In an attempt to accommodate the comments and views expressed by those who read Mind The Drop Pt. 1, and since I unfortunately don’t know any pros to interview, this article will focus on my own thoughts before dropping into a line. Note – As a mediocre-at-best skier, this may not be as exhilarating as I once envisioned this series to be.
Part 2 – Dropping into a sparsely covered, side-country booter. Stockholm, Sweden.
As I toss my skis off my shoulder and onto the snow, thoughts of the last 24 hours churn in my brain. Close monitoring of my iPhone’s weather app last night told me there would be no snow for the next three days, which I naively believed. Why haven’t I researched a better weather app for Sweden? Who knows.
Since no snow was forecasted (like that would have changed anything) for today, I went out last night with some of my friends. As I have only recently adjusted to the European style of raging, I think I stayed somewhat alive til around 4AM. I am sure my French friends partied until 730 or 8. Waking up around 9 this morning brought quite a surprise. Not only was there a blonde haired Swedish girl in my bed (don’t think I closed), there was also snow on the ground. Nothing serious, but enough to get outside. After chiefing one of the dirtiest spliffs with blondie, I grabbed my planks and headed out.
Working in an area that I cleared of brush and line obscuring branches in August, I was able to pack a run in fairly quickly. The most time consuming portion of the morning was spent trying to accumulate enough snow to build a suitable lip. The severely cold temperatures in Sweden provide extremely light snow, which is difficult to block up and work with. Thus, my lip was about as sketchy as my memories of last night.
Standing about 30 yards away from the lip, I now face the jump I have envisioned for the last 4 months. Working in the woods, clearing lines, and scoping new spots has been a sort of therapeutic practice for me since moving to Sweden. Something about being outside, in the trees and out of the city, brings a sense of coolness and collectivity to my thoughts. I inhale and consider first trick options, which are severely limited. Primary concerns include faulty packing of the lip and a nice face slam, landing backseat and loosing it into a tree, or generally just breaking through the shitty coverage anywhere on the run in.
As I kick the snow off the bottoms of my boots and clip in, I glance up at the rays of sunlight piercing through the snowy pine bows above me. I think of my friends back in California, suffering from a winter of high temperatures and dismal snow fall. I think of the kids I saw in Poland trying to ski down the bank of a sewer pond on 2x4’s. A sudden realization of how fortunate I am pulses through me, and I manage to push all doubts of the drop aside. As my skis slide into the tracks of my initial speed check, I crouch and gather as much speed as possible. Just as we should in all facets of life, it’s time to send it.