10 Life Lessons I learned Skiing

As someone who was on skis before she was out of diapers, skied every winter for 33 years, and raced on the D1 collegiate circuit, before relearning recreational enjoyment, I'd say I grew up on skis.  (Oh and my middle name is literally snow.)

And was the mountains are one hell of a school to attend.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I still remember the awe of my first double black, accomplished by the old school parenting, “you can do it” shouted as my Dad sailed away, and so I did. Hail storms, lighting storms, blinding snow storms.  Milestone victories I can still feel residual joy from and wrecks I was afraid pick myself up from.  I even fell into a lake once, but that’s another story. 

But to me skiing is mostly joy and camaraderie, absolute freedom in nature, arcing through whistling crystal blue silence, feeling muscles and metal carve through snow.

Distilled, here are hard won lessons learned in the mountains, but which serve me daily creating a meaningful life on and off the snow.

Ten Life lessons I learned skiing :

1. The first turn is always the hardest. Life is a head game, make that turn, and the rest will link up.

2. Check in and adjust as you go.  Be open to even the small opportunities for improvement.  In skiing, ironically, tweaking your hand position is often an easy fix for all sorts of big picture problems.  Never discount these chances to improve.

3. Be independent and enjoy the ride, but look to friends, in the tough times and in the good times, too.

4. Look past the obstacles, never straight at them, in order to sail right past. (Hello, tree skiing.)  I cannot state the importance of this lesson enough-mountain or life.  You will go wherever your focus on.

5. 90% of what actually happens on the mountain is about preparation. The hard work you do in land training and mental preparedness shape what happens on the slopes.

6. Be focused, but have don't forget to smile and enjoy— play your tunes, have munchies in your pocket, and take in the beauty you get to see on your courageous journey.  You are in your one precious life after all, this is not a training run!

7. Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you.

8. When you land on your face, assess, and then allow yourself a good laugh.  You are human and allowed to make mistakes, falling with style is a good reminder of this.  (For added points, stick the landing with some flair for the judges.)

9. Never be afraid to ask for advice.  You will learn so much, make friends, and you truly never know who you will meet (in the lift line of life!) and what adventures will follow a simple conversation.

10. Whoop it up whenever you are feeling it.  Squash any thoughts of being mature and holding it back – you’re alive, your rocking your life and you are blessed.   Love it and celebrate it!

Berlin, a designer's dream city

With my design traveling 710 New Balance red sneakers on and ready to travel we headed out to get coffee in a city proud of it's coffee.  (Sadly getting down to my last pair of these amazing shoes Kai/NB!)
We organized our days around coffee and breakfast, and this turned out to be a brilliant strategy, as hip coffee shop = hip neighborhood.  And after the caffeine kicked in there was time to check out the amazing deep and intense history of Berlin.

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In preparation for his run, Ryan checked out the finish of the Marathon at Brandenburger Tor while some kiddo's warmed up for a short inline skating race.  I had never seen a roller blade marathon, but Saturday there was a full roller blade Marathon before the runners on sunday.  It was pretty cool honestly, and looked slightly more viable to me, though still rough.

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Brunch at Roamers, quite possibly the best in Berlin, a city of brunches!  And the people watching here, like all of Berlin, is awesome and the crowd here in particular could inform NYFW of what is coming next!

Brunch at Roamers, quite possibly the best in Berlin, a city of brunches!  And the people watching here, like all of Berlin, is awesome and the crowd here in particular could inform NYFW of what is coming next!

Lazy Saturdays done right - the European way, unhurried over a beer and a cigarette in Volkspark Friedrichshain.

Lazy Saturdays done right - the European way, unhurried over a beer and a cigarette in Volkspark Friedrichshain.

After starting our day at Silo Coffee in Friedrichshain we wandered through the park, and I was reminded of yet another reason I love Europe, and miss calling it home.  These people know how to live well.  Whether it was a game of bocce, a picnic overlooking fields and then Fernsehturm (Television tower)  fly fishing lessons in the park or more dogs living the good life, weekends are taken seriously here.  And dogs like well, by the way.  Even at fancier, restaurants like Neni, where tourists make up half the guests, dogs sat politely under the table, and throughout the city well behaved dogs ambled alongside owners off leash.  I am pretty sure my dog Mia is a Berliner at heart.

What remains of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is stunningly beautiful.  Also be sure to go across the street and check out the Bikini Berlin, the other end of the design spectrum, and a must see stop.  Cool pop up shops for local designers, food stands and events abound.

What remains of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is stunningly beautiful.  Also be sure to go across the street and check out the Bikini Berlin, the other end of the design spectrum, and a must see stop.  Cool pop up shops for local designers, food stands and events abound.

The restaurant, Neni Berlin, atop of the achingly cool 25 Hour Hotel has a cool Ace Hotel vibe, but with a uniquely German and Berlin aspect.  Be sure to check out the Monkey Bar across the hall after for drinks!

The restaurant, Neni Berlin, atop of the achingly cool 25 Hour Hotel has a cool Ace Hotel vibe, but with a uniquely German and Berlin aspect.  Be sure to check out the Monkey Bar across the hall after for drinks!

Memorial to the Murdered Jews

Memorial to the Murdered Jews

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The Memorial to the Murdered Jews is a deeply moving memorial to walk through the 2,711 tomb like columns which wind slightly and vary in height set in the location of a key Nazi administrative site in the 3 million murders. 
Looking across the Memorial to the Murdered Jews, into Tiergarten, the memorial bleeds out into the city, into daily life, in an uncomfortable way, intentionally reminding us of the ambiguity of difficult subjects like guilt and innocence. The Memorial has been controversial, one reasons being that it is only dedicated to the Jewish dead, and so further memorials have been created in Berlin to the many other groups murdered in this era, including Catholic, Homosexual and Gypsy.

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As a creative, Scheunenviertel felt like ground zero for contemporary designers, thinkers and urban chic in the way that drew me in and felt like home.

As a creative, Scheunenviertel felt like ground zero for contemporary designers, thinkers and urban chic in the way that drew me in and felt like home.

Here are three boroughs which anyone artistically or architecturally inclined must check out after starting with your day gently with stellar coffee;
Ora in Kreuzberg
Silo Coffee in hip Friedrichshain
the Barn Roastery in Scheunenviertel area of the Mitte

Ora in Kreuzberg was a must for us, recently created in an old pharmacy in the east, this chic coffee shop is open til 4am, with a simple menu but fabulous old school apothecary decor.

Ora in Kreuzberg was a must for us, recently created in an old pharmacy in the east, this chic coffee shop is open til 4am, with a simple menu but fabulous old school apothecary decor.

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While planning the long weekend in Berlin, my father told me that as a young man he got a visa & went through Checkpoint Charlie, when it was the gateway between wildly disparate worlds.  No one knew that he had crossed the Wall, and the East Berlin people he met were desperate and scared, looking to him for money, hope, clothing-anything.  He said it was an extraordinary experience and also deeply unnerving.

Walking through Berlin this weekend, finding how much I love this vibrant city and the warm people, knowing my father walked in a moment of its painful past, however briefly, really brought home how recent it all is. And how resilient this city is.

 

More of Maine's Unique Wilderness Preserved (controversially)

Having lived in Maine with the wild rocky coast and dark beautiful mountains, the state hold a special place in my heart. I am SO thrilled to hear about the new huge tract of land to be preserved, in spite of the controversy. I cannot wait to head up there and explore! Read Adventure Journals full article about the challenging journey to this accomplishment in the link below.

Obama Creates Katahdin Woods National Monument in Maine
Adventure Journal

By Steve Casimiro August 24, 2016

Made possible by a private donation of 87,500 acres, new park is more than twice the size of Acadia National Park.

Maine has a new national monument. This morning, just one day after the family behind Burt’s Bee donated a huge parcel of land to the United States, President Barack Obama signed a law creating the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The announcement was timing in conjunction with the National Park Service centennial, which is August 25.

“The new national monument — which will be managed by the National Park Service — will protect approximately 87,500 acres, including the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot River and a portion of the Maine Woods that is rich in biodiversity and known for its outstanding opportunities to hike, canoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, snowshoe and cross-country ski,” reads a fact sheet released by the White House. “In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area — together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west — will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest's resilience against the impacts of climate change.”

Full Adventure Journal Article Here