The world is a really complicated place at the moment. Terrorism, both domestic and foreign, gun control issues and mass shootings, environmental catastrophes—it’s enough to make a normal person break out in hives if they’re to dwell on the pitfalls of humanity too long.
But that’s where we’re all kind of lucky, right? Cause if you’re reading this, or following this site in general, then you probably love to play outside. And that’s a beautiful thing.
It’s a beautiful thing because there’s no religious barriers out in the mountains or on the rivers, or in the ocean, where our decisions are based solely on equipment and conditions. And of course the split-second decisions that keep us in the moment: “should I take this one?”, “is this slope going to slide?”, “I’m going to spin off this little ramp right here.” Because playing outside is about that moment, the now, and there is nothing else.
That’s why this winter—after a few years of drought—I’m so very thankful for the precipitation we’ve been getting in the form of snow and all the celebratory ‘hoots’ we’ve received over the Interwebs via direct messages and emails here at The Inertia Mountain. And while I’m feeling for our East Coast readers and understand their pain, good snow is something that can change attitudes from sulky to celebratory. It can keep the mentally unstable, stable. And it should make us all pause and be grateful.
Because good snow has healing power. I remember one particularly fine backcountry session with my father-in-law, a sometimes-sullen man who actually possesses a great deal of athletic ability but gets caught in his own head at times. One snowy afternoon, with him in his doldrums and me in my ski cap, I convinced him to go for a long winter’s lap (see what I did there?).
I slapped some skins on a pair of freeheel skis and we hiked him up to my regular for a rip. The snow was plenty fluffy and as we slid up the trail his outlook changed dramatically, from pouty, to almost giddy with a childlike excitement.
I ripped off my skins and enjoyed the fresh snow. I decided it was best to leave his skins on as he hadn’t made a proper powder turn in years but he enjoyed the controlled, low-angle descent nonetheless. And he couldn’t wait to get back with the family to glow in the success of our mini-expedition.
Who do you know who’s been healed by the power of a good outing in the snow? It makes us all feel better. My own stress always melts away when I can get out. And that’s why I’m thankful this winter. For snow. For all its power and beauty and the way it leaves me in a fantastic place after I play in it. And that’s also when I know for certain that this world isn’t such a bad place after all.
Happy Holidays from The Inertia.