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!