This week I got to go CAT skiing, a.k.a Snowcat skiing, which is backcountry untracked skiing through trees and powder. So today’s piece is all about finding the best untracked line,be it in the snow or on the page, and both take PLUCK!
Pummeled and humbled by the mountain and still I rise!
That’s right. I have no doubt the reason I got the cheers as I skied up to the cat on our last run was because everyone there was just grateful to see that I had survived and was arriving smiling.
Yes – the mountains had humbled and pummeled me but I had completed all ten runs! I had shown I had pluck! Who knew most didn’t.
Well let’s be clear most didn’t who signed up for a cat ski day at my level of skiing.
I haven’t been skiing that long and frankly have been a touch conservative about where I ski at our Whitefish Mountain Resort.
I have steadily gotten better and this year signed up for the women’s ski program that included weekly lessons. Now I have made a few black diamond runs and have been feeling pretty good about myself!
So when I got the invite to go ski powder – I took it. I thought I was ready. Yes, I was scared but I wanted to go.
The thing is if I had thought it all through, I would not have gone. I would have been rational and realized skiing in powder really meant skiing through trees, very high up in the mountains of Montana. That skiing where there were no tracks meant significant bumps, ledges and (little) cliffs that resulted in taking air! That once you got out of the Cat and put those skis on there really was no other way down, except to ski and if falling regularly, to keep getting up again, again and again. Let me just say here, though falling in powder is soft – getting up over and over is exhausting.
Rationally it made no sense. But emotionally – well that is a different story. My heart wanted to be out in the back-country and loved those moments when I would find some rhythm and even did land a little jump. I enjoyed learning how to do a flip through the powder as I was falling so my skis would be in a better position to get back up. (just to give the full picture – this isn’t an airborne back flip – no this is falling face first towards the snow, throwing both of my skis over my head and sliding ski first so it would be easier to get back up! – nothing graceful about it – but once I did manage to get back up on my skis and continue on down as though I had never fallen!!!)
There were a couple runs that were near perfect through the untracked snow, through the trees and over the bumps. A couple runs where I did find that perfect line our guide suggested we shot for at the start of each new run.
I believe I will be a better skier having made this trip. (Yes, I’ll have to get over the stiff and sore muscles – but I will!). But even if I’m not a better skier, I found my pluck – having or showing determined courage in the face of difficulties and I’ll take that!
It’s not the first sign of my plucky nature.
Writing has been a bit like powder skiing for me as well. I struggle with grammer, spelling and find it difficult to stay committed when that great story in my head just doesn’t come out on the page. I have been terrified of feedback (sort of like trees wells and moguls on our mountain!)
Starting my blog took an effort and know I have gone through hearing no feedback from a post , great feedback, mean feedback – over and over. I don’t wake with sore muscles but sometimes I wake up dwelling on someone comments.
Still I love to write. My heart sings. I show my courage, to show up and work to speak from my heart. It’s especially cool when I find a great story line and ride it through – editing, spell-checking, wrestling with the best way to make a connection.
Yes, be it skiing or writing, life , or really most any great day, it’s about finding the best untracked line. Your line and sticking with it.
Bottom-line, that’s life. We know some day it will end or it’s very possible our heart will be broken over and over along the way – will we take the risk? Will we have the spirit and courage to find our best line through – even the rough spots – even when we fall?
Funny thing is, I bet if you asked your own heart – even if it’s been broken many times – the answer would be – yes – I will do it again!
I’m glad I got to ski untracked powder.
I’m glad I write
I’m glad I have opened my heart.
And if I when I have the chance to to do any of the above again.
I say – YES!
Where’s the powder in your life? Where have you been invited to open your heart, live full-out, even when it’s not rational?
Did you say yes?? I encourage you to say yes!
Special thanks to Merrill Lynch, specifically Jamie Carbo and Mike in Whitefish, MT and to Great Northern Powder Guides – you guys are awesome!!