Ask any group of skiers and/or snowboarders what their dominant emotion is when they’re planning a day on the slopes, and I’ll bet my mortgage that the answers will be some variation of this: “Excitement.” Few things get me more pumped up like the prospect of ripping turns. But if I’m completely honest, there have been many times when fear nudged its way into the equation.
Fear is something that every skier and snowboarder has dealt with at one time or another. It is one of my earliest memories on boards, when Dad stuffed my wool-covered feet into a pair of leather, lace-up ski boots and clamped those boots into an old pair of bear-trap bindings. I didn’t know how to operate these long, clunky boards, and that lack of control scared the daylights out of me.
Those same sensations would creep up on me even as I became a better skier and snowboarder, because as you improve, you look for more challenging terrain. So, standing atop a monster bump run, or the tip of Tuckerman Ravine, I could feel my heart racing and my knees shaking. I felt fear.
I pushed off anyway. And despite a few world-class yard sales, and a few bumps and bruises, I managed to hit the bottom of the hill relatively intact. Fear was part of the experience, but it didn’t prevent the experience. That’s the key.