Friday, February 25, 2011

Burnout?

Around this time of year, every year, people stop thinking about skiing. I’m not talking about myself, of course, but the thousands of that people get done with Presidents’ Week and put the ski gear away. I want to say one thing to these people: Keep on doing what you’re doing.

I mean, selfishly, I love the fact that March is a month of warm temperatures, long days, and uncrowded slopes, but you might feel differently. As the red part of thermometer starts rising, it is completely natural to think of mountain biking, golf and baseball. Pursue these activities with the same vigor that you had when you started skiing this year (sometime around Christmas). Even Warren Miller says that around this time of year, he yearns for the warmth of spring and summer:

I have to admit, that about the middle of February, I would like to be able to get my golf score under 137 for 18 holes during four or five days at some Arizona course.

And if Warren Miller is doing it, it can’t be bad! You saw “his” ski movie this past fall with all those other people in that theater downtown. Those guys were obviously a bunch of core skiers. I bet they didn’t let that free weekday lift ticket to Windham go to waste!!

Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh. After all, my new, enlightened theory of skiing is about letting people enjoy the mountain in any way they want; whether that means epic pow in tree stashes (which I will enjoy this weekend), or ski boots in the bar (which I will enjoy making fun of this weekend). It’s not like I’m the final arbiter of what’s cool on the slopes (the skiing version of this guy). I should really try to relax and just accept everyone for who they are. Maybe my jobs (skiing jobs, not real job) are stressing me out. I’ve been teaching skiing every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for 5 weeks straight now. It’s definitely time for a break. I really enjoyed reading this article, about a guy who thought he landed his dream job when he got a position with a guiding company that took clients climbing up Mount Rainier:

Really, I got paid to carry a big pack and walk slowly in dangerous places while tied to clients who were seemingly trying to kill themselves (and, by extension, me). When I did finally have a day off, climbing was the last thing I wanted to do. Eventually, and entirely by accident, I landed a “real” job. I hear a lot of people blaming their office jobs for their failure to get out and get after it. However, I find that my desk job hasn’t killed my climbing; it’s actually given me the freedom (and rest) to do more.

I get more climbing, biking, and skiing done now than I ever used to. The reason is simple: I don’t have a job that requires me to carry heavy packs, roll up rafts, or generally stress out about my clients’ safety. So, when I want to get after it on my own terms, I’m actually rested and ready to go.

I’m not at the point where skiing is the last thing I want to do (in fact, I have a couple of really sweet trips coming up), but lately, I’ve definitely been enjoying the time in the office for providing a little bit of a respite.

Ace and I were talking about this kind of thing the other day, actually. Our last summer of mountain biking and road biking was awesome. And what made it even better is that we did it on our own terms. On Saturdays, we’d get up when we wanted, have a relaxing breakfast, meet some friends, ride around for a few hours, and go out for a nice lunch/dinner and a few beers. There was no pressure to be at the mountain at 8:30, no lineups to go to, no having to park in a parking lot 2 miles from the trail, etc. It was just us and some friends riding around and having fun.

I’m hoping to recapture some of that in March. All of the work is (almost) done and now it’s time to play. The only weekend that I’ll be working at the mountain in March is the 12-13 (when I’ll be teaching the “Glades and Glory” 2-day tree skiing camp). The rest of the time, maybe I should start taking Warren Miller’s advice seriously:

One of the weird things I believe in is to enjoy the snow to the fullest because the following week when you are sitting in front of a computer at Old Amalgamated Stock Brokers, you will regret that you slept in and missed that epic day of powder snow.

Remember, the best day of skiing that you have ever had and try and put a price tag on it. Is it worth a million dollars or 10 billion dollars? It is not for sale for any price. The only way that you can own one of these special days is to be the first one in the chair lift line on a powder snow morning after having had a good night's sleep.

Memories are priceless. So keep on doing spectacular things so that you can keep depositing new things in your memory bank every day.

Thanks, Warren. Maybe I’ll see you in the bar someday (I’ll be the one without ski boots on – some things I just can’t accept).

4 comments:

  1. And don't forget WM's most famous tagline, quite appropriate in this context: "If you don't do it this year, you'll be another year older when you do!"

    Great post Matt. I'm already tired of all the "spring is in the air" winter nay-sayers.

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  2. Even though there is still a month or more of great skiing ahead of us, it's great that we all look forward to the next season. Gotta keep the stoke burning year round! Otherwise we'd turn into those couch-potato types.

    P.S. Ski boots in the bar are rad.

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  3. I actually begin to feel a sense of apprehension or even sadness around this time of year as the end of ski season comes into sight. But I also fall prey to burnout when the skiing is just ho-hum. Fortunately, there's been little of that for the past two months.

    Had to laugh when I read "On Saturdays, we’d get up when we wanted, have a relaxing breakfast, meet some friends, ride around for a few hours, and go out for a nice lunch/dinner and a few beers." Man, what I wouldn't give for THAT. Our first kid put an immediate and irreversible end to that. It's all good though.

    Keep making the memories. Whether it's on skis, bike or the sharp end of a climbing rope. With kids or without. See ya on the hill.

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