Keeping it Real Fun
Coming out of tradeshow season, re-focusing on why we do what we do -- you gotta keep it real, and you gotta keep it fun.
This past Presidents’ Day weekend was a great chance for me to get out in the backcountry and to ride the local lifts and be reminded why the hell we do this thing.
Yes the political chatter along with our industry’s heated discussions about trade show timing and location has been a lot to digest, not to mention coming out of the month January (I logged about 19 days on snow including Chamonix on my birthday) and the thick of trade show season, it’s super important to remember why we all got into this industry. Fun. Life. And more fun.
Some locations around the country last week were experiencing record snows, like Mammoth Mountain, I’m sure you saw the pictures on Facebook; while others like Jackson Hole have been having just simply great conditions all year, and the East Coast has sustained a season-long comeback, as well as much of Colorado and Utah having been blessed. That said, record high temps on Colorado’s Front Range have presented some challenges, but it was great to see all lifts running at full capacity under gorgeous skies throughout the Rockies over the holiday weekend, the last of its kind until Spring Break.
Just yesterday I was out for a morning skin with one of my closest mentors, with no objective in particular except to get some fresh air, and I admit I was really wrestling with some difficult life decisions. “Let’s just stop right here for a minute,” he said once we got into the woods. “Let’s just think about what it means to be here. Why are you here?” I could barely hold back my tears as the sun streaked through stalwart pines, kicking my poles around in the icy snow and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. And so we agreed to take that feeling away into the world.
What exactly is “that feeling”?
“It’s a combination of an adrenaline rush and the views from on top of the world before testing your limits on the borderline between fear and enjoyment, where the fear becomes fun. How much faster can I go? Am I gonna make that next turn?” said Aaron Dressel, one of my local mid-week ski buddies. “Unlike other sports where there’s a fixed trail, with snowboarding there’s an infinite number of lines that can be taken. We all end up at the same place, but how we choose to get there is your choice.”
“Some people scope out lines for years until they have the guts to do it, the skill level to complete it, or the right conditions, and the right combination of smart calculated choices and stupidity,” he continued. This really rang true to me and took my mind off that morning in the trees.
Later that day I ran into another skier and competitive snowshoe racer whom I’ve long respected. What’s that feeling, I asked knowing he would have the answer. “It combines the challenge of being able to get and stay anaerobic with the quiet of our winter wonderland,” he said. “Nordic's graceful flow is impact free but is such a high-octane endeavor. It’s elegant suffering.”
What’s your word for why we do what we do?