It was finally time to again embrace the snow and dig out my skis from the shed, after years of being neglected. The occasion was a winter stay in the Swiss Alps, riding powder and finding new challenges off the water.. and I succeeded..
This winter has been one amazing winter wonderland fairy tale. After I made it back from Peru, the hills were lacking snow in Switzerland. Then, the heaven opened up and delivered the goods for a month straight. Holy, moly powder days! I put my snowboard on the shelf the year I started kayaking and traveling full time, at the wee age of 18.. that is only 13 years ago! Since then it has been collecting dust, and actually it still does, as I was skiing all winter here in Switzerland.
And I have to say, it has been a while since I had this much fun. It is fun to start from (almost) scratch, it is fun to fill every day with low-impact challenges, it is fun to every day get better! My partners in crime, yet again, were boys. And they are good skiers and snowboarders, too... so guess what. I have been trying to keep up all winter, and though I lack a lot in grace and style, at least I can say that acutally a lot transfers from kayaking mentality to snow mentality. There is a jump: I want to try it. There is a cliff with good landing: I want to try it. There is a steep coloir: I get really grumpy when the guys tell me I can not go.. but, next year I will!
But of course, there are always the lessons to be learned. The snow is an unstable element, almost more than the water, as at least in the river, you can see the current. It is there, it moves, it flows, and you can judge it just on that quality. In snow, you look at something solid, that very sudden can turn liquid. That is a different aspect of extremeness...
Last week I experienced the first little avalanche, triggered by yours truly. And hey, small as it was, it was still not fun.. I am happy I managed to steer my skis to the side and watch it go down. Respect for the elements. But in the end, it does not make me step back. It makes me craving more. Give me more! More push, more edge, more everything.
Here is to not stepping back, to not being put down, to not get intimidated, but to push forward with respect for the elements, maximizing your potential.