Moving our bones, allowing new horizons into our lives, is the only way to beat the mundane. The sensation when my edges carve against the mountain, when my bodyweight shifts from one ski to the next, with my hips and core twirling, and every cut igniting something old in my chest, my edges grab tight to everything connecting me to the trees and seas, it’s the sensation that tells me skiing is much more than a sport, but rather flight for my spirit, escaping the mundane. Skiing is my kinship with nature, and greatest gift.
Perhaps the external roots of my existence, when my parents first bid hello on a chairlift, are to blame for the sensation that holds me high in the mountains. Burrowed in an Aspen grove and a log cabin, my childhood bedroom was closer to the swirling clouds of the San Juan Mountains than an interstate or mall: an adolescence teaching how to appreciate the strength and peace of nature.
Our local ski areas, (Purgatory and Silverton Mountain) were my backyard, leaving the largest impact on my young life: skiing. I cannot remember my first day on a pair of skis, as those memories are buried deep in my two-year-old mind. Although I can recall the sensation of pure innocence, (a spark my mother and father still see in my eyes) every time I have ever shared a dance with the mountains.
At age nine my parents placed me on the Purgatory Freestyle Ski team. For nine years, I competed in every discipline of freestyle skiing. For nine years, I threw myself upside-down over moguls, aired out of halfpipes, destroyed my edges on rails and jolted myself across jumps. Competing as a child was thrilling for one reason only; I gained a love for always pushing myself into fear. Every time I felt comfort, I immediately sought un-comfortability.
The sense I get while immersed in a Spanish country with a language I yearn to understand, or while treading the streets of Islamic rule, sends the same sensation through my spine as skinning through avalanche country. There is fear and un-comfortability in what I cannot control and cannot understand. And both force one to surrender their ego and sail with the unknown, allowing for the greatest internal lessons. As I have grown older, my hunger to push myself now lies in visiting horizons oceans from home. Traveling is absolutely timeless and serves the same purpose in my life as dreaming (and skiing).