Thursday, December 22, 2011

Early Season Malaise

As a “weekend warrior”, I don’t suffer from the general malaise that seems to be setting in among mountain people across the country (except for Alaska). Here’s the Female Ski Bum:
I am here, stuck in the midst of my "why hasn't the winter season really started yet" depression, and struggling to feel my soul connected to the mountain.
Even the Jaded Local is talking crazy:
It all seems so far away, so impossible… and then all of a sudden you’re considering drastic measures like getting a job or buying telemark gear.
Now that's just insane. Don’t get me wrong. I ask the same questions, look at the same weather reports, and wish for the same powder. I just have other stuff to do: gym climbing Tuesday at The Edge-Halfmoon, office Christmas parties, last minute shopping, dicking around on the internet, work, etc. I’m keeping myself busy, confident that the snow will be there (as it always is) in February and March, when my ski instructing duties slow down and I can get to ripping.

I do have to say, though, that once I get to that point, I’m not thinking about work, shopping, or internet dicking. Apparently someone is, though, because the newest thing to be introduced in Vail is the Wi-Fi enabled gondola. I see more and more people whipping out their phones and texting, facebooking, and playing angry birds on the way up the mountain. God forbid they actually hold a conversation with the people around them – maybe make some new friends, discuss the snow conditions, laugh at a spectacular crash below. Nope. Instead of engaging with other people and actually being present, they choose to completely remove themselves from the situation and zone out everything that’s going in their vicinity. Ugh. They might as well be at home staring at a glowing box.

In a related story, there’s a new app available for iPhones that uses the GPS to identify the mountain peaks around you in the Adirondacks. Now this is the kind of thing I’d like to see more of. This app uses technology in a way that actually allows you to be more tuned in to what you’re doing. Part of the reason I like Photography and Video is that they force you to find creative ways to view your surroundings. Year End photo journal-style blog posts, like this and this, wouldn’t be possible if the authors were not paying attention to everything going on around them. Even a walk in the woods can be an amazing experience if you just stop and look around once in a while. These are the kinds of things that inspire me to get out there, have more adventures, take more pictures, and be more imaginative in my photography.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here (it’s probably another one of my pleas to live in the moment), but I guess I’ll finish with a story about the rock gym. First, let it be known that I am not a good rock climber. Well, I guess I’m good enough to know that I’m not good. I’m not a Gumby, but I’m definitely not flashing 5.9s, and I constantly find myself pumped out and hang dogging the last few climbs of the night (I’ve been reviewing the glossary of climbing terms because people have entire conversations in that gym that sound completely foreign to me).

Anyway, when I’m in the gym and I’m belaying or resting, I’m looking around like crazy. I always find it interesting how many different ways there are to climb the same route. And there are so many different styles (mostly corresponding to body type). I’m starting to learn what constitutes good technique (using the skeleton as much as possible to rest the muscles), and trying to be more smooth in my climbing (funny how that’s the goal in so many sports). I’m so caught up in everything I’m doing, that I’m not thinking about work or relationships or anything else. And I’m definitely not thinking about taking out my phone to see what other people are doing on Facebook. Maybe that’s why I’m happy.

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