Submitted by Caroline Dillon

Driving across the country in the heat of August, with a good friend and happy dog, it was hard not to get excited about prospects out west.  The snow, the rock, the mountains in general, and all the people that live below them and live for them were calling my name.  After spending the summer on crutches due to ankle surgery, I was itching to move.  Two thousand miles and a dozen empty coffee cups later, I made it to Salt Lake City, Utah, a place I’ve called home for over two years.  Salt Lake is where I go to nursing school, where I work, and most importantly where I ski.

After leaving the Green Mountain State, I found my way out here as an excited and enthusiastic 18 year old and since my arrival I’ve only become more psyched on climbing, skiing, hiking, and all things that involve the Wasatch Mountain Range.  But as we all know, with these passions come risks. Thanks to the Flyin’ Ryan Scholarship I was awarded in May of this year I have been able to further my education and appreciation for the mountains.  I traveled north to Bozeman during the same month and crashed on a good friend’s couch while taking a Wilderness First Responder course at Montana State University.  I work at a climbing wall on my school’s campus as well as leading trips for the Outdoor Recreation Program.  Both of these jobs are oriented highly toward safety and to ensure protection for those who I teach to climb in the gym and who I lead outdoors, I chose to become a Wilderness First Responder.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to become more knowledgeable and skilled doing what I love.  With every new endeavor though, I keep Ryan’s core principles with me.  I am honored to have been coached by such a strong and positive skier.  He set a high standard  for what it means to be a solid athlete and person.

Fall is here and the snow has started to cover the peaks that surround the Great Salt Lake.  For all of you taking the time to read this, I hope it comes down light and white soon enough.  Keep a smile on your face and your tips up!