Love comes in all forms, and this Valentine's Day we wanted to celebrate our love for skiing and snowboarding in the most romantic way we know how- love letters.
A Love Letter to Skiing
It is hard to believe that we’ve been at this for 18 years now. Who knew that an elementary school activity would turn into such a beautiful relationship that has last longer than, well, any other relationship of mine thus far in life.
You see, I am lucky. I have spent the majority of my life in the mountains; I spent my childhood growing up in the North East Kingdom and I spent my teenage years growing up in the mountains of central Maine. Most of all, I am lucky to have been exposed to you so early on in my life. You taught me the value of myself and the value of this life I have been given, and you did so season after season of ski school lessons, weekend trips with friends and most importantly, solo days on the hill.
Ultimately, you were the reason I chose to come back to Vermont for college and you’re the reason now that I’ve remained here for work. Your pull has only gotten stronger as I have gotten older and it has been incredible to sit here and reflect on the lessons that I have learned from you.
Early on you taught me patience and persistence. I’m sure it is no surprise to you that I spent much of my green years bombing down trails like Interstate and Queens Highway without a care in the world and no intention of slowing down. Nevertheless, after a few too many spills, I learned my lesson- I grew patient as I honed my skills and heeded the advice of my ski school instructors, and I learned persistence on the days that I thought I wanted to give up. Every time I felt like life was spinning out of control, I have come to you. I’ve allowed my mind to race through my thoughts as I have raced down my favorite trails. When I think I’ve just about raced out all of my thoughts, I pull back and take it slow. My patience comes into play as I determine my next move, both on the mountain and off. Ultimately, it is these two traits together that have allowed me to become a better skier and a better person.
Later on in life, you taught me how to overcome my fears. As a young girl, I began to develop a healthy fear of the world and in turn, of the mountain. There were countless times that I thought I wouldn’t make it down the slope and yet every time, you showed me that I could. With each wide, swooping turn down the trail you revealed my strength; turn by turn you helped me to quiet the voice inside my head telling me that I couldn’t do it and each time I made it to the bottom in disbelief of what I had just accomplished. Now, when I am fearful, I push myself to drop into whatever it is that is scaring me and work through it. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how quickly I get through it (or down it) but rather that I push off and begin turning.
Finally, skiing, you have taught me to find beauty in the simplicity of this world. Growing up in the mountains I took you for granted, but as I've grown and matured through my life I have found a deep appreciation for you and the beauty of the world around you. I find happiness in the simplest of things like bluebird days on the chair lift, a solitary moment in the trees, and even, the beauty of the places that roll by me as I drive in my car every day. By finding beauty all around me, I am able to forge ahead in this life of mine with the positivity needed to live happily and I have you to thank for that.
So, thank you, skiing.
All my love,
A Love Letter to Snowboarding
My Dearest Snowboarding,
Since you came into my life, you’ve introduced me to new levels of enrichment, challenge, focus, and entertainment, and you continue to surprise me. Season after season, you keep me on my toes (and heels), and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you in it. Here, I share some of my favorite ways you tickle my senses and keep me coming back for more.
My vantage point elevates when I’m with you. Whilst being whisked up a chairlift to the summit, I notice the snow pillowing on tree boughs, frosting and bending branches like they’ve jumped from the pages of a Dr. Seuss story. When I slow down and use my climbing skins to reach the top, I spot wildlife tracks and wonder who’s hiding outside my field of vision, waiting to resume foraging for autumn leftovers in the dark. When I reach the peak, I take in panoramic views and, on clear days, admire surrounding ranges.
You tune me into the mountains’ frequencies. With the bustle of the base area behind me, a few clicks of the ratchets on my bindings adhere body to board. I’m comforted by the peaceful silence that greets me as I discover I’m the only one on the trail. I embrace the silent, gentle welcome when entering the glades on a powder day. Our quiet is gleefully interrupted first by the swish of Goretex brushing Goretex as I dust flakes from my outerwear and prepare to descend, then by giggles and whoops of joy.
A whiff of your unique bouquet transports me to my happy place. Earthy aromas of leather mittens and wool base layers confirm that I’m prepared to face the weather. When I step outside, the smell of fresh snow and whisp of cold smoke sting my nose and fill my lungs. Wafts of pine stir up warm memories of winter holidays spent celebrating with the friends and family with whom I’ll reunite again on the hill.
You nourish my soul. I eat up every opportunity to indulge in a decadent powder day, waking up early or staying out late to spend as much time on the snow as possible. I treat myself to the buffet of goods in the woods, fresh tracks in open snowfields, and soft cupcake bumps. I drink in refreshing mountain air like it’s a tall glass of spring water. My grin grows until my lips stretch into a smile reaching from ear to ear, expose my teeth to incoming faceshots.
You are my favorite dance partner. Pure pleasure prevails when I float (or surf, ride, slide, cruise, snake, rip, fly, shred, carve) in rhythm down the side of a snow covered slope. I feel the snow conditions under my board and adjust my riding style accordingly so I can focus on the wind blowing through my hair and the snow spray that kicks up into my face with each turn.
You’ve become the foundation on which I travel, explore, make new friends, re-connect with old friends, face and overcome challenges, grow my career, and even relocate closer to the mountains to enjoy more of your company. You center my mind and body and connect me with nature. You give me butterflies. Every. Single. Time. I’m lucky to live a snowboarding lifestyle and my gratitude for you grows deeper every day.
Your partner in powder,