|Conquering the T-bar|
|Yes, that feels good!|
|Its beautiful up there|
|A little help from my friend Sandy, and all pics thanks to her functional iphone|
I love skiing but I’m not much of a skier. Similar to my dance life, my ski skills were developed as an adult, rather than being ingrained and established with proper technique and muscle memory as a child or adolescent. So I can navigate down the mountain of greens and blues with relative ease, but don’t count on me winning any prizes for technique. It’s not a pretty site, flailing and jerking from side to side hunched over like the old decrepit man I’m always working to disguise on the dance floor. This is in contrast to the hundreds of beautiful skiers of all body types; fat, small, tall, young, and old who can glide effortlessly, gracefully carving prefect semicircles in the snow, looking nonchalant as they whisk by the plebian riffraff of slow, crusty, bumpy, tentative cadaver like skier want-to-bees losing the fight with the mountain they are reluctantly descending.
Still I have my moments when the snow is perfect and the runs are groomed and clear of tracts before the mob of skiers push the snow into obstructive piles of hard mounds and boulders, exposing the underlying slick rock-hard white ice beneath the powder that flings you off of your feet sliding in a free-for-all. Yes, there are moments when the snow is perfect and I can look like a reasonable skier. Problem is the snow is seldom perfect for long, and thus I can never really relax on the mountain unless I descend into my la-la-land white out brain trance.
This happens at the end of the day, or at the end of the week when the brain is fully saturated with and mesmerized by the pervasive white-out snow cover, the whitish/ grey overcast skies, the cloudy mist and palpable fog unpredictably obscuring your vision and balance, and by the intricate pattern of lace like figures of the snow-covered camouflaged trees. These prerequisites lead to falling victim to, and being engulfed in the ubiquitous whiteness of the surrounding moment, which insidiously seeps into your being while transforming you into an inanimate glob of flesh, releasing an out-of-body experience, numb to your surroundings and those alarming signals that protect you from harm and injury. You are bobbing down the mountain without a care, dazed and anesthetized, a prime candidate for a disastrous fall!
But wait a minute, I’m not sure what possessed me to descend into this diatribe of self-deprecation, but the actual intent of this writing was to describe overcoming ones fears. Having skied for roughly 20 years, the only real ski vessel that I feared prior to this BIG WHITE trip was the T-bar. Being scarred by a previous experience on a T-bar – when the T-bar was jolting me nearly off of the bar through uneven snow, and the path up the mountain was un-groomed, making navigating the path toward the end all the more treacherous. Finally, there was no descent or decline at the end of the T-bar allowing for a clean exit. Thus, as I released the stupid death bar from my freezing butt, it suddenly recoiled sending me a parting farewell jolt while torpedoing me to the ground, demanding that I never to return in its presence.
I thought I was scarred for life but this year, my ski buddies encouraged me to set my fears aside and give it another chance. The T-bar takes you up to the top of BIG WHITE with a fabulous view of the world. And I’ve been missing that view and a beautifully fluid long run that seems to last forever appropriately called the Sun Run. OK, am I a man or a mouse?
With the unwavering confidence of my ski friends, encouragement and hand holding…literally, I found that the T-bar was not even a slightly worrisome feat. Once accomplished, you could not stop me from returning back again and again.
What is the lesson to be gained? Not all T-bars are the alike? That’s obvious or maybe not so obvious to me at least.
But I think the important message for me is that while we live mostly within ourselves, we need others to bring out the best (and maybe even the worst). Left alone to bask in the world we have created limits our possibilities. We live in the confinement of our imagination, likes and dislikes, fears and preferences. Others have their own world and experiences that can be shared with us as long as we are brave enough to be engaged with other humans. We each can contribute to the others expanding world of possibilities. You don’t have to give up your humanity to allow others access to your world. It may bring you closer to the heavens as the T-bar lifted me to arguably the most beautiful view from Big White and the most memorable ski run of the week.