The previous article on this subject discussed the mountain environment and the effect it has on us as we ski through it. Let’s take a look at some of the other reasons why we love to ski.
One of the most important has to be a sense of freedom. Some of this comes from the environment, of course. Space, light, mountains and open views have an uplifting effect.
Much of that sense of freedom comes from the ability to travel through the vast landscape, adapting to the demands of the snow and the terrain. We win that sense of freedom by creating solutions that allow us to pass over the terrain and through the snow. By finding ways to work with, rather than against the mountain and its challenges.
That is easier said than done. So many advanced and expert skiers choose to develop their abilities further. This project is open-ended - the mountains continue to provide us with challenges and opportunities to develop.
Fortunately, our abilities to develop skill are open-ended, too. That will be the subject of a different article, but the time being, the good news is that we all have hardwired abilities to learn. Using these abilities and feeling the improvements, brought about by our efforts, are rewarding experiences in themselves.
When we tune into the mountains and to our skiing performance, there is a sense of connection, to our physical performance as it moves through space and time, to the snow beneath our feet and to the landscape that surrounds us.
Much of our everyday lives disrupts this sense of connection, but there is a strong argument to be made that it is our normal, healthy condition to feel connected in this way, to ourselves, to our environment, and to others.
That brings up the next topic; skiing can be a very social activity.
Much of it is personal; we appreciate the personal responsibilities and rewards.
We often ski with like-minded people. When we do there is a group dynamic that is valuable and enjoyable. We learn to trust each other and to look out for each other. Nothing could be a more natural expression of our human qualities than this.
The social dynamic often, usually, spills over into apres ski activities. When these activities involve live music, it seems to me that the circle is complete and that we are genuinely celebrating life.
Moving onto the physical activity of the skiing performance itself, this is perhaps the most obvious and direct reason that we all love to ski. Skiing feels fantastic! We may not be able to "swim like dolphins can swim" - to cite David Bowie. Or fly like eagles can fly, as he may have said in a verse that was later discarded.
But we can ski, "like the way it’s meant to be." (Knopfler, can you name that tune?).
Skiing provides us with a tremendous source of freedom, connectedness, self-determination and well-being. It feels fantastic, and we can share the company of like-minded enthusiasts, in the extra-ordinary mountain environment.
It seems to me that Homo Sapiens Snowsport is a highly evolved member of the human race.