It doesn’t take much. Just a gentle push here and there and puff puff, the wholesome love for the one sport that you ultimately took as your own is finally out the window. Gone are the days of waking up to a welcoming white vision of a flurry of snow. Both the mind and the body have moved on from the feeling of fluff under your feet, the floating ease of riding powder and the slightly sadomasochistic sound of sliding around on hard pack. Still, a small part of your being can’t let go.
Bobby Brown lands an extreme balls-to-the-wall trick while Henrik Harlaut reminds us of that there are single cork maneuvers left in this world. Andy Parry treats a double-barrel rail like a trapeze while Phil Casabon takes a simplified approach to presses and slides that resonate with the ever-strong need to identify with our snowboarding brethren. Meanwhile, you haven’t strapped on skis for two years, so why should you give a flying F-formation? You’re constantly reminded of the cost and fickleness of our sport’s equipment through different forums, reading about kids who spend over $2000 on skis and bindings a year and you’ve been decked with the same stuff from head to toe for eight years now. Were the consumerist and fashionable aspects in skiing this high way back when or are the way-too-corny-to-mention-yet-ever-so-real nostalgia glasses just getting so thick on our noggins that they’re practically x100 Carl Zeiss zoom lenses with irremovable stains and wear blocking the real machinations of what skiing meant to you then and what it has become right now?
I still dream about skiing. I am an avid practicer of lucid dreaming and very often after successful dream tests and realizations that I am actually floating upside down in a dream world, where numbers and letters are distorted and easily controlled by my own actions and thoughts, it is actually ironic that such a horn dog as me often ends up skiing down the Alps with Candide backing me up and throwing his hands in the air after my paraded run off a steep instead of banging any unreachable Hollywood hotties on high-quality suede sheets. However, waking up from such a dream seems to be almost a relief nowadays: “Glad that wasn’t real.” Why does my mind run circles around a subject that I’ve begun to love for so many years?
Looking at the past and modern freeskiing world, with a sense of some kind of overzealous ambition to actually become a part of its core, I feel like the never-ending babble about the extreme and stylish aspects of has its roots in two prevalent parties: those, who are too young and clouded by enthusiasm and idolism to see the bigger picture and those, who are growing old and bitter and want to start fires. I wish I had the strength to lie and claim I belong to neither of the previously stated group, but sadly, it wouldn’t be true. At times I feel like I’ve been lying to myself all this time; maybe skiing was not for me after all, as I’m looking at all these people, who put skiing itself ahead of many other factors in their lives, such as beloved friends, families, living conditions and relationships just to take that next slash in the fresh or climb the ladder up to X by pure dedication.
I thought skiing was meant to be a form of relaxation and a ways of expressing your love for snow and winter. As I can admit myself, I’ve hardly pushed myself to progress a skier and that has hindered my willingness to appear on the slopes and streets rocking my gear with my head held high for the one sport I have reached out for – as a sport gets more younger and competitive, the looks you get for not being good at certain aspects of it can be devastating at times. Even brief moments behind a lens can become exhilaratingly obsessive and you see yourself being more worried about getting the shot than waxing your skis, which is another example of behavior that may distract you from actually participating in the sport per se. Yet, one brings himself back for more, but slowly and surely, tiring of it all and almost giving up. As a community, I have found a place to mature my thoughts, see what skiing has and will become even though my only input would be in word form. This notorious community has grasped me in its hold for years on end and it is hard to let go.
It could happen to anyone. Time, money, women, men – the list is endless. One can come up with a million different excuses to quit skiing, or any other sport or activity for that matter, but to start or spark anything up again you only need one thing: dedication. The will to love forever and after, till death do us part, whatever the fuck you end up doing – marketing, politics, nursing, writing, soaked up in alcoholism…
You’re still a skier in the end. Even if you won’t click into skis ever again, even if you’re fed up with every aspect of the sport, even if you loathe it now, keep in mind that you once enjoyed it dearly.