Experienced skiers love to ski.
More, experienced skiers have a real passion for the sport and its environment.
So what is it that draws us in so deeply? What keeps us engaged winter after winter, run after run and curve after curve?
Each of us will have different reasons, which is the first clue.
Our responses are personal, and so your reasons for loving this great sport will be unique.
Skiing becomes personal.
Having said that, we will have many issues in common with each other. Some will relate to the mountain environment, others to the joy of the physical activity.
In this article, let’s start by considering the mountain environment.
Take a look at the image and let it sink in. What do you see?
There's a lot in there: a large mountain range, deep in the heart of winter.
The snow cover softens the contours of the glacier.
There is a golden yellow hue to the light, highlighting some features and casting blue shadows to obscure others.
We can see blue sky, clear visibility and the tracks of a party of skiers.
There is information in those tracks: a party of people, travelling together, supporting each other, sharing the experience.
There is evidence of the ability to create linked curves.
Those curves provided the skiers with the opportunity to travel through that magnificent landscape.
There is evidence of fluency and skill - many years in the making.
There is a sense of the human scale in the context of a vast wilderness.
"We are small", the tracks say, "but we are here."
And a sense of our impermanence. The wind will cover those tracks, or the next snowfall.
"We are transient", they say, "but we are here."
Skiing provides us with both an affirmation of life and a sense of perspective.
We are alive; we value life, we value each other.
There is a deep-seated sense of well-being.
We see the scale of the landscape, the evidence of immense forces at work and we understand perspective.
These things are important to us.
They are invoked, with a light touch, by James Brown’s first law of skiing:
I feel good!
Which rings true, for me, every time I ski.
How about you?