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Snowboarding: Prologue

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"There should be a red light blinking or something, surely?"

"Kristoff, it's a cheap digital camera from a catalogue, not professional filming equipment." Elsa raised an eyebrow at him through the lens when the small device was pointed directly at her.

"Ooh, look, there's a little recording thing there. Okay, okay. I've mastered it." He lowered the camera again and turned it off in the interim. "So... remind me again why you're doing this?"

"Because they want someone to  show  off on a snowboard and Anders would only  throw  up."

"... you're secretly glad he can't do this, aren't you."

"Nooo, of course not." Elsa grinned innocently at him, "Why would you think that? I mean, it's only a large audience with sponsors and the like.  Nothing  to enjoy here."

Kristoff snorted, shaking his head, "Whatever, Snow Queen."

"Are you going to keep using that kid's comment against me?"

"Forever and ever, and ever, and ever an- heeey!" Kristoff rubbed his arm, the padding of his jacket not doing much to protect him from Elsa's fist. "I'll stop using it when you stop referencing the antler incident."

"Not a chance, reindeer man." She leaned down and picked up her helmet and board, "I'll see you later. Remember to point the camera at the slope, okay?"

Kristoff shouted a "Good luck!" after her, as she retreated to the ski lift to the top of the massive outdoor slope. The slope was over half a mile long, littered with various obstacles for snowboarders to perform tricks on. It had been open to the public for the day, and now the sun had set, the amateurs who had been playing about where giving way to the professionals, forming a cloud of spectators at the end of the slope. Competitors from various countries were at the Canadian slope to take part in the large scale event, which boasted a large gathering of potential sponsors, as well as serving to garner interest in the sport. The slope was not the only activity; there were displays of everything from skiing to skeleton bobsleigh, and various teaching opportunities for all ages littered around the acres of snow covered hills.

Elsa had shown up primarily as part of the Norwegian speed skating team, their collection of gold medals outshining many of the other teams'. However, when the entire Norwegian snowboarding team had been taken ill with food poisoning, along with a number of other sportsmen and women, she had been convinced - rather easily - to take a spot at the top of the slope. It wasn't the first time she'd been up there, having taken an keen interest in the sport after a dare a couple of years ago, from her younger sister's now-boyfriend, Kristoff. A young Anna had eagerly followed in her older sister's footprints in the snow, both of them dragging their parents to various after school clubs since they were little, and trying to convince them every single year that going to another snow covered country on holiday was a good idea - who needed sun, sea and sand?

Anna's first love had been skiing, and at seventeen had started in a coaching position after spending most of her evenings teaching the neighbour's children how to ski, and various other children who just happened to visit when their friend Anna was taking them up to the mountains for the day. She had spent the showcase coaching children from all over the world, and - as Kristoff had observed - somehow absorbing all their enthusiasm and projecting it back at them ten fold. Wherever she went around the event, at least one child was either following her, or tugging on her sleeve asking advice. The adults were a little more tactful about it, but also appreciative of the young girl's uncanny levels of wisdom. Kristoff had simply stayed by her side and helped her out whenever possible, even if it meant ending up in a pile of snow at the end of a class. Sometimes, when he felt standing around providing a target for children to plough into wasn't what he wanted to do that day, he would offer to help out Elsa.

"... wait, where's the record button again." He fumbled with the camera a bit more, keeping an eye on the display board to see when Elsa's name would pop up. After 'mastering' the camera for the second time, he squeezed his way through the crowd to the front of the observation area, watching people barrel down the slope at ridiculous speeds, cringing when there was the inevitable wipe out, where the snow had been churned up so much during the day it was causing a few problems for the athletes. A few people landed hard, but Kristoff, and the rest of the spectators, had expected nothing less.

He almost dropped the camera when Elsa appeared at the top of the slope, so enthralled in the action he forgot the reason he was there. He fumbled with the device, pulling his glove off with his teeth so he could hit record, and aimed the camera up at the figure in dark blue at the top of the slope. He swung the camera to the display screen to catch it showing Elsa's name and the Norwegian flag, before looking back to the slope and slowly following Elsa's descent.

As with every run, nothing much happened for the first few seconds whilst Elsa crouched low, gathering speed before the first hill. She popped up onto the first obstacle - a rail positioned alongside some stairs - grinding to the bottom and continuing to pick up speed. She had to compensate quite a bit when she landed, as many of the previous competitors had done, the dirty snow sending her off course for a moment before she corrected. She flew over the next jump, grabbing her board with her right hand, pulling it behind her, letting go at the perfect time to land on the snow.

Kristoff frowned; even from the bottom of the slope he noticed her dip her head ever so slightly as if she were looking down at her board. Elsa swerved from left to right slightly, slowing herself down a fraction before the next jump. It was only sheer horror and the resulting inability to move that meant he caught the next thirty seconds on video.

Elsa had landed the medium jump easily enough, her reduced speed limiting the amount of air she got and consequently the size of the trick. As she landed, Kristoff saw her cast another glance down and just as she looked to be pulling up short and giving the final jump a miss, she hit a huge patch of dirty snow and couldn't pull up in time to stop herself going up and over the largest of the three hills. She wasn't able to take off in a straight line, veering far enough off course that when she landed, it was to the side of the hills and in the drifts near the flimsy plastic barrier. The lip of Elsa's board caught in the snow, the back of the board rearing up and sending her flying through the plastic and careening into some nearby pine trees.

Even from where he was stood, he was able to hear the snap of her board and the sound of Elsa connecting with the trees, and it was as if the rest of the world had fallen silent. It was more than enough to pull him from his stupor and he hauled himself over the barrier, shoving the camera in his pocket and running up the steep hill faster than any of the support staff. He pushed aside a couple of men who tried to stop him from reaching his destination, not bothering to waste his breath on an apology.

"Okay, relax your arms, otherwise you'll be all sore before you've made ten feet!" Anna grinned, holding onto a young boy's hands and slowly skiing in front of him down a small incline. Backwards.

"That's it... that's great! Well done, Andrew, that was brilliant!" The five year old grinned and awkwardly made his way back to the end of the queue of children, all waiting for their first trip down the slope. Anna side stepped her way back up and took the hands of the next child. She was on the way back up for her seventh trip when she heard a crackle over a support staff radio.

"...ical response to main slope. Repeat: urgent medical response to main slope."

She apologised to the class and scooted over to the staff member, pointing at his radio, "What's going on?"

"I think one of the snowboarders had a crash on the main slope. A biggie, too, 'eh."

"...  which  snowboarder?"

"Uh... Dave!" The man yelled over to his colleague near another coaching pen, "Hey, Dave! D'you know who it was in the crash?"

"Oh, some Norwegian girl, 'eh."

"There y- ... and you've gone."

Anna tore away from the class, grateful that this late in the evening, it was simply too cold for many of the casual visitors to the event, and they had left before the sun had set. She tried as best she could to use her skis to her advantage, but on the compacted snow of the footpaths it was simply too much work for too little ground, and she simply abandoned them in the middle of the snow, running in her heavy boots towards the slope upon which she knew her sister - the  only  Norwegian competitor - was a participant.

It seemed to take an eternity for her to reach the boundaries of the slope, and through the throng of spectators she could see what looked like all the medical staff at the event. She quickly glanced up; the blood drained from her face when she saw 'Arendelle' in huge letters on the display screen. She elbowed her way to the access gate to the slope and started running over to the scene, screaming her sister's name. She dodged as many of the support staff as she could, but one man managed to finally bring her to a stop.

"Anna, no!  Anna !" He held her tightly in her arms, lifting the hysterical girl off the ground and walking away from the choas with her, wincing whenever her heavy ski boots made contact with his barely padded shins. "Anna, you can't go over there!"

She pounded on his arms with her fists, but he wouldn't release his grip, "Kristoff, let me go! Let go!"

"Anna, there's nothing you can do, let the doctors help her!"

She shouted at him again, but her three minutes of panicked sprinting had brought on a massive adrenaline dump and a crash to match. Her attempts at wriggling free slowed and she merely sagged in Kristoff's arms, watching the swarm of doctors and medical staff do who-knows-what to her sister, barely able to hear Kristoff's reassuring murmurs into her hair - her sister was alive, she would be okay, she was getting the best help...

Anna's knees finally buckled and she sank to the snow, Kristoff slowing her fall. He continued murmuring to try and soothe her as she watched Elsa get loaded onto a stretcher and carefully moved down to the base of the slope, before being taken away in an ambulance Anna hadn't even noticed arrive.