Everything she had worked for led up to this day. (for some reason I want this sentence at the end of this paragraph - or maybe give it its own line. Plus that way it starts with Stevie. Just a thought.) Her snowboard strapped to one foot, Stevie Ryan rode the ski lift in the morning sun. She tucked her earbuds in beneath her snowcap, inhaling the evergreen air until her nostrils tingled. On the mountain peaks, freshly fallen snow shimmered against the jeweled blue sky. Conditions were in check for an optimal performance. Add in the perfect song popping on from her playlist, and Stevie’s pulse quickened with a bit of snow-athlete-Zen. God, I love it here.
As the half-pipe came into view, the taut muscles in her legs flexed instinctively. Soon, it would all be worth it—all the sweets she’d given up, and late nights with friends; all those weekends she’d risen at daybreak, while other teens were sleeping in. Today belonged to her, and she couldn’t wait to feel the wind behind her as she slid over the smooth frozen surface. If the mountains and snow were her church, then snowboarding to her tunes was her religion, and she had last year’s freestyle title to prove it. But this winter’s competition wasn’t about defending an old title. Today was about stealing a new one—for first place in the ladies’ half-pipe. With it, she’d seal the deal for making the Winter Olympic snowboarding team. Now those are some high stakes. And can I add that I love this paragraph!
The lift stopped and Stevie made her way to the waiting area atop the half-pipe. Other athletes were already gathering, waiting their turn to reap some oohs and ahhs, and hopefully snag a title for themselves. As a kid growing up on the slopes of Colorado, nothing could earn respect faster than a championship snowboarding or ski title—something Stevie had tasted for herself last winter, and had become her invisible badge of honor.
One by one, the girls took their turns, the crowd of watchers cheering and whistling. Stevie’s lips twitched from side to side as she focused on the boarders’ performances, evaluating their technique and scores. The arena pulsed with music to pump up the crowd between contestants. Anxious, Stevie cranked the volume on her MP3, drowning out anything that could break her focus. Wow. All I can say is I want some more and this is totally not my kind of story. I'm not into the Olympics or sports much - except as a casual fan of the Red Sox and the Celtics - and I don't ski or snowboard nor to I wish to learn how to. But these few paragraphs really made me care about Stevie and what she wants. And I want to know if she's going to make the Olympic team! Nice job PK :)