Life Lesson from Skiing

Change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, and asking us to change our precious routines can be like asking a charging moose to just stop. I, like most, feel good about change when I’m behind the steering wheel with my foot on the gas peddle initiating the change. However, if it’s change that I am not in charge of, I instantly balk – without really taking the time to stop and figure out whether this change is really bad, or if I just think so because I didn’t come up with it.

Take yesterday morning for example. Dan and I had decided the night before to do a local back country ski before heading into work. When we woke up, it was gusting horribly, and we knew that the local hill would be just like it, but worse. But we pigheadedly tried to give it a go, only to be shut down by snow that had been drifted by the gusting wind deeper than my knees across the road. So we went up to Eldora for a little skate skiing. This was a change I had not anticipated – it was not part of my nice little morning plan that fit very nicely into a small package. I managed to move on, but when something quite large came up yesterday as well – a big change absolutely out of my control – and I instantly freaked, a couple hours later on the drive home from work, I was thinking about it. Change does not have to be bad, and life, just like skiing, is going to throw curve balls at anybody.

Skiing has the ability to teach many important life lessons – and going with the flow and not being rigid is a huge one that I should apply to my life. Skiing is naturally a fluid sport. Last winter, with the lack of snow, Dan and I adapted and did more back country nordic touring than planned, because that’s where the snow was. You may be going out for an awesome time, but you hear woomphing and see cracks shooting off in the snow – you slowly back away and leave the mountains for a time when they are feeling less explosive. Skinning up Neva last spring, desperate for that swooping feeling, Dan and I were forced to turn around in the midst of falling rocks from the unnatural warmth. That line may be the most enticing looking thing you’ve ever seen, and you can just imagine how it would feel to ski it, but there’s a menacing cornice hanging directly over it. You really, really want to make that sweeping turn right there, but you know that it’s bony underneath this nice fresh two feet of snow, and that nice little lump of snow is not a lump of snow, but rather, you suspect, a large stump hiding in wait beneath the snow, waiting to give your season a twist.

Skiing is fluid. Life is fluid. And from the thing that I love most, I must take that lesson and apply it to life. Be fluid, make plans and goals, but when the proverbial cog gets stuck in the wheels, don’t become flustered and freak out, absorb it just like you would those nice little rollers on Windmill up at Eldora right now.

Dan skinning

Get out there and enjoy our holiday snow!

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