Photo credit: John Atkinson
#1 meeting mentors
If you have been lucky enough to have been paying attention when a mentor popped into your life, and you took the time to learn what was to be taught, you will like this story.
In the fall of 1977 my buddies and I had a nightly routine when our local area was making snow. We would climb up each night and move the snow guns to make snow where we wanted it. We knew their schedule and could hang out after our repositioning for several hours before the crew would return, scratch their heads and put the snow guns back where they wanted them. We could then reposition them one more time as we headed down the mountain and got rest for the next day.
When the opening day finally came we were at the top waiting to ski down long before anyone had started to wait in the growing lift line we could see below. It had snowed quite a bit but we knew where there was a good base of man made snow under the layer of powder from the night before. As the first riders were cresting the knoll near the top we pushed out from our perch in the woods and skied top to bottom non stop. At the bottom instead of getting in line we headed of to another section of the ski area that was not open yet and proceeded to climb to the top of that peak.
We waited patiently once again while the mountain crew got this lift shoveled out, tested and open to the public. When it finally opened and the first riders were approaching the top, we once again popped out onto the lift line and skied it to the bottom. Little did we know that there was a skier who had waited in both lines and was on both first chairs that morning. Nor did we know it would be his mission to seek us out and ski with us.
When Dennis came up and introduced himself to my group of diehard ski bums later that morning, my buddy Tim was just finishing up his “ trade for today’s lift ticket” which was shoveling of a big cement patio that would be filled with excited skiers celebrating after some great powder runs later that day.
He was a great fit and brought a ton of enthusiasm to our group so at the end of the year when he said “ it's spring and the snow is melting here in the east but there is still a bunch out west! Let’s got out west and ski there!”
I replied “I make $30/week and room and board there is no way I can go with you.”
Dennis replies "I own a farm and you can work off your debt when we get back, I know I will get my monies worth out of you.”
Off we went and boy did we see the west! From Jackson Hole and Snowbird to heli skiing, Dennis showed me a whole new world, a world that took (his) cash! I knew working this debt off was worth it.
When we returned from our trip Dennis tossed me a set of keys to a brand new tractor trailer truck and told me to go practice driving it! At 20 years old and ready to travel, driving a big rig to farms and produce outlets all over the east coast sounded just fine to me!
Over the next 5 years the mentorship in hard work and good values and friendship that Dennis and his family showed me, were etched into my being for a lifetime!
The experience of the open road and traveling to farms and produce centers along with navigating so many different ways of the people I met from drivers and dock workers and family farms, helped me navigate world travels down the road. These years also meant winters off and therefore quite conducive to skiing everyday and the means to figure out how to budget for the winter ahead.
Had I not taken risks and opened my friendship to this mentor of mine, I wonder how would life be different today.
Listen each day to all your surroundings, life has turns, make them your own, Eganbrutha
Photo credit: Steve Casimiro
This has been quite a year for my family and me with the loss of my Dad and other mentors like Warren Miller and Brooks Dodge. This has me thinking about some of the things that I need to get off my ass and just do. Warren always said, “If you don’t do it this year you will be one year older when you do.” My dad had a similar saying, “Time and tide wait for no one.”
So here we go with the start of Shred Talks...
I love to ski. I never get bored by it, or feel like I have experienced all skiing has to offer. Skiing is the word I use, but riding a snowboard or telemarking are all in the same game.
Ahhhhh...but what game is it exactly? I believe it is a game we get to play with energy. Gravity is alive and well 24/7. Gravitational pull gives us free energy (speed). In most sports, the energy to play is generated by the player or players. The throwing, swinging of a club or racket, kicking or running are all good examples of this.
As skiers we also do not get braking devices or throttles or steering wheels. Unlike other sports we also do not get to see a puck, ball, goal post or opponent. We play with an invisible force - gravity - and it does only one thing to all things and beings - pulls down. It is downhill skiing after all and the secret is in the name.
Imagine you are part of an equation. No longer you, you become momentum and are traveling down the hill as fast as math says you would according to the gravitational pull on you and the surface/substance and pitch at which you are playing on or in. This momentum or speed is the thrill for many of us and the feeling that makes our sport so fun. Remember you did not have to run, jump, dance or swing to get this speed. What would it look like if football players did not have to run to get down the field? If swimmers did not have to kick and stroke to move through the water?
I challenge you to watch most skier/riders and notice how much body movement there is. My guess is the you might agree with the statement that most look pretty stiff and the body length does not change as it would if these folks where running, jumping or dancing. I like to know this speed and play with it. Running, jumping and dancing in our sport, takes away energy and that energy is speed. I believe that skis are the coolest sneakers I ever get to wear. And if I can run, jump and dance with skis on my feet while in the state of momentum, skiing will take place. Therefore, skiing is the result of mixing two energies.
Momentum + mojo = skiing.
Just looking at the equation above, you can see the word momentum is bigger than the word mojo. If these are energies, we could imagine that momentum is pushing mojo down the hill.
What if...momentum +MOJO= skiing?
In this example the MOJO is bigger than the momentum and I believe would result in slower skiing. If these were number equations and skiing was the mathematical speed at which you would travel. I would say:
Move fast = go slow.
Move slow = go fast.
We are all effected by gravitational pull when skiing and its equal for all. This is free energy. We need to move our bodies to dissipate or enhance this energy. We can move our bodies fast or slow. We walk and run with the same body but just move at different speeds or cadences to get the speed of that walk or run.
Let’s take a break here and get out there and ski some. Use the ride up the chairlift to notice how cool it is that so many folks are enjoying gravity in their own individual ways. Much like we all walk or run differently we are all still walking and running, we will all ski our own little ways differently but the body must move to ski or we are just skidding down the hill with big pain in the asses stuck to our feet wishing our boots worked better.
Till next time. Feel the turn,