Monday, November 29, 2010

In The Moment

As the first few trip reports of the season float in, I want to try and reset a little bit.  I’ve been feeling a little down lately.  It’s nothing particular, but November (for some reason), always inspires a general feeling of sadness and self doubt.  Am I doing the right things with my life?  Am I where I want to be with my career, my family, and my goals?  Am I happy?  Every other time of year, the answer to these questions is almost always a resounding “Yes”.  But for some reason, November is different.  Maybe it’s the Squaw Valley trip reports that I read, maybe it’s the financial crush of the holidays, or maybe it’s the dreary gray days, but I always question whether I live in the “right” place, have the “right” job, or feel the “right” way.  It’s not that I plunge myself into a deep depression, I just start to question myself.  And whenever questions are asked, I feel compelled to come up with a definitive answer (even if a lot of things have no correct “answer”).  Sometimes, this gets me into trouble.  Because I’m always questioning and researching and generating future scenarios in my mind, I lose the ability to back up, relax, take a deep breath, and just be content with the present.     

But this all changes with the first ski day.  Skiing, more than any other sport, puts me in a perfect, zen like state of mind.  When I’m riding my road bike, I still think of bills I have to pay, people I have to talk to, or meetings I have to attend.  On skis it’s different.  I’m paying attention, I'm alert, and I'm focused on the task at hand.  I’m not thinking about my job, thinking about my life, or thinking about other places that I could be.  I’m centered.

I don’t know too much about Buddhism (or any religion, for that matter), but I found a list of quotes relating to the concept of living in the present.  This one stuck out:

Miss the present and you live in boredom. BE in the present and you will be surprised that there is no boredom at all. Start by looking around a little more like a child. Be a child again! That’s what meditation is all about: being a child again — a rebirth, being innocent again, not-knowing.

Maybe that’s why skiing is so great for me.  It really allows me to be a child again.  I do the same things now that I always did on skis.  I find fun lines, I go fast, I jump, I fall down, I get back up, and I do it again.  I look around, I explore new terrain, I follow tracks into the trees, and I try new things.  And I am happy.

Obviously, the concept of living in the present is nothing new.  But this article from the Guardian (UK) is.  Money quote:
Psychologists at Harvard University collected information on the daily activities, thoughts and feelings of 2,250 volunteers to find out how often they were focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy.

They found that people were happiest when having sex, exercising or in conversation, and least happy when working, resting or using a home computer. And although subjects' minds were wandering nearly half of the time, this consistently made them less happy.

The team conclude[d] that reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming tends to make people more miserable, even when they are thinking about something pleasant.

Even the most engaging tasks failed to hold people's full attention. Volunteers admitted to thinking about something else at least 30% of the time while performing these tasks, except when they were having sex, when people typically had their mind on the job around 90% of the time

So skiing, for me, is like sex.  I’m totally focused and into it, I’m completely involved in the moment, and afterwards, I’m ready for a beer.  But seriously, living in the moment, no matter what you’re doing, seems to make you happier.

I was thinking about this today, and I was also thinking about a guy on a snowboard that I saw on Sunday.  He was coming down Sunway, right under the Gondola, carrying both gloves in one hand and staring into his phone.  He was actually text messaging while he was riding!  We joked about it for a little while, that this guy was so important, and that message was so critical that he couldn’t possibly wait until he got to the bottom (or at least stopped on the side of the trail).  But I guess that isn’t really the most important point.

The guy was taking himself out of the moment.  He could have been enjoying the rush of snowboarding, looking around for a fun feature to play with, or working on a skill to improve his riding.  But he wasn’t doing any of that.  He was staring at a little glowing box with words on it, and occasionally looking up to make sure he didn’t hit anyone.  It was ridiculous!

I guess everyone is free to enjoy the mountain as they see fit.  And maybe that guy had an awesome time and I’m just making a big deal out of something that seems to be an increasingly common sight on the slopes.  But for me, I’m happiest when I’m not connected to the outside world.  I’m happiest when the only things in my vision are trees and powder.  I’m happiest when I’m skiing. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Get Well, Hot Skier Chick

Over on Vanessa Aadland's blog, the last few posts have been some of the most depressing/encouraging things I have ever read on the internet.

Here's the post from November 20th:

Today was opening day at Alta. I have been looking forward to this day for a MINUTE! I spent most of my day skiing Wildcat but also got some fun laps off Collins lift. The snow was smooth hero snow and there was so many fun features because of early season snow pack! It was great to see so many old friends again.

And it's accompanied by a picture that's awesome (mostly because you rarely see many girls at ski areas, let alone groups of hot chicks, skiing November 20th, and looking like they are having an awesome time).

Then, the following day, she posts this picture:

And the story behind it (she broke her back on her very first attempt at a back flip).

Then, after hearing from more doctors, she posts her "heal fast game plan".  Finally, just as I was thinking that I couldn't possibly love this girl's attitude and spirit in the face of adversity any more, she posts the GoPro video of the day it happened:

Vanessa Aadland, Decide What to Be. from Robin Abeles on Vimeo.

I don't know who she is, but this girl is awesome.  Definitely add her blog to your list of internet reading material.  Get Well soon, Vanessa.


It seems like mountain people (and people in general) have always had an "us vs. them" attitude.  Hikers vs. Mountain Bikers.  Power boat enthusiasts vs. paddlers.  Snowmobilers vs. Environmentalists.  Natives vs. Transplants. Locals vs. Tourists.  Hooray for our side, "Screw You" to their side.

At ski areas, the famous feud (blindly repeated by the media and 2-day-per-year perpetual intermediates) is between Skiers and Snowboarders.  I used to think that it was a young vs. old thing, and that once younger snowboarders grew up, older skiers would change their attitude from "get off my lawn" to "sick backside rodeo, bro" (okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration).  But, for some reason, snowboarders seem to want to keep the feud going.  And some skiers are falling into the trap.  Here's a cool video by Mike Douglas about the history of freeskiing:

Like I said, cool video, but why the animosity towards snowboarders?  "I think I'm gonna puke"?

And then I got to thinking that I don't really ride with that many snowboarders.  Maybe it has to do with the mountain I ski (Gore has a lot of flats, and for that reason, Snowboarders and Skiers generally populate entirely different sections).  Or maybe I just am locked inside a tight little bubble of people that I ski with, and that is hindering my ability to branch out.

I think it's more likely the latter.  In fact, I don't ride with many groups of people that are very dissimilar to myself.  Mostly, I hang out with other instructors, tree-skiing badasses, and park kids (who also ski all mountain).  I rarely ski with Patrollers, and I never ski with intermediates and below (unless I'm teaching a lesson or with my parents).  I bet it's like that for most people.  Tele skiers ski with tele skiers.  Race parents ski with other race parents.  Boarders ride with other boarders.

And I guess there's nothing I really want to do to change that.  People ride with the people they are most comfortable riding with, and far be it for me to complain about that.  I definitely roll with a certain crew, but I'm up for skiing with anyone (so if you see me on the mountain, give a shout).  If you don't want to ski with me, then that's cool too.  I'm generally a "live and let live" kind of person.  I think everyone would be a lot better off if we just stayed out of other people's business.  So, when a snowboarder says "skiing wouldn't be cool if snowboarding wasn't around", just let it go, Mike Douglas.  And if someone lights a cigarette on your chairlift, maybe you can survive the 8 minutes (or ask him nicely to put it out) instead of banning cigarettes from the entire mountain, Pico Mountain.  And if someone is going too fast in a slow zone, maybe you can give a stern warning or a clipped ticket, instead of fining them $1,000 and throwing them in Jail for 6 months, Park City.

Ski areas are supposed to be fun.  People pay a lot of money to relax, get outside, and enjoy a nice winter day away from their other obligations.  So this season, try to be cordial to everyone at the mountain, regardless of what group you fall into.

And if you don't like that, Screw You.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Ski Bums

Being a “ski bum” is hard.  The few available jobs are low-paying, living in a ski town is expensive, and there’s a decided lack of females.  Here’s a recent article from the Sacramento Bee (h/t Harvey Road):
Not just at Sierra resorts but throughout the West, cradle of the early 1970s ski-bum culture. [Jeremy] Evans argues that Aspen, Jackson Hole, Park City, Telluride and, yes, Tahoe have morphed into playgrounds of the rich – no longer gathering places for those who reject materialism for the hedonistic pleasure of the snowy descent.

One casualty of skiing's growing affluence, he asserts, is that the ski bum, who once could cobble together a life and maybe someday buy a home in a resort town, is being shut out of jobs by nonskiers just needing work to support their families – the preferred work force for resorts taken over by large corporations.
Okay, but by the power Google (“I have the POWER!!!”), maybe this isn’t such a new phenomenon after all.  Here’s an article from Spartanburg Herald-Journal in 1970:
Life, seen through their rose-colored goggles, is indisputably groovy although the housing situation in these ski resorts is tight and life as expensive as in any American city.

Gary Lambeth, 24, of Springfield, Mo., drove his white Corvette to Aspen a month ago with a friend, Su Gathright of Los Angeles.  Su works as a salesgirl for $1.25 an hour and Gary does construction work, mostly shoveling snow.
 The article mentions that one guy lived in a $400 a month apartment that he shared with 3 friends.  It also says that the new “fiber glass skis” (the “Zebra ones” if you’re “in”) were $200 and plastic “flo” boots (which reportedly “mold to the foot”) were $165.  Skiing has always been an expensive sport, usually practiced in expensive areas of the country.  I’m just glad that I don’t have to work 80 hours to afford rent for the month, 132 hours to afford ski boots, and 160 hours to buy a set of skis.  Food and clothing were much more expensive (relative to income) back then as well.

Ahh, but what about immigrant labor, you ask?  They took our jobs!!!!  Well, it seems that isn’t a new phenomenon either.  Here’s a 1979 article from famed New York Times columnist Molly Ivins (back when she was just a reporter):
The ski bum shortage in the great Western resorts has reached such a crisis that resort owners are importing Vietnamese and Filipinos to take up the slack.  The help-wanted columns of local papers run on for pages and good old-fashioned college dropouts seem to be hard to come by.

“The kids just aren’t dropping out like they used [to],” complained J. Richard Elias, general manager of the Manor Vail Lodge in Vail. “The sharp kids are more serious, staying in college and then hanging on to jobs.  There used to be a great underground of kids just passing through and willing to work, but it’s been drying up.”

Whether this generation of college students is in fact more serious than its predecessors is open to question.  What is clear is that the economics of ski-bumming have taken a radical turn for the worse.
So the ski bum has always been in danger!

Really, though, aren’t we just seeing the same story repeated over and over again?  Ski towns are expensive (that 1979 New York Times article mentioned that a room cost in Aspen cost $260 a month, and one bedroom condos were between $80,000 and $150,000 - outrageous!!).  Wages are low.  People are barely scraping by.

And the reason that “ski bumming” is expensive is that it’s desirable.  People want to live in the mountains.  People want to ski all day and party all night.  People want to live a life of (relative) leisure.  Resorts, hotels, and restaurants can afford to pay minimum wage because they’ll always have people looking for jobs, especially in a down economy.  Here’s the Sacramento Bee story again:
[Russ] Pecoraro, Heavenly's spokesman, said the resort has "pulled out of recruiting in international markets this year. With the job market the way it is, there are plenty of candidates right here."

Indeed, interspersed in the long line of locals seeking full-time employment at the job fair were pockets of people seeking to live the ski-bum dream. They were easy to spot, mostly younger and chugging energy drinks in the early-morning chill.
 Luckily, I’ve discovered the solution to minimum wage dishwashing jobs, cramped accommodations and ketchup soup dinners.  The key is to become a “brofessional”.  Here’s a commenter to the New York Times:
“When a ski-bum ‘bro’ goes ‘pro’ – he becomes a ‘brofessional.’ For example, my good friend recently stopped being a seasonal fishing guide and ski patroller to become a salaried general manager of a fishing lodge. He’s become a brofessional. Many brofessionals start their own businesses, but you have to stay within the accepted cultural norms of the trade you are in to keep the ‘bro’ going. (This is all part of a larger vernacular called brobonics.) On a quick search, it seems that some say being a brofessional is simply being a highly-advanced ‘bro.’ It’s all pretty silly.

So the answer to all of your ski bum problems is to move from “bro” to “brofessional”.  You’ll command a higher salary, still be able to live in that sweet ski town, and you can stop poaching food from half eaten trays in ski lodge cafeterias.  You can have the best of both worlds!  Just make sure to keep rocking the Zebra skis.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Equipment (Part II)

After that blatant bit of gear whoring, I wanted to talk about a recent article on focusing on the vast amount of ski gear available, its high price, and the resulting confusion/frustration of many people who would like to get into the sport.  Quote: 

It begs the question of whether or not the ski industry is in a downward spiral, following in the neoprene socks and sneakers of the windsurfing and tennis industries.
Much as windsurfing manufacturers did, ski makers often primarily market gear for hardcore skiers, which can push costs too high for recreational skiers who can be confused or discouraged by too many technical features and jargon. (Ski technology and marketing also play a role in increasing costs.)
 I completely agree.  Unlike the average consumer, I live skiing, and I love gear.  I devour the Powder, Freeskiing, and Ski Magazine gear guides every fall.  My google reader feed follows the TGR forums, where most of the posts are skis, boots and bindings being put up for sale in the Gear Swap section (other posts are decidedly less helpful . . . By the way, an amusing article on various outdoor oriented internet forums here).  Whenever a ski that I don’t know comes up for sale, I research the dimensions, flex and camber profile immediately, to see if I might “need” it someday.

And even I have no idea what’s going on with most skis.  Every time I go into a shop, I see next year’s big thing, the G3 IQ 9.8 Radict FX SLX (or whatever).  What the hell are all of those letters?  It’s no wonder that people get confused.  I’d hate to be the shop tech trying to explain the subtle differences between models to a gear buying novice (“Well, the Prophet Flite is a great ski, but the Prophet 90, with the exact same dimensions and $100 more, has an extra layer of metal that will really take your skiing to the next level”).  Why can’t ski companies just name their skis in the way that they will be used?  All Mountain 85 would be a great name for a ski.  It tells me the waist width and the intended purpose of the ski.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an entire line like this?  Slalom Race 68, Park Twin 83, Rocker Pow 110.

But that would be too easy.  I think that, in a sense, we kind of asked for this.  As participants in a gear intensive sport, we want to feel like our gear knowledge is superior to the next guy (“Oh, you don’t know the difference between K2’s Speed Rocker and Rossignol’s AmpTek?  For shame!”).  And we have a strong predilection towards the latest and greatest.  For some people, it’s nice to be two steps ahead of the crowd.  But I don’t see gear heads and hardcore athletes ruining skiing for everyone else.

I would guess that the ski industry is less like the windsurfing business, and more like the bike business.  Like bikes, low level skis can be purchased at Dick’s and Sports Authority.  But those skis (and bikes) can only be used for so long.  When you start to get serious about the sport, then you find a specialty shop, become familiar with the staff, make various purchases, get some fitting done, go for tune jobs every once in a while, and refer your friends to the place.  Then, the shop hooks you up with deals, demos, and freebies when they get some schwag.  I suppose that’s the way things should work (save for the random “can’t miss” internet deal).  Ski Shops, Bike Shops, and Shops, in general, need customers.  And if the hardcore participants in a sport no longer frequent the shops that support said sport, what do we have left? 

Plus, there’s something really nice about the feel of a good ski shop.  Ski magazines strewn about, fireplace with real wood burning, shiny new gear perched on the walls.  And when you have a problem with your gear (as I always do), you can talk to an actual person face to face (instead of a goofy photograph popping up in an internet window).  You might even get them to explain what the hell is going on with the AC50 + iPT Wide Ride Bindings.


At the Pray for Snow party, we did four things: caught up with friends, drank beer, ate food, and burned ski equipment.
 Regardless of what that article says, burning skis is definitely an essential part of the preseason party.  It’s the way to let the snow gods know that this year, we mean business.  Another preseason tradition that I’ll be starting is the quiver post.  I’ve never been one to shy away from a bandwagon (especially if the band is playing my kind of music), so, with respect to The Snow Way and The Real Jay Peak Snow Report, here’s my quiver (pics to come later, when I finally have all the skis in one place):

Daily Driver: K2 Apache Recon (170)

I originally bought a pair of 174cm Apache Recons in the fall of 2006.  I enjoyed them that year, but ripped a metal screw on the Marker Binding in the spring of ‘07, and I sent them back to K2.  They responded with a new pair of skis (nice).  So I’ve had these skis since Fall 2007.  However, I’ve ripped that same freaking screw 3 times.  The screw is part of the ski/binding “system” that a bunch of ski manufacturers have nowadays.  From this experience, I’ve decided that from now on, I just want bindings that screw directly into skis.  K2 has been very good about sending the replacement screw pieces, but it always takes a couple of months and it means that I always lose this pair of skis for some part of the year.

Icepick/PSIA ski: Volkl Racetiger (165)

I bought this ski in March of 2008 at an end of season sale for $300.  I ripped one pair of bindings off of them (literally ripped the plastic of the toepiece in half) while doing the PSIA Dev Team tryout.  It was a sloppy spring day at Whiteface, and I would’ve been on my Recons, but they were partaking in one of their shop visits.  I came flying around a turn, skis got caught up in the glop, and my body kept moving forward.  Did a solid forward flip, a couple more rolls, and stood up in fine shape.  Unfortunately, the skis were unusable, and I had to ski the rest of the tryout on my twin tips.  I just bought new cheapo ($99) bindings to throw on them last year.

Park/Teaching/Rock Skis: K2 Public Enemy (179)

I like K2 as a company, and this ski was one of their best.  They’ve made all sorts of changes to it over the years, but this model (I think it’s 2003) still skis pretty damn well.  It’s stiff, and this version isn’t fat enough (I think it’s 80mm at the waist), but it works as my rock ski/rail slider/backup daily driver when my Recons are down.  Plus it’s good for teaching kids and teenagers because I don’t really care if people ski over them and they get trashed.

Powder Ski: Volkl Gotama (183)

I bought these in the Fall of 2008 (they’re the traditionally cambered ones) and I think I’ve used them about 6 times.  I need more powder days.  Or possibly I need to ski more Alpine on the Powder days we do get.  The problem is, I see a foot of snow on the ground, and I look at my tele skis and I say “THAT’S what I want to be doing today.”  It’s not that the Goats aren’t fun, it’s just that I love skiing Tele in powder, the boots are more comfortable, and I prefer the Tele setup for accessibility reasons (easier to hike to certain places, easier to skate over flats, etc.), especially at Gore.  That being said, if I was taking a trip out west, these are the skis that I’d bring.

Powder/Touring Tele Ski: Karhu Jak (190)

I had a pair of uncut skins, and I was going to buy some really light sweet tele skis last year to tour with, but I ended up just cutting them for use with the Jaks that I bought in college.  I think I got these in 2002 or so, during a period where we went to this ski shop in Farmington, Maine (I think it was this one) with increasingly crazy BC setups.  I had these with the same G3 Targas that are on them now, a buddy had Dynastar Bigs with Fritschi Freerides, and another buddy had Skyhoys mounted on 200 cm Salomon AK Rockets.  Totally ridiculous.  As it is, these skis aren’t too heavy on the uphill, and they’re really nice on the downhill.  They’ve got a good width (96) and they rock on a powder day.

Daily Driver/Park/Rock Tele Ski: Dynastar Concept (178)

I got these around 2001 for alpine, but switched them over to Tele when I got the Public Enemies.  Since then, I’ve been beating the crap out of them, skiing over rocks, trees, parking lots, small children, and frozen ice chunks.  These skis are really reaching the end of their skiing life and are destined for the bonfire next year.  I already threw part of the binding in the fire, so I need to buy a repair kit to make the skis functional this year.

So, I guess the next purchases for the quiver are new Tele daily drivers (I’ll probably just buy some $200-$350 lightweight twins) and new alpine daily drivers (I want something fatter, rockered and more reliable).    

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I took a little bit of a break from posting while I've been riding my mountain bike and doing yard work (freaking leaves are the worst part of home ownership).  And today, I'm going to do some more mountain biking.  Plus, I've got a party to go to.  But not just any party.  This is the annual right of passage known as the Pray for Snow Party.  The folks at Backcountry Beacon did a pretty good write up of what it takes to make such a party successful, so I'll direct you there.  Here's the gist:

Every autumn, snow worshippers around the nation—nay, around the world—unite and engage in a sacred ritual called the Pray for Snow party. Anthropologists note that this ritual often includes multiple kegs of frothy beverages and bonfires large enough to be seen from outer space.

So, if you're looking for me tonight, that's where I'll be.  I've got a few blog posts in the pipeline, though, so stay tuned for posts about equipment, cliques, and opening day shenanigans.  Peace.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The 2010 World Series of Poker ends tomorrow with the final table.  I'll be rooting for Mike "The Grinder" Mizrachi.  He chose the nickname himself because it typifies his style of play - sometimes up, sometimes down, but always moving on to the next hand, the next pot, and the next table.  He goes into every tournament with that mentality: There's going to be good days and bad days, but at the end, I'll still be sticking around.

I think this is a good philosophy to have, not just for poker, but for life.  Last night, Ace and I went to see Race Across the Sky, the movie about the 2010 Leadville 100, a grueling 100 mile mountain bike race over punishing terrain, won this year by Levi Leipheimer, Tour de France competitor and three-time Tour of California winner.  All of the athletes talked about how it was mostly a mental game.  You had to push yourself to do more than you thought you could.  The motto of the event, reflecting on the mining roots of the town, was "dig deep".

But it could just as well have been "keep going" (or, if you prefer, Niner Bikes' "pedal damn it").  The movie was filled with a hard rock/rap soundtrack to keep everyone pumped up, but I thought that the best scene of the movie was one with no music.  A nameless competitor was slogging his way up the Power Line climb, 80 miles into the race and completely exhausted.  He had long since abandoned pedaling his bike and was walking beside it, pushing it up the hill next to him, hunched over the handlebars, back parallel to the ground.  Finally, when he couldn't take it anymore, he dropped his bike and collapsed in a pile next to the trail.  Ten seconds later, he sat up, draped his arms over his knees and just looked at the ground.  He sat like that, in silence, for about 45 seconds (which seems like an eternity in a movie).  Then, he got up, dusted himself off, and resumed pushing his bike up the hill.

I don't think they ever identified him, showed his time, or let us know if he even finished, but that moment stuck out to me.  This guy was physically exhausted and thoroughly beat down.  He must have felt like total shit.  But he was able to sit down, collect his thoughts, get himself into the right frame of mind, and get back to the grind.

I'm going to make an attempt to incorporate that mentality into my life.  Sometimes it seems like life is completely shitty.  Like everything is going against you, and you don't even care anymore.  It would be easy to just give up.  To throw up your hands and say, "I'm done", and completely extricate yourself from a situation.  But that's not what you want to do.  You want to keep going.  You want to grind it out.

Because some things are worth fighting for.     

Monday, November 1, 2010

Great Enthusiasms

There’s something to be said for doing something.  It’s easy to read Trip Reports, watch movies, pore over guidebooks, and get into animated discussions on internet forums, but it’s hard to actually get out there and do it.  There are obligations to attend to and other people to consider.  Plus you have to get all of your gear ready, wake up early, pack your lunch, drive all the way there and, once you’re finally set to go, it may or may not be good.  You might do horribly.  Your equipment might fail, the weather might not cooperate, and you might get incredibly frustrated, not only because the trip has been a bomb, but because you’ve sacrificed so much just to take the trip, and now it looks like all the sacrifice wasn’t worth it.

For those instances, I am going to try to remember this quote I found by Teddy Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
 Exactly.  It’s easy to sit at home, never risking anything.  It’s hard to go out and do something.  But the people who go out and do it, even if they fail, are deserving of our admiration.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work.  Football players are lambasted every Monday by people who sit at home and watch the game on TV.  “He should have thrown to that guy.” “He should have run through that hole.” Thanks for the input guys.  Your insights are really helping the guy on the field.  Next time you see him, instead of telling him how much you respect his athleticism, make sure you mention how he cost you your Fantasy Game in Week 3.

But at least football is mostly objective.  What about the sports that are determined by judging?  In those sports (Ice Skating, Snowboard Halfpipe, etc.), it is someone’s job to decide if “the doer of deeds could have done them better.”  And it’s not easy, especially when everyone is doing their deeds pretty damn good.  Like at the recent London Relentless Freeze Festival (video behind a subscription wall here).     

Instead of knocking Jon Olsson for “only” coming in second with a 1080 double corked truckdriver, we should be celebrating everyone there for putting on a terrific show, in the middle of a city, at a time when the masses are just starting to get stoked on the upcoming season.  Regardless of what you’re doing on the weekends (soon it’ll be leaf removal for me), we should respect the people who are out there ripping sweet lines and riding sweet singletrack.

And when you’re trying to decide if you’re going to go skiing on some frigid February day, ask yourself if you’d rather have a cold body and timid line choice, or a “cold and timid soul” that never even dared to leave the house.