Skiing has been a big part of my life.
It was the first sport I every did properly, at two years old. Then became progressively a regular activity, a consumption, an obsession, and then ultimately led to an education and my first profession which later put me into my current profession.
My relationship with skiing has never really entered my mind until recently. It would be what you call a passion. Though for a lot of more recent time been hidden. I have not always loved it, at times hated it, but it has always been what I do and the circumstances around me enabled me to do so. Nonetheless, it has greatly shaped me and I am increasingly grateful for this fact.
This year, for the first time in my life, I went on a ski vacation. Two weeks dedicated to skiing. Sure I have skied over 200 days in single years, skied in every month of the year and travelled to places without a competitive or professional objective to just ski, freely. But this was different, a real ski vacation with no obligation, two weeks in the mountains when the mountains are no longer close. Skiing for the joy of it, the challenge and the ancillary activities were the focus.
Breaking out of the routine of the sport and thinking about its significance, to me, personally, has been really valuable over the past couple weeks. There is something physically about being in the mountains that rejuvenates. There is something mental that puts pieces in order.
In many ways how I ski now, and probably always was, an allegory for life. I no longer do any of the skiing I used to, that be running race courses, but still enjoy freeskiing the groomed runs. However, I am drawn more and more to the investment of hiking off to an untouched peak or couloir. Not so much to conquor but more for the process of analysing where to go, and the journey to get there with the perpetual risk analysis of the cliffs, cornices and glaciers underfoot. The reward is the all consuming journey down the pitch spotted from afar, executing the planned turns but reacting to the snow and slide conditions that change with every turn.
I came to the mountains to think and have come away with a clear embracing of a need to pursue challenge and pursue risk, but smart risk, it as much of what I do every day as possible. It is easy to lose in the day to day professional world where the cult of rationalization removes risk, therefore the reward. Ultimately, when we perform a sport we are hoping to channel a sense of greatness, accomplishing something new or overcoming a fear (be it risk of falling, injury or embarrassment.) This is a healthy drive. A drive I see and hear from many skiers, regardless their ability from first timer to top ranked in the world.
It has been a great trip. Personally, accomplished a lifelong obsession of skiing the Chamonix Valley and in particlar the legendary Vallee Blanch.
It was also a visit to the past, catching old team mates, athletes I onced coached and many good current friends at a Skier-X World Cup in Les Contamines. Gave them hugs and hi-fives, while today I see how they are doing at the X-Games in Aspen - if they win, clearly the boost of my precense made the difference. Clearly.
It has been good, very good couple weeks. Something in spirit to continue for the year. Skiing is who I am, what I do, and everytime I go a reminder of what I want to be. That is good. Nothing too deep and philisophical, just fun and fulfilling. Nothing more.
Anyways, back to regular blogging about advertising soon enough.