This I Believe

Will - Seattle, Washington
Entered on January 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

What It’s All About

“New powder last night at the pass.” I hear this from the other room, my feet tingle, my blood pumps, my brain stops. I have to get to the pass. My family likes to kid around that my V”lkl skis and Technica boots are on DEFCON-1 in case I need them. That fresh cold snow is just calling for me and the preparation pays off. The readiness is all, a man once said.

It is an hour drive from the city to the pass. When I arrive with some buddies of mine we are ready to move within five minutes. We have done this before.

Swinging on the chair to the top we debate about which runs to shred first. When we dismount we strap in our poles and tighten our boots.

Standing on a rock about to begin the double black diamond just peering over the dead drop I can feel that excitement rise in me; the same one that I felt the first time I stumbled off the chair 15 years ago. I enter the bowl. I read the snow and it lets me turn as I need, recognizing the veteran swings of my skis. We leave nearly all other skiers behind through our path of rocky crags and trees, but when we exit the forest, there is nothing but a 1,000 ft. descent of clear pristine powder untouched by others. This slope has earned the nickname “Secret Garden.” We ski all day, only breaking for lunch at 6,000 ft.

I have learned much more from snow, mountains, and trees about life than from any class or lecture that has been shoved down my throat. Hell, if a rock is in your path, you better move. To get respect, you have to give it. You hear these mantras a million times, but they just have to be engrained in you the hard way. So I respect the mountain, I don’t shave the moguls and I definitely don’t curse it when I fall. Nature is my teacher and I am its student.

Yet at times I am troubled by our projected path concerning nature. It is more than just global warming or global terrorism or globalization that threatens our society – we threaten our society. We threaten nature. I believe we have lost touch not only with other people, but the Earth and the beauty that flows from it. Everything is one sided now. What can I get? What does he have? Who does he know? Can I know him? Me. Me. Me. Enough!

So then what is a relationship?

A relationship is give and take; it is a tug of war between you and another. And as we all know, when one side is more powerful and the balance lopsided, the weak side collapses. There has to be equilibrium. I find equilibrium in skiing. If you pay close attention the mountain hints at which lanes to take and which areas to avoid.

Listen, I am a skier. I am constant and strong and agile and rapid. I am artistic and altruistic and detailed and planned. I have learned these qualities from the mountains others only gaze at. So if you ever see me slide off a 15 ft. cliff or grind a flight of stairs and power on, speed up to ask me why I am so jovial and I may take a quick break from the powder to tell you. Powder. Powder. And that, as I say, is what it’s all about.