For a lot of folks, skiing and dreaming are inexorably linked. That’s not really surprising, our subconscious minds are often drawn to the things we obsess over. Spend your day thinking about skiing? There’s a good chance your brain isn’t ready to forget about all of that when you fall asleep. And those ski dreams come in a variety of flavours.
My favorite are the superhero dreams, the nights when anything goes, you’re invincible on skis. Pop that pillow, throw a slash there, and then boost, spinning, the grab is locked in and you’re weightless for ages, spotting the landing for what feels like years as you finally touch back down. For me, the incidence of those dreams has decreased directly proportionally to how much ski experience I’ve gained. When I was bad at skiing, I had a lot of dreams about skiing impossibly well. Now that I’m slightly better at skiing, and have a better idea of my own limits, it’s harder to convince my brain to suspend disbelief and allow me to dream about bending physics with my skiing.
I’ve always wondered how really great skiers’ superhero dreams feel. I rarely spin above 720° in my dreams, for some reason my imagination just isn’t big enough to allow me to dream of higher rotations. But what about the guys and gals who can do 720’s on snow in their sleep, do they dream of bigger rotations? Tricks that have never actually been done? Who knows? Talking about your ski dreams isn’t very cool apparently.
The flipside to the superhero ski dream is what I’d call the “unending huck nightmare.” I get this one less often, but it’s always vivid. I ski off of something that looks like a tiny roller and instead it drops away to nothingness. I’ll flail and scream in my sleep, trying to take it back, hockey stop before the edge, absorb the landing somehow. The dog does not like this dream, I’ve kicked her as she sleeps at the foot of the bed too many times, imagining myself falling to my death.
But, while a lot of those dreams are abstract, sometimes I sleep through more specific ones. I used to dream about tricks I wanted to try, backflipping over and over again in my head, sometimes stomping it, sometimes landing on my face. I still have terrifyingly specific spin dreams, where I set the rotation, tuck, reach for the grab, and then either catch an edge or spin through it. I like these. I feel like they let me practice in my downtime. Or maybe they’re just wrecking my confidence before I even touch snow.
Sometimes those more specific dreams get just plain silly. I’ll imagine myself skiing under the lift and then realize I’m naked and everyone is laughing at me. I’ll fall off the lift and crush a possy of ski school kids. Or I’m on top of an untracked line and I realize I’ve forgotten my pack. These dreams are stupid, but not terrifying.
I do my best not to dream before big backcountry tours. I used to like to try to game everything out in my head the night before, playing with route choices, imagining how I want to fluidly ski the line, what safe zones I want to regroup in. But too many of those morphed to nightmares. Dreams where I’d make half a turn and the whole mountain started coming down with me. Dreams where I can’t hear and I can’t breath and I wish I had just stayed home instead of venturing into the hills. Dreams that make me want to quit skiing.
I’ve heard many skiers equate their ski dreams to “feeling like I’m in a video game” where you can try any trick crash, get back up and send it again. I’ve heard others describe them as “regular skiing with broken physics” where the powder is deeper, you can boost higher, and the spins are easier. And still others deal with nightmares of impending doom, unfounded ill omens.
Do you dream about skiing? What’s your favorite ski dream? What’s your most common? Do they affect how you ski?