For as long as I can remember, I have been a skier. My parents started me skiing when I was 3 or 4 years old, I can't remember really. I can still see the mountain where I learned to ski at when I look out the windows of my house, now a downhill mountain bike park after the snow operations went out of business years ago. The trails are cut to say SKI when you look at them from across the valley, I see them every day. A lot of my earliest memories are of skiing with my father. I have pretty much been skiing since I learned to walk. 22 years now or so.
My dad and I at the now closed Highlands Ski Area.
For those of you who are naturally athletic (which seems like most of you, everyone I meet on the hill is skinny as hell), you may not think much of your history skiing, as its likely just one of many sports you play. Growing up I was never particularly athletic. I played some little league baseball and soccer as a kid until about the fourth grade, when I broke my arm and discovered that video games were much more fun than all those boring team sports and real-life activities. From there I pretty much got more and more out of shape. Through all of middle and and most of high school, I was one of the 'fat kids'. Having gotten out of shape, any sport that involved a lot of running really killed me, and at that age I did not have the fortitude to push through it. If it caused pain, I didn't do it. The one sport that left me, was skiing. I didn't mind the leg burn from skiing, and I was never really winded from doing it, so every winter, while other people stayed inside lamenting the cold, I was outside skiing. My best friend and I had season passes for several years throughout high school at the mountain where I now work as a ski instructor. I soon realized, that I could ski better than most other kids at my school, and better than many of the other adults I would see on the mountain. Skiing became the one haven I had from people giving me shit about not being good at this or that. I was not a park skier than, just a kid who could rip up any trail you put him on, and enjoyed the challenge of a really steep trail, or heavily wooded glade. It has always been the only sport that I would put up with extreme amounts of discomfort and pain for because it has always been worth it to me. My several years in high-school that I had a season pass for are when I really started getting more graceful and talented in my all-mountain abilities. I remember a day, sometime in high-school where my dad told me that he thought I was better than he was, and I didn't believe him. He taught me to ski, so how could I ever be better than my dad?
Me hiking Tuckerman Ravine sometime during my Highschool years.
Even though I was always good at skiing, for some reason, I never got into racing. That always seems to be what most kids do when they are young and good at skiing. Its probably partially due to my school not having a racing team, but I think, sub-consciously it was probably because if I competed in skiing, I might lose. I didn't want to lose at something I thought I was good at. My last year of high school, my friends persuaded my to join track and field, and I figured I would give it a try as it was an individual sport. Still being out of shape, I didn't fare too well, but it did start me on a more active lifestyle that I am still trying to maintain. I never really enjoyed it, or any other sport, like I enjoyed skiing.
Now that I have graduated from college, skiing has only become more important in my life. It is more than just a hobby that I really enjoy. Skiing is now my job, my preferred way of working out, and what I would always rather be doing than anything else. Last year, I lost almost 30lbs skiing. If I could ski year round, I would probably be in much better shape than I am now. It is also apparently my claim to my 5 minutes of fame, as my blogging for the Grand Tour of New England Skiing landed me this writing position here at Newschoolers which I love. I never would have thought that skiing would have done that for me. Because of working as an instructor, and doing the tour, this winter I am living the dream, skiing 5 days a week, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know that I have this season, and maybe, if I am lucky, maybe one more to enjoy being able to ski this much before I finish up my second degree, and end up working full time in a 'real' job. I am excited to be getting into a real job soon, and simultaneously super sad to not be able to ski 5 days a week.
Skiing with Ian Compton at Mt. Snow! Skiing gets you to meet interesting and awesome people!
Where I spent most of my Childhood, and now, where I work and play!
Now that I started really focusing on the terrain park in the last couple years, I am learning new things about skiing. I haven't had to really try at skiing and a long time, and now, at 25 I enjoy the challenge. I started skiing park because I wanted to progress my skiing even further than I have before. Having done the hardest terrain on the East coast, it pretty much is all that is left for me to really master. I could try my hand at tele, or really get into the nitty-gritty of my carving-technique, but that really does not interest me. If a trail is groomed, I probably am not interested in it. Most mountains change very little year to year, trails stay the same. The park is constantly changing, evolving, progressing. The park is interesting and cool.
The one place on the mountain that has always been, and will always be really, really cool is the terrain park. Where (usually) young guys and girls with more courage than brains huck their meat through the air and over features with a reckless disregard for safety all in the name of looking like a bad-ass and pushing the limits of skiing. Although I dislike the injures that come with learning the park, and park skiing in general, I love the challenge. I love the hitting a rail in front of a group of people who thought the terrain park was only for snowboarders and listening to them be wowed. The feel of nailing my first real rail, or getting my first 360 around (albeit with a backseat landing) is something I will never forget. It is unlike anything else I have experienced. Now, even though it doesn't matter in the slightest what anybody else thinks, I finally feel like one of the cool kids, all these years later.
I don't really know where I was going with this piece, but I hope you enjoyed it. I know there has to be some of you out there who have had a similar experience over the course of their skiing career as I have. For those of you who have never been great at sports, or are kind of out of shape, lets hear your opinions on what skiing has done for your life in the comments. I cannot imagine its anything but positive.
Have a good day Newschoolers.