Young Writers Project: What’s Your Excuse?

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 21 other newspapers and on This week, we publish responses to the prompts, Excuse: Create the wildest excuse for why you didn’t do something; and Photo 6. Read more at

Prompt: Excuse

Late night? Too honest.

Your hungry dog? Overused.

Car accident? Freaky.

Flat tire? No sympathy.

Family death? Far too dramatic.

Flying purple-people-eater? Funny.

Broken bone? Suspicious.

Last-minute errands? Save it.

Lost the keys? Boring.

Snow storm? Yeah right.

Sick? Stay at home.

Closed road? Um, detour!

Motherly duties? Plan ahead.

Earthquake? Didn’t feel it.

Zombie apocalypse? Fired.

Kidnapped? Learn self-defense.

Lost shoes? Plain.

Spilled coffee? What a klutz.

Broken elevator? Better run.

Overslept? Finally, honesty.

But ... You’re still fired.

Prompt: Photo 6

The day was cold and windy
The sky was cloudy and gray,
The snow fell down in flurries
Before the wind rushed it away.

Some may think it’s lonely
The life of a ski-lift chair,
But I think nothing’s better
I would much rather be here than there.

I meet so many new people
Every single day,
We have so many conversations
Until they go on their way.

Some may think it’s cold
But their presence keeps me warm.
It allows me to appreciate
The beauty of the storm.

I love everything about it,
There is nothing more I want,
Except perhaps for it to be longer
Wintertime in Vermont.

A bitter wind cut into my already frost-bitten face. Little drops of water were frozen on the ends of my eyelashes from when I had bathed. My feet were frozen. They felt like blocks of ice in my worn boots. I couldn’t feel them, let alone move them! I pulled my hat down further over my eyes to keep the pelting snow from getting to me. The wind whistled around me.

The trees swayed, or rather swung, back and forth, back and forth, until I was sure they would be cracked by the icy wind and hurled through the air by a mighty gust.

The impossibly deep snow groaned beneath my heavy feet as I walked through it, step by step.

I squinted, and it was then I was able to make out through the blizzard a ski lift. I suddenly found new energy, and was able to make my way through the snow to it.

The lift’s deserted chairs were rusted, and it creaked like the bones of an old man, but I didn’t care. I knew it was my ride out of the lonely and solitary woods of Vermont. Climb on, and I’d fly right into the hands of another adventure. 

The wind howls,

The snow blows,

The single chairlift never slows.


A little child of seven or eight

Is worried that she can’t open the gate,

Nervously thinking about her fate.


When she arrives at the top,

The gate is easy, there is no lock,

The view could make her jaw drop.


But today it is covered in snow flurries,

It is extremely hard to have any worries,

Yet, every skier hurries ...


Down, down, down,

Fast, fast, fast,

Always to be first and never to be last.

Many skiers were waiting in line for the notorious single chair lift at Mad River Glen.  The snow gods had lain a beautiful two feet of snow the night before.  I was sitting at the upper deck of the lodge, putting on my boots, preparing to wait in the long lift line.  Although the line was about a 40-minute wait, I couldn’t resist the urge to get face shots of powder all day. 

I got all my gear on and went down to the base to put on my skis. After, I skated over to the chairlift where I waited and waited for my turn to go up. Finally it was my turn, and I could see which chair I was going to ride, #11, I thought, my lucky number.

I stood at the “Wait Here” sign, which was almost buried in the snow, waiting for the chair to come around the wheel. I sat down and it scooped me off the ground.  I yanked the bar across my body to ensure that I would not fall off. 

The chair ride was scenic as the new snow had draped the trees.  When I reached the top it was a near white-out. I could barely see ten feet in front of me.  I decided to take the main trail under the lift. These were the best conditions I had ever skied at Mad River Glen. Every turn I took, the powder flew up into my face, like you see in the movies. I felt like a superstar out there, flying down the mountain, as if I was floating over the snow. 

The day flew by and after only four runs, the mountain was shutting down. This is what you get at Mad River: Ski for 15 minutes, wait in line for 40. You just have to be prepared for that. Some people love the mountain because it is unique; that it has the only single chair in New England. Others, like myself, prefer high speed lifts, so you can get your money’s worth, but skiing is my passion and anytime I can get out, I try to make the best of it.     

About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through the Newspaper Series (and and the Schools Project (


Vermont Writes Day

Feb. 7, 2013

Students, teachers, all writers!

Across Vermont (and New Hampshire!), people are setting aside just 7 minutes on Feb. 7 to write!

Find out more at or

Next Prompts

Package. The UPS truck arrives with a huge box addressed to you. Whatís inside? Who is it from? Alternate: General writing. Due Feb. 15.

Eternal night. You wake up one morning and the sun doesn’t rise. It doesn’t rise the next day either. What do you do? Alternate: Silver lining. When bad things happen, how do you recover? Due Feb. 22.