Friday, December 3, 2010


In keeping with my new philosophy of living in the moment, I’m trying to stop and look around a little more in my regular life. It’s amazing what you miss when you’re so focused on “other stuff” (responsibilities, relationships, random tasks, etc.). I’m trying to dial back the “stuff” and dial up the surroundings – not just at the ski area, but everywhere. It’s weird, too. I guess that snowboarder texting on his cell phone (while completely oblivious to everything else around him) is pretty representative of the whole world. A respectable news source reported that Americans spend 90% of their time staring at glowing rectangles. And it’s true. This just about perfectly sums up my life these days:
According to the report, staring blankly at luminescent rectangles is an increasingly central part of modern life. At work, special information rectangles help men and women silently complete any number of business-related tasks, while entertainment rectangles—larger and louder and often placed inside the home—allow Americans to enter a relaxing trance-like state after a long day of rectangle-gazing.
So really, am I any better than the guy on the snowboard? He’s just doing what I’m doing in a different place (a place that I’ve decided to keep rectangle free).

I think that a lot of it has to do with personality. Certain people have to be connected at all times. Even when they’re not connected, they’re keeping careful tabs on their activities so that when they do connect again, they can quantify their achievements and claim their comeuppance. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy reading about their accomplishments. This dude, who skied 2557 days in a row at the time of this article, probably has some great stories to tell. And 2,000,000 vertical foot skier Greg Hill, who’s described in his bio as a "numbers guy", has some stellar trip reports from his past year’s worth of “work”.

But I’ve never been a numbers guy. I don’t keep track of vertical feet, number of runs, or even number of days. I’m out for the pure enjoyment. A good day is a day that I have a smile on my face. One of my favorite blogs lately is Volks on Bikes. It’s about a pair of brothers and their dad who are riding their bikes from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. They only post about once a week because they are out having adventures that most people could only dream about. The posts are short on information and long on pictures. Short on numbers and long on experiences.

That’s the kind of life I want to lead. I don’t need to see how many miles I rode, I need to see what I saw when I was riding.

I don’t need to remember how many vertical feet I skied, I need to remember the look on Ace's face when we drop into the trees for the first time of the year.

I don’t need to know how many days I was in New Zealand, I just need to know how it felt to cliff jump into the ocean.

So instead of staring at glowing boxes, I want to be out doing things. Instead of being connected, I want to be disconnected. Instead of posting numbers, I want to post life.  I don’t have to look far for inspiration either. On my blogroll on the right, Jill Outside, who has completed the Great Divide Race and the Iditarod Trail Invitational on her bike, continues biking and trail running through the winter months (impressive). And the Vanessa Aadland (the hot skier chick that I posted about earlier) has this post that consists entirely of photos of her conquering mountain peaks (sick).

If I want to create blog posts that inspire others the way these posts inspire me, then I’m going to need to pull myself away from the glowing rectangles, get outside and have some freaking adventures.

Game On.


  1. Go Matt! Here is a favourite Edward Abbey quote that may be appropriate to your way of thinking:

    "One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards."

    Edward Abbey

  2. +1
    Twenty years from now, you won't remember the days you stayed inside staring at a rectangle, but you will remember the days you skied the trees, rode in the rain, hiked, jumped off cliffs.

  3. 1) I stare way too much at the glowing box...I'm going it right now.

    2) I've been keeping stat on my days since I've been 16. I'm even going to write to write a TR for every day I skied (okay, maybe not). I got Day #1 covered. (see point 1)

    3) At least I don't own a cellphone and I don't want one.

    About that dude that skis everyday. I rode a chairlift with him a couple of times at Timberline. Saw him again 13 months later in Colorado...and maybe last July in California.

    I personally prefer my life and my extremely difficult task of balancing demands (work, family, home) and priorities (skiing and travel). Unless you are like the guy that skis everyday, you have to find time and not neglect any. I enjoy spending time with my family and driving my kids around ... even if I can't go skiing in Vermont because of it.

    +! on that response to SBR.


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