Don’t let the blonde hair and German last name fool you. I may look like my parents put me in tiny ski boots and walk around the living room at the age of 2, but that could not be further from the truth.
And don’t let the name tag boasting that Boulder, CO is my home fool you either. Cue the imposter syndrome!
I have this conversation almost daily
“Oh, so you’re from Colorado!”
“Well, not technically. I’m actually from Florida, when they made the name tag 90% of my stuff was in a storage unit in Colorado”
“Florida?! What a difference!”
I also tend to avoid answering the next question:
“how long have you been skiing?”
yikes…..well, truth be told, 2 and a half seasons of skiing and maybe a collective 4 seasons of snowboarding.
I grew up chasing lizards on the dock, watching my parents seamlessly back up a boat, playing with jellyfish, swimming with manatees, surfing in hurricanes, etc. Even winter is a brand new thing for me.
Alas, here I am! Somehow I landed myself in a world of snow sports and I’m absolutely in love.
I will say there is a lot of insecurity surrounding the fact that I’m very much an underdog in this world, but we can talk about that later. For now, I want to share with you WHY skiing/snowboarding ripped my heart from my chest (in the best way possible obviously).
Before we hop turn into this (sorry I had to throw in one bad joke) I want to explain one thing really quickly.
I’m obsessive. No, if and or buts about it. This trait was apparent very early on in my younger years. I was a gymnast growing up, conditioning 30 hours a week, failing school, the whole she-bang! Nothing mattered except gymnastics. Then it all came crashing down, cue the burnt out. I never thought that at the age of 12 I would burn out on something.
Then I would go on and do it on a plethora of other sports. Dance, swim, climbing, surfing, Olympic weight lifting, yoga, you name it. If it was a physical sport you can bet your ass I found a way to burn out on it.
So naturally, when I started skiing I was convinced my timer started. The count down to burn out, to hating it, to selling all my skis and boots with a claim to the world that I “never want to ski again”. But here we are 3 years later…without even an iota of burnout. Why? It took a lot of cups of tea and introspective work to figure it out, but I think I did.
Skiing encapsulates so many different shapes. Shapes that I gravitate towards.
Skiing as a Sport
Ski racing: slalom, giant slalom, super G, downhill, you know the rich kid sport that Europeans lose their minds over, Lindsay Von style. A big thing people don’t realize is just how technical skiing is. The physics, angles, math, muscle, and precision it takes to accomplish a round turn, is stupid. But oh man, what do I love more?! Technical sports make my heart sing and dump a load of dopamine in my deficient brain. I love every little detail that goes into trying to make a pretty round short turn. All the way down to if I’m thinking about my pinky toe or not.
Skiing as an Expression
Freeskiing: XGames, Natural Selection, park, street, hell even ski ballet! Oh man, there are so many ways to express yourself on skis. It blows my mind, you can be aggressive, playful, graceful, even hot doggy! All of it is like a dance, and you decide how that dance looks based on how you’re feeling. A movement is a form of expression, and skiing is no exception. You can think of a movement that feels good and execute it. I often tell my students at the beginning of free ski “Have fun, be creative, make good decisions!”. With skiing, I usually have 150-160cm of a canvas to explore new movements on. That lights my heart on fire!
Skiing as Exploration
Big Mountain: Backcountry touring, heli-skiing, ski mountaineering, first ascents/descents, going where no one has gone before! Man, what a way to explore. I don’t often use the term “badass” but I will for any of these. Seeing a peak, finding a line, and deciding that no matter how crazy it seems, all you can think is “I want to ski that”. That encompasses the human spirit and the connection we can get from the outdoors.
I haven’t encountered many avenues that allow me to do all of these in one. I am a person who loves to be a technical athlete. I am a person who is extremely creative and expressive. I am a person who has an innate hunger to explore my surroundings. I’m coming to the conclusion that skiing is helping me fulfill all those passions where many sports left me empty in one way or another.
I know that anyone can make an argument on their passion fulfilling those categories, but I can confidently say I never really got to be creative while doing a snatch or swimming a 500.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s a little mind-boggling that a little beach rat from Florida may have found her space in the snow sports world, all due to a few twists and turns and impulsive decisions to try new things. You never know where it’s going to lead. But what do I know, I’m just a ski instructor from Florida.
Have fun, be creative, make good decisions!