before her.

Talia remembered her first time skiing. Alan had convinced her, too, that there was a snow monster waiting somewhere down there to gobble her up, and she had been very afraid. She hadn't wanted anyone to see that she was afraid, so she went alone, which made her more afraid than ever. But eventually, Talia faced her fear and had a great time. Thinking about it made her wonder, but really, there were no such things as snow monsters. It was time to face that fear again, and this time put it to rest.

Talia pushed off and started down the slope. She gained speed, and saw the first red sign ahead of her. Turning, she easily looped around it, looking for a blue sign. After she had passed quite a few signs, she had decided it was just as easy as they made it look on TV. This was a beginner's course though, and she was sure the signs on a real one were much closer together. It was really quiet out, not even the birds seemed to be awake yet. The only sounds were made by her skis, swishing the snow back and forth.

For a moment, the air seemed to get a bit colder. Talia pulled to the side so she could zip her jacket up all the way. She noticed that it really was quiet out. She must be the only person on the slopes. The animals in the forests bordering the slope were all quiet as well, and Talia smiled. She liked being alone in the wild. Putting her gloves back on, Talia started down the slope again. She heard swishing some distance behind her. A quick glance at the sun told her it was late enough that other skiers would be out, and she felt a pang of regret.

Aiming for the next red sign, Talia saw someone fast approaching on the hill just above her. She thought they were going a little fast to be just a beginner, and wished the pros would stay on the harder courses. The next blue sign loomed in front of her and she passed around it, enjoying the rush of the cold air on her skin. The other skier was right behind her now, she could feel his presence. She hoped he wasn't going to hit her. Talia looped around the next red sign, and was immediately knocked to the ground. Anger welled up inside of her, and she brushed the snow from her face as she turned to yell at the guy.

Unfortunately, the guy yelled at her. Or, rather, growled. You see, Talia's firm denial of his existence had angered him, and Bondy the Abominable Snowman felt he deserved credit when credit was due. He ripped off her head first, and that was the last thing Talia ever saw. No cute boys, no fun ski trip, nothing. Why was this? Because she had refused to believe in the existence of Snow Monsters, proving once again, the moral of this story:

Some fears are best left un-faced.