I’m going to #tbt to my first four consecutive day ski adventure. My sophomore year of college my parents, younger brother and I headed up to Canada to go Cat Skiing at Island Lake Lodge. Don’t worry, we didn’t ski on real live cats or take them along with us. A ‘Cat’ is a large piece of equipment one drives with wheels that are tracks and can drive through snow up steep terrain. The Cat Skiing operations have a box on the back of the ‘Cat’ where skiers hang out as the ‘Cat’ hauls them to the top of a mountain. So, needless to say, my brother Mike and I were pretty excited for our first ‘Cat-Skiing’ adventure.
Day 1, great powder skiing. A lot of laughs, smiles and politeness. Everyone hesitated to drop in first as to not be rude to the other group members. Day 2, same thing but we were all becoming friendlier with each other and now, taking turns dropping in for first tracks. Day 3 was a true test for any skier, any level of ability. The wind had scoured everything the night before. One turn you were skiing beautiful powder and the next, wind scorched I’m going to die type of snow. It was one of the hardest days of skiing I had experienced up to this point of my 18 years of skiing.
We all loaded the ‘Cat’ on morning 4, sore, tired, stiff and not looking forward to another day of skiing that literally beat my body up. No one was quite sure what the day would bring. It was socked in, dumping snow and the vision of depth was 6 inches, basically pea soup (we couldn’t see past our hand held in front of us). Luckily for all of us and a smart father, a ‘Cat’ can still go to the top of the mountain even in a snow storm. Had we been heli-skiing, we would have been grounded (not able to fly the heli due to weather).
Emerging from the ‘Cat’ our spirits lifted immediately, we were above the clouds! It was a beautiful morning with the sun on the horizon to the east and the beautiful British Columbia snow capped mountains all around us. The moment that sun kissed my face, I knew this would be the run of my life and all the soreness, anticipation, jitters, ughhh moments erased from my mind and magically disappeared from my weary body. Previously that morning, I wanted to die and never emerge from my warm down comforter. My body hurt from three days of consecutive skiing. I’ve only skied two day or three days in a row, never four or five! When that sun hit my face I was ready to conquer the world and ski some amazing POW!! As we clicked into our skis, my dad looked over with that silly Huskinson grin and I knew what that meant, ‘You snooze, you loose!’ My brother Mike and I didn’t look back as we dropped in first (yes it was our turn to go first). We skied beautiful bottomless powder on that first epic morning run.
Since that trip to Island Lake Lodge I have recalled the emotions I felt that morning when I woke up on Day 4. My body didn’t want to move. I was tired, sore, worn out. We had skied wind buffed bullet proof snow the day before and I just wasn’t mentally ready to face another day like it. As I crammed my feet into my Doberman race boot, almost crying, I reminded myself I was skiing and skiing is fun. I realized after this trip, I had become a better skier and stronger person from that experience. Sometimes we don’t think we can muster the strength, mind-set or will-power to get through another day but I always remind myself, Andria, there may be a secret stash of goodness waiting for you or a ray of sun with glistening snow crystals passing through it. You just have to take the first step. Even if the snow had been crappy that day, the beauty I witnessed when I stepped out of the ‘Cat’ and saw the rising sun reminded me I’m the luckiest person to be alive and witnessing this exact moment in time.
So get up and move. Take the first step because you don’t know what is waiting for you when you do.